Affixes are like codes in a code language. With their help, you can decode the words in a language. Let's take a closer look at these codes!

"Affixes" in the English Grammar

What Does Affix Mean?

Affixes are groups of letters that are added to the beginning or ending of a word to change its meaning or part of speech.

Affixes: Types

There are different groups of affixes. Some of the most common ones are:

  1. Prefix: appears at the beginning of a word or stem.
  2. Suffix: appears at the end of a word or stem.


A prefix is a group of letters that is added to the beginning of a word (nouns, adjectives, verbs, etc.) to change their meaning and use.
There are many prefixes in the English language. In the table below, you can see some of the most common ones with examples:

Meaning Examples
un- not unhappy, unfair
sub- under subway, subsection
pre- before prefix, prehistory
dis- not, opposite of dislike, disappear
mis- wrongly misuse, misunderstand
re- again, back return. rebirth
anti- opposed to antivirus, anticlimax
in- not, without insecure, inability
il- not, without illegal, illogical
ex- former, out of exhale, ex-wife

Notes about Prefixes

Here are some tips to remember about using prefixes:

  • 1. When a prefix is added to a word, the spelling of the root of word never changes.

happy → unhappy

As you can see in the examples, the prefix 'un-' did not change the spelling of the word 'happy'.

legal → illegal

  • 2. If the last letter of the prefix is the same as the first letter of the root, double letters are possible and there is no need to remove one of them..

mobilize → immobilize

As you can see in this example, when you add the prefix 'im-' to words that begin with the same letter, you do not remove any of the letters.

natural → unnatural

  • 3. Some prefixes in English have similar meanings, such as 'un-', 'in-', and 'non-' all of which mean 'not'.

stop → nonstop

stoppable → unstoppable

secure → insecure

  • 4. Be careful with words that look like they have a prefix, but in fact, do not.





A suffix consists of a group of letters that are added to the end of the root of a word to change its meaning and use.
There are many suffixes in the English language. In the table below, you can see some of the most common ones with their examples:

Meaning Examples
-ful full of beautiful, colorful
–ness forming a noun sadness, madness
-ly forming an adverb lovely, slowly
-less without effortless, meaningless
-able able to washable, comfortable
-ing forming a gerund caring, interesting
-ed forming a past participle excited, bearded
-ous forming a noun dangerous, nervous
-ment forming a noun development, government
-ion forming a noun election, attention

'un' is a prefix creating an opposite adjective

Notes about Suffixes

Here are some tips to remember about using suffixes:

  • 1. Some suffixes have more than one meaning, such as the suffix -er.


Here, the suffix -er means ' someone or something that does an action'.



As you can see, the suffix -er can also compare adjectives and adverbs together.


  • 2. Sometimes, when a suffix is added to a word, the spelling of the root of word changes, especially when the root of the word ends in the letter 'y' or the silent 'e.'

make → making

crazy → craziness


This does not apply to all words ending in these letters. With some words, we keep the 'e', as in 'changeable' and 'loveable.'

Word Formation with Affixes

Adding a suffix often changes a word from one part of speech to another.

love (verb) + -able = loveable (adjective)

modern (adjective) + -ize = modernize (verb)

Language is a living thing and every day many words are added to it. People use some prefixes and suffixes to create new words for modern products, concepts, or situations. For example, the prefix, e-, which stands for electronic has formed a number of Internet-related words:

email, e-book, e-broker, e-document

Can We Use Affixes With Any Words?

We cannot add prefixes and suffixes to just any word. Some are only used with specific words.
For example, the suffix '-ful' is added to some nouns to mean 'full of', for example, 'beautiful' or 'graceful'. But, '-ful' cannot be added to any noun. For example, we cannot say 'mistakeful' or 'comfortful.'


Affixes are added to different word classes to make new words with similar or related meanings. There are two kinds of affixes in English. check out the following list.

  • suffixes
  • prefixes


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Prefixes are a group of letters that are placed at the beginning of the base of a word to changes its meaning and/or parts of speech.


Suffixes are particles with separate meanings placed at the end of a root or a stem. Adding them to our words defines the final meaning of the whole term.


Abbreviations are shortened forms of words or phrases. They normally represent a whole sentence or phrase. Ready to learn them?

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