Grammar for the People: prefixes and suffixes

Grammar for the People2

Prefixes and suffixes are those word parts (called affixes) that get hooked onto words to make new words. Remember this: when you make a new word, the meaning changes. You cannot change the beginning or end of a word with whatever addition you want. An affix means something.

Prefixes go before a root word; suffixes tag onto the end of a root word. Here are some common prefixes and suffixes and their meanings:


“anti-” —against

“co-” —with

“il-, im-, in-, ir-” —not

“mis-” —wrongly

“non-” —without

“re-”   —to do again

“un-” —not


“-ical” —having the form of something

“-ish” —having the quality of something

“-less” —without

“-ment” —condition of something

“-ness” —state of being

“-ship” —position held

“-sion, -tion” —state of being

For an extensive list with definitions and examples, check out My English Teacher.  For an awesome song by the kids’ education band, Blazer Fresh, listen to “Wizard of Words.” With a little “poof” and “shazam” they straighten up all the prefixes and suffixes.

This concludes the Grammar for the People series. I have enjoyed writing it and hope it has helped you in your writing or speaking.

I will be adding to the series from time-to-time with posts about words or phrases that are incorrectly used. The first one will run soon and it will cover the phrase “could care less.” Or is that “couldn’t care less?” Guess you’ll have to read it!

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