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Prefix and suffix

Prefixes and suffixes are little groups of words that are added to a root word to give those words new meanings. A prefix is placed in front of a word, while a suffix is placed at the back.

The tables below show what prefixes mean and how they’re used in a word. Take note that there are many suffixes and prefixes, and the list that you see below provides just a few common ones:

Prefixes

Meaning

Examples

anti-

against

anti-ageing, anti-social

de-

down, away

degrade, derail

dis-

apart, not

disconnect, dislike

ex-

former

ex-teacher, ex-girlfriend

pre-

before

pre-war, pre-order

post-

after

post-war, post-dated

re-

again

reclaim, remake

un-

not

unnatural, unwanted

semi-

half

semi-finals, semi-detached

Suffixes

Meaning

Examples

-able

possible, capable

separable, reliable

-al

related to

political, economical

-less

without

wireless, heartless

-ful

quality

helpful, wonderful

Take note:
Some words are tricky; they appear to have prefixes or suffixes, but they’re actually whole words!

Examples:

  • return ( = give back)
  • demise ( = die)
  • hardly ( = very seldom)
  • display ( = show)
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