Types of Affixes in English | Prefix, Suffix, Infix

Types of Affixes: prefix infix suffix

Types of Affixes in English | Prefix, Suffix, Infix​

What Are Affixes?

Affixes are the words that, when added to a base form of a word, give the word an entire new meaning. They can also create new words. An affix sometimes does not have any proper meaning of its own. For example,

  • Incredible
  • Beautiful
  • Disappointed
  • Interchangeable

The affixes “in”, “ful” and “dis” cannot stand alone as words in the English language.

There are three main types of suffixes, which we shall discuss in detail.

Types Of Affixes

Based on the placement, affixes are divided into three main groups, one of which is rarely used in English. The three main types of affixes are:

  1.  Prefix
  2. Suffix
  3. Infix

The affix that is rarely used in English language is infix. Prefixes and suffixes, on the other hand, are widely used in the English language.

1.    PREFIX

Pre means before. As the name suggests, Prefix is placed before a root form or base form of a word. Some common examples of prefixes are,

  • Hypertension
  • Hyperbolic
  • Impossible
  • Immature
  • Disappointed
  •  Dislike
  • Extraordinary
  • Irregular
  • Irrespective
  •  Irresistible
  • Irresponsible

 Why Do We Use Prefixes?

Prefixes are usually used to show repetition in a sentence. They also modify the meaning of a word, changing it into a negative. Moreover, prefixes are used to show opinions.

 Using Prefixes In Sentences

  • Selena has been irregular about her science lessons lately.
  • Sam is quite immature for his age.
  • I will support Liam, irrespective of the circumstances.
  • Kara’s father is quite disappointed in her.

 Rules For Adding Prefixes

You should keep in mind the following rules for when adding prefixes to words.

  1. You must add a hyphen before adding a prefix to a proper noun or a number.
  2. A hyphen is important when adding the prefix ex to a word which means former. For example, ex-fiance.

Always put a hyphen after the prefix self. For example, self-centred, self-confidence and self-esteem.

  1. The prefix “in” changes into “il” if the root form of a word begins with an “l”. For example, illegal and illiterate.
  2. The prefix “in” changes into “ir” if the root form of a word begins with an “r”. For example, irrational, irrelevant and irregular.
  3. The prefix “in” changes into “im” if the root form of a word begins with an “m” or “p”. For example, impossible, impure, impulse, improve and impoverished.


2.    SUFFIX

Suffixes are the words added to the end of a root form or base form of a word.

Types Of Suffixes

Suffixes are then further divided into consonant suffixes and vowel suffixes.

Consonant Suffixes

Some common consonant suffixes are less, ment, y, s and ness. For example,

  • Delightfully
  • Excitement
  • Neatness
  • Harmless
Vowel Suffixes

Vowel suffixes include er, ed and ing. For example,

  •  Propellor
  • Relaxed
  • Controlled
  • Convincing

Why Do We Use Suffixes?

Suffixes tell us about the usage of a word in a sentence. It assists us in knowing that the word will be used as an adjective, verb or a noun.

Using Suffixes In Sentences

·         Henry’s level of excitement was at its peak when he saw his new car.

  • Helena, neatness and cleanliness are the priority.
  • Sam’s ways of explanation were quite convincing.
  • Certain chemicals are harmless to human bodies.

 Rules For Adding Suffixes

Consider the following points when adding suffixes to words.

  1. Double the last letter of the root word before adding a suffix if the word ends with a vowel sound followed by a constant. For example, illegal becomes illegal, slip becomes slipped, and swim becomes swimming.
  2. Double the last letter of the root word before adding a prefix if the word ends in “l”. For example, natural becomes natural, control becomes controlled, and fulfil becomes fulfillment.
  3. The rule of doubling the last letter of the word does not imply “w, x and y”.
  4. Drop the silent “e” at the end of the root verb before adding a suffix. For example, driving becomes driving, becoming becomes becoming and striving becomes striving. Few words like likeable are exempted from this rule.
  5. Let the final e stay if the root form of words ends in “ce” or “ge” and the suffix that has to be added begins with “a” or “o”. For example, advantage becomes advantageous, advance becomes advancement and manager becomes manager.
  6. Let the final word “e” stay if the root words are ending in “ee” and “ye”. For example, decree becomes decreeing and forsee becomes foreseeing.
  7. The “e” at the end of the base word also stays if the suffixes added are “ly” and “ful”. For example, surely, careful and lovely.
  8.  The “y” at the end of the base word will stay if the suffix added begins with “ing”. For example, carrying and worrying.
  9. Let the “y’ stay if a base word ends with it and the letter before it is a vowel. For example, staying and worrying.
  10. The “y” at the end of the base word will change into an “i” if the letter before it is a consonant. For example, happiness changes into happiness. However, there are certain words that are exempted from this rule. For example, crying becomes crying.
  11. The “ie” in the base form of a verb changes into “y” before adding the suffix “ing” to it. For example, lie becomes lying and tie becomes a tying.

3.    INFIX

Infix is the most rarely used suffix in English grammar. They appear in the middle of the words. For example, the “s” in the term mothers-in-law is an infix.

Some other examples of words with infix “s” are cupsful, spoonsful, and passersby. Infix are usually used to indicate plural forms of verbs. The plural of the afore mentioned words cannot be cupfuls, spoonfuls

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