English Grammar Prefixes-Suffixes

Root Words – Prefixes — Suffixes

Root words will be normally at the front or the back of the remaining word. A little digging will uncover just what the root word really means. For example, in a word such as scissors, the root word is sciss, which means cut.

  • Determining a Root Word

Some examples of root words can be found in everyday language. The root word for bicycle would be cycle and the root word for transactions would be action.

Words can even have two root words, such as schoolhouse.

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  • Root Words Can Have Their Own Meaning

There are many root words that are frequently used as parts of common words in the English language. For example, the following root words are provided with their meaning and, in italics, with an example of the root word as part of a word:

 

roots

  • Aqua – means water. Aquamarine
  • Arbor – means tree. Arboreal
  • Audio – means sound or hearing. Audible
  • Dict – means say. Dictation
  • Geo – means earth. Geography
  • Graph – means write. Graphics
  • Hydra – means water. Hydrofoil
  • Man – means hand. Manual
  • Min – means small. Minimal
  • Nov – means new. Novice
  • Path – means feeling or suffering. Pathetic and Apathy
  • Sol – means sun. Solar
  • Therm – means heat. Thermometer
  • Vac – means empty. Vacuum
  • Vent – means opening to let air in. Ventilate
  • Vit – means life. Vitamin

Liter, glyph, cap, morph, crypt, plan, ego, scent, and zoo are also root words. For example, animal is the actual meaning of the root word zoo, so when they named the zoo, they were right.

 

 

pre

 

Prefix

A group of words added at the beginning of a root word to form a new word with different meaning.

For example, the word “unhappy” consists of the prefix “un-“ [which means “not”] combined with the root word “happy”; the word “unhappy” means “not happy”

 

 

 

A Short List of Prefixes:

 

PREFIX

MEANING

EXAMPLES

de-

from, down, away reverse, opposite

decode, decrease

dis-

not, opposite, reverse, away

disagree, disappear

ex-

out of, away from, lacking, former

exhale, explosion

il-

not

illegal, illogical

im-

not, without

impossible, improper

in-

not, without

inaction, invisible

mis-

bad, wrong

mislead, misplace

non-

not

nonfiction, nonsense

pre-

before

prefix, prehistory

pro-

for, forward, before

proactive, profess, program

re-

again, back

react, reappear

un-

against, not, opposite

undo, unequal, unusual

 

 

 

suf

 

Suffix

A suffix is a group of letters placed after the root of a word. For example, the word flavorless consists of the root word “flavor” combined with the suffix “-less” [which means “without”]; the word “flavorless” means “having no flavor”.

 

 

 

 

A Short List of Prefixes:

 

SUFFIX

MEANING

EXAMPLES

-able

able to, having the quality of

comfortable, portable

-al

relating to

annual, comical

-er

comparative

bigger, stronger

-est

superlative

strongest, tiniest

-ful

full of

beautiful, grateful

-ible

forming an adjective

reversible, terrible

-ily

forming an adverb

eerily, happily, lazily

-ing

denoting an action, a material, or a gerund

acting, showing

-less

without, not affected by

friendless, tireless

-ly

forming an adjective

clearly, hourly

-ness

denoting a state or condition

kindness, wilderness

-y

full of, denoting a condition, or a diminutive

glory, messy, victory,

 

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