We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is the Difference Between a Prefix and Suffix?

Dan Cavallari
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Language & Humanities is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Language & Humanities, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

In the English language, a prefix or suffix can be added to a root word to modify its meaning. A prefix comes before the root word, and a suffix comes after. The prefix and suffix are known as affixes, or additions to a word, and are differentiated by their placement against a word.

Common prefixes include un-, dis-, mal-, non-, mid-, and mini-, while common suffixes are –ed, -s, -es, -ing. Suffixes often indicate the tense or number of a word, but can also be used to indicate the part of speech. For example, adding –ly to the end of a word often indicates that word is an adverb. The prefix and the suffix can take on different meanings depending on the root word it precedes or succeeds, and therefore they are reliant on the root word and cannot stand alone.

In many cases, adding a prefix or suffix to a word changes the meaning of that word entirely. For example, the word "latch" means to secure or fasten. But by adding the prefix un- to the root word to create "unlatch," the meaning has been changed to mean release or let free. In this case, the addition of a prefix has made the word mean the opposite of the root word. Taking that same root word and adding the suffix –ed to create "latched" changes the tense of the word. While the root word takes place in the present tense, by adding –ed the action indicated by the word now has taken place in the past.

The roles of the prefix and the suffix have been embellished over the course of centuries, and it is not uncommon to see new words being formed by the addition of one or both. For example, television personality Stephen Colbert recently coined the term, "truthiness" by adding a suffix to the word "truth" to indicate an idea or concept that has elements of truth to it but is not necessarily the truth. While the word is somewhat nonsensical, the addition of the –ness suffix made the word catchy and many linguists applauded the new creation.

Language & Humanities is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Dan Cavallari
By Dan Cavallari , Former Writer
Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.

Discussion Comments

By oasis11 — On Dec 26, 2010

Subway11-I think that studying the Latin prefix and suffix with words helps you to understand the meaning as well.

Learning Latin really allows you to understand English prefix and suffix and to understand the logical mechanics of the English language.

It is said that Latin is by far the most logical and orderly language that will allow you to understand English grammar and understand English vocabulary that you may not have ever seen.

Many of the Scripps Spelling Bee winners have studied either etymology or Latin in depth in order to understand the spelling of words as well as their meaning.

It also allows you to pick up foreign languages in an easier manner. For example, if you have studied Latin and no other foreign language and then decide to study Spanish, you will find that you will understand much of the Spanish language without ever studying it.

For example, in Latin the word luna is moon and in Spanish the word luna also means moon.

It is believed that the romance languages like Spanish and French are derived 80% from Latin. Latin is a very valuable language even though it is no longer spoken. It will help with any prefix and suffix test.

By subway11 — On Dec 24, 2010

Prefix and suffix lesson plans should include a series of spelling words with the suffix and prefix as well as the meaning.

Often a prefix and suffix meaning can tell us a little information on the meaning of the word. For example, a pretest is a test given before the actual test.

A preview is a term used to allow someone to see something before a general event occurs. This allows the prefix and suffix lesson plans to introduce the prefix pre which means before.

A student therefore understands that adding pre in front of a word indicates before. Just like added de in front of the word gives it the opposite meaning.

For example, destabilize means to create an environment that is not stabilized.

The word deemphasizes means to not focus or emphasize an aspect of something. The prefix un also has the same effect as in the word uncomfortable.

Uncomfortable means that you are not comfortable with something. Sites like abc teach and education.com offer free prefix and suffix worksheets.

Dan Cavallari

Dan Cavallari

Former Writer

Dan Cavallari, a talented writer, editor, and project manager, crafts high-quality, engaging, and informative content for various outlets and brands. With a degree in English and certifications in project management, he brings his passion for storytelling and project management expertise to his work, launching and growing successful media projects. His ability to understand and communicate complex topics effectively makes him a valuable asset to any content creation team.
Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Language & Humanities, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.