Prefixes and suffixes

Prefixes and suffixes

Author: Ryan Howard
  1. Introduce affixes.

  2. List common prefixes and their meaning.

  3. List common suffixes and their meaning.

This packet should help a learner seeking to understand English vocabulary. It will explain how prefixes and suffixes are used to create new words.

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Introduction to Affixes

An affix is a letter or group of letters that is attached either at the beginning (making it a prefix), the middle (making it an infix),  or the end of a word (making it a suffix).

There are also affixes called combining forms, which can be used either as prefixes or suffixes, but add a little more depth to the meaning.  For example, the word "anti," meaning against, can give more meaning as a prefix than "ex".  

This lesson will be focusing primarily on the basic prefix and the suffix. 



Here is a table with some of the most commonly used suffixes.

Suffix Meaning Example


can be done

moveable, doable
divisible, eligible


a collection or condition

coverage, shortage


state or condition

appearance, brilliance
difference, dependence



applicant, defendant
accident, different


action or process

separation, starvation
union, creation
relation, temptation
expedition, extradition


past tense verbs

cleaned, screamed


one who

painter, teacher
juror, tailor



faster, happier


more than one

dishes, wishes
pans, rocks



fastest, happiest


full of

wonderful, harmful


one who practices

magician, physician
artist, novelist


verb form/present participle

dancing, running


a tendency towards

detective, creative


to become

sterilize, itemize



fearless, flawless


characteristic of

frankly, timidly


action or process

refreshment, advancement


state of, condition of

darkness, kindness


possessing the qualities of

joyous, poisonous
righteous, courteous
hilarious, religious