Other Grammar Rules

Prefixes and Suffixes

Prefixes and suffixes are sets of letters that are added to the beginning or end of another word. They are not words in their own right and cannot stand on their own in a sentence: if they are printed on their own they have a hyphen before or after them.


prefix is a group of letters placed before the root of a word. For example, the word “unhappy” consists of the prefix “un-” [which means “not”] combined with the root (or stem) word “happy”; the word “unhappy” means “not happy.”

A short list of prefixes:

de-from, down, away, reverse, oppositedecode, decrease
dis-not, opposite, reverse, awaydisagree, disappear
ex-out of, away from, lacking, formerexhale, explosion
il-notillegal, illogical
im-not, withoutimpossible, improper
in-not, withoutinaction, invisible
mis-bad, wrongmislead, misplace
non-notnonfiction, nonsense
pre-beforeprefix, prehistory
pro-for, forward, beforeproactive, profess, program
re-again, backreact, reappear
un-against, not, oppositeundo, unequal, unusual


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 suffixes:

-ableable to, having the quality ofcomfortable, portable
-alrelating toannual comical
-ercomparativebigger, stronger
-estsuperlativestrongest, tiniest
-fulfull ofbeautiful, grateful
-ibleforming an adjectivereversible, terrible
-ilyforming an adverbeerily, happily, lazily
-ingdenoting an action, a material, or a gerundacting, showing
-lesswithout, not affected byfriendless, tireless
-lyforming an adjectiveclearly, hourly
-nessdenoting a state or conditionkindness, wilderness
-yfull of, denoting a condition, or a diminutiveglory, messy, victory
Gerund or infinitive (Prev Lesson)
(Next Lesson) Infinitive
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