The basic part of any word is the root; to
it, you can add a prefix at the beginning and/or
a suffix at the end to change the meaning. For
example, in the word "unflattering," the
root is simply "flatter," while the
prefix "un-" makes the word negative, and the
suffix "-ing" changes it from a verb
into an adjective (specifically, a
English itself does not use prefixes as heavily as it
once did, but many English words come from Latin, which uses
prefixes and suffixes (you can use the word
affix to refer either to a prefix
or a suffix) quite extensively. For example, the words
"prefix," "suffix," and "affix" themselves are all
formed from "fix" by the used of prefixes:
- "ad" (to) + "fix" (attached) = "affix"
- "pre" (before) + "fix" = "prefix"
- "sub" (under) + "fix" = "suffix"
Note that both the "-d" of "ad" and the "-b" of
"sub" change the last letter.
Here are some of the most common Latin prefixes (for the meanings
of the Latin roots, look up the words in a good dictionary):
- (away) abrupt, absent, absolve
- (to) adverb, advertisment, afflict
- (not) incapable, indecisive, intolerable
- (between, among) intercept, interdependent,
- (within) intramural, intrapersonal, intraprovincial
- (before) prefabricate, preface prefer
- (after) postpone, postscript, postwar
- (under) submarine, subscription, suspect
- (across) transfer, transit, translate