Difference Between Suffix and Prefix

In every language, there are words which you can use to create statements and sentences.

А word can contain а stem or root, along with an affix. A root is а base word which can be combined with another word, affix, to form а new word with а completely new meaning.

The words which can be added to the root word to create a new meaning are called “suffixes” and “prefixes”, depending on which position they are added alongside the root word. If the word is added before the root word, then it is a prefix, and the word added after the root word to change its meaning is called suffix. Both affixes acquire different meanings, depending on the root word they are attached with.

The suffix is used to signify the tense and the number the word represents. Also, it tells you about the part of speech the word belongs to. Suffix is added after the root word to give grammatical information, rather than changing its inflectional meaning; it can also change its derivational meaning. For instance, if the suffix “ed” is added to the root word “love”, it forms the past tense of the word, which is “loved”. Similarly, if the suffix “ly” is added to “love” it becomes “lovely”, which is an adjective.

On the other hand, if a prefix is added with a word, it completely changes the form and meaning of the word that it is affixed to. At times, it also makes the root word to give an opposite meaning. For instance, if the prefix “un” is added to root word “happy”, then the word becomes “unhappy”, which completely conveys an opposite meaning.

If we take “arm” as a root word, then adding suffix “ed” will change it to “armed”, which is a past tense of the word. On the contrary, if prefix “under” is added, the word becomes “underarm”, which has a completely different meaning than the root word.


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    Suffix is an affix that can be added after a root word to provide information about the tense or number of the root word.

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    A prefix is a word that is added before a root word to change its meaning. Sometimes, adding prefix changes the meaning of a word to its opposite.

    Image courtesy: meanmygang.blogspot.com

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