Suffix vs. Prefix

Difference Between Suffix and Prefix

The suffix and prefix are modifiers that when attached to a word changes its meaning. While the prefix is ​​attached to the beginning of the word, the suffix is ​​attached to the end of the word. Combined together, they are known as affixes or just additions to root word. It is important to note is that both suffixes prefixes that do not have any meaning without root word to which they are attached to? Sometimes, adding a word to the root word only changes the meaning, but many times, the word root is completely changed and it becomes its own antonym. For example, ’un’ when prefixed to clean makes unclean.

Suffixes tend to change tense of the root especially when suffix ‘–ed’ is added at the end of the word. For example, end+ ed= ended. Basically, prefixes and suffixes come from the Latin language and those who understand Latin are easy to understand the mechanism of these affixes. Many times, these affixes give us an indication of the meaning of the word. For example, the preview word is ‘pre+ view’ which hints at the meaning related to seeing something before the actual event occurs.  Pretest, underestimate and undo can be some similar examples.

There is another prefix that changes the word completely. When you prefix a word with ‘de’ it becomes its own antonym. For example, decompose, derail etc.  Prefix ‘un’ has similar meaning. For example, uncomfortable, unstable etc.


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