English Topic 07 - Prefixes, suffixes & root words

The use of prefixes, suffixes & root words is often examined in 11 plus exams.

A prefix is group of letters that is added to the beginning of a word to change the meaning of the word.

A suffix is a group of letters that is added to the end of a word to change the tense of the word or the form of the word into an adjective, adverb and noun.

The root word is the word to which a prefix or suffix is added.


Examples of commonly used prefixes:

un-, de-, re-, pre-, anti-, fore-, in-, im-, il-, non-, over-, under-, super-, trans-, mid-, inter-, ir-, dis-, hyper-, uni-

unpaid, decontaminate, prehistoric, antibiotic, foreground, inappropriate, improper, illegal, nonsense, overground, undersea, superman. transport, intercontinental, irregular, disorganised, hypersensitive, unicycle

Examples of commonly used suffixes:

Note that when a suffix is added you may have to apply a suffix spelling rule which removes the last ‘e’, or last letter, and sometimes requires the doubling of a consonant before adding on the suffix. e.g. woke = woken, hum = humming

-able, -ible, -al, -ial, -ed, -en, -er, -est, -ful, -ic, -ing, -less, -ness, -ly, -ment, -ion, -tion, -ation, -ive, -ous, -ist

comfortable, sensible, seasonal, sacrificial, clinical, formed, spoken, teacher, smallest, hopeful, poetic, fuming, joyless, kindness, lovely, fulfilment, occasion, attention, consideration, attentive, virtuous, cyclist

Examples of root words with a prefix and suffix added:

uncomfortable, undependable, disobeying, disagreement, unreadable,unsupportable, malnourished

Video Tutorials:

Prefixes (American)


Prefixes and suffixes


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