Difference Between Affix Prefix and Suffix

Main Difference – Affix vs Prefix vs Suffix

An affix is a morpheme (a minimal unit of meaning in language) that is attached to the word stem (base word) to create a new word. Affixes can be basically categorized into two main types known as prefixes and suffixes. Prefixes are added to the front of a word whereas suffixes are added to the back of a word. This is the main difference between affix prefix and suffix. Some additional differences are caused by this difference in structure and position.

In this article, we’ll look at,

1. What is an Affix? – Definition, Function, Features and Examples

2. What is a Prefix? – Definition, Function, Features and Examples

3. What is a Suffix? – Definition, Function, Features and Examples

4. Difference Between Affix Prefix and Suffix – Comparison of Function and FeaturesDifference Between Affix Prefix and Suffix - Affix vs Prefix vs Suffix Comparison Summary

What is an Affix

An affix is a set of letters that are attached to the root or the stem of a word. An affix can also be described as a bound morpheme since it cannot act as a word. That is, an affix cannot stand alone. Affixes can be added to the beginning, middle or to the end of a word. Prefix is an affix at the beginning of a word and suffix is an affix at the end of a word. An infix is an affix that is attached to the middle of a word. (The English language almost has no true infixes) The process of attaching an affix is known as affixation.

Affixes can be derivational or inflectional. A derivational affix results in the formation of a new word.

Care → Careful

Appear → Disappear

An inflectional affix serves as a grammatical marker; it reflects grammatical information about a word.

Boy → Boys

Talk → Talked

Difference Between Affix Prefix and Suffix

Reusable – An Example of Affix

What is a Prefix

A prefix is an affix which is placed before the stem of a word. Prefix is also a bound morpheme since it cannot stand alone. In the English language, all prefixes are derivational. Prefixes usually create words with new meaning.

Examples:

Re (again): regain, rewind, retell, re-establish, recall

Pre (before): preorder, preassembled, prewriting

Un (opposite): unhappy, unopened, unseen, undo

Mis (bad): misspell, misuse, misdemeanor, misdeed

Main Difference - Affix vs Prefix vs Suffix

Unopened – An Example of Prefix

What is a Suffix

Suffixes are the affixes that are added to the end of a word. Suffixes often change the lexical category of a word. They can also be used as grammatical markers to indicate grammatical information of a word. Thus, suffixes can be either derivational or inflectional.

Examples:

Derivational Suffixes:

Terminate → Termination

Like →  Likeable

Sing → Singer

Use → Useless

Inflectional Suffixes:

End → Ended

Flower → Flowers

Sing →  Singing

Difference Between Affix Prefix and Suffix - Image 3

Singer – An Example of Suffix

A word can have both suffixes and prefixes. Given below are some words that contain both prefixes and suffixes.

Unacceptable (prefix: un, stem: accept, suffix: able)

Reusable (prefix: re, stem: use, suffix: able)

Disqualified (prefix: dis, stem: qualify, suffix: ied)

Difference Between Affix Prefix and Suffix

Meaning

Affix is a morpheme that is added to a word to change its meaning or lexical category.

Prefix is an affix that is added to the beginning of a word.

Suffix is an affix that is added at the end of a word.

Position

Affix can be used at the beginning or end of a word.

Prefix can be used at the beginning of a word.

Suffix can be used at the end of a word.

Derivational vs Inflectional

Affix can be derivational or inflectional.

Prefix is derivational.

Suffix can be derivational or inflectional.

Function

Affixes can create new meanings, lexical categories, and act as grammatical markers.

Prefixes mostly change the meaning of a word.

Suffixes often change the lexical category and act as grammatical markers.

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About the Author: Hasa

Hasa has a BA degree in English, French and Translation studies. She is currently reading for a Masters degree in English. Her areas of interests include literature, language, linguistics and also food.


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