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 Features
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
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.
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
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.
Terminate → Termination
Like → Likeable
Sing → Singer
Use → Useless
End → Ended
Flower → Flowers
Sing → Singing
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
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.
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.
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.