Unit 7.1

Prefixes and suffixes

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Introduction

Prefixes and suffixes are small words or syllables that we add to a word to form a new one.

Form

Prefixes are small words or syllables (called morphemes) that we add at the beginning of a word to form a new one.

Suffixes are small words or syllables (morphemes) which we add at the end of a word to form:

  • a new one
  • a new tense
  • comparatives and superlatives.

Adding a prefix to a word usually doesn’t change its pronunciation, whereas adding a suffix often does change it.

  • Prefix + word
  • Word + suffix

Example

  • Un + available = unavailable
  • Hang + er = hanger
  • sit + ing = sitting

Use

Both prefixes and suffixes change the meaning of the word, although not always change its pronunciation.

To create the new word, sometimes we need to double the consonant when the base-word ends with a short consonant or with the letter “l” and the suffix starts with a vowel.

Exceptions:

  • words ending with r,x,y,w
  • words with two vowels before the consonant
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