Ever wonder what those prefixes and suffixes we link up to words actually mean? Native English speakers use these letters that go before and after words all day long, usually without a thought to their definitions. But we do use them for a reason: they alter the meaning of the word.
For instance, if someone is being careless, a native English speaker would be quick to say, “Hey, stop acting carelessly,” without hesitating to recall that the suffix –ly means “in the matter of.”
But, oh those poor English learners. It takes time to memorize all of our prefixes and suffixes and learn which to attach to what word. (A unicycle is quite different from a tricycle, you know.) It also doesn’t help that English, being that it is the bastard child of multiple European languages, adopted its prefixes and suffixes from Latin, Greek, and Old French.
But, alas, here we are.
To brush up on your skills, below is a collection of prefixes and suffixes and their meanings.
|dis-||opposite, reverse, not||disagree|
|-ant||type of person||assistant|
|-dom||state of being||freedom|
|-er||doer of an action||worker|
|-ery||type of work||bakery|
|-ette||small version of||kitchenette|
|-ism||condition or doctrine||feminism|
|-ist||type of person||florist|
|-ly||in a manner of||quickly|
|-wash||changing the appearance of||whitewash|
Erin Servais is the founder of Dot and Dash, LLC, an author-services company focusing on women writers and offering a range of editing, coaching, and social media packages.
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