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Monday, July 23, 2012

Learning Prefixes and Suffixes ( Vocabulary Face-lift)

Everyone—from beginning learners in English to veterans in journalism—knows the frustration of not having the right word immediately available in that lexicon one carries between one's ears. Sometimes it's a matter of not being able to recall the right word; sometimes we never knew it.

 It is also frustrating to read a newspaper or homework assignment and run across words whose meanings elude us. Language, after all, is power.  Building a vocabulary that is adequate to the needs of one's reading and self-expression has to be a personal goal for every writer and speaker.

Another method that we are going to talk about in our effort of enhancing vocabulary is learning about Prefixes and Suffixes.

Learning Prefixes and Suffixes

Knowing the Greek and Latin roots of several prefixes and suffixes (beginning and endings attached to words) can also help us determine the meaning of words.

Prefixes showing quantity
Prefixes in English Words
semiannual, hemisphere
unicycle, monarchy, monorail
binary, bimonthly, dilemma, dichotomy
century, centimeter, hectoliter
millimeter, kilometer
Prefixes showing negation
without, no, not
asexual, anonymous, illegal, immoral, invalid,irreverent, unskilled
not, absence of, opposing, against
nonbreakable, antacid, antipathy, contradict
opposite to, complement to
counterclockwise, counterweight
do the opposite of, remove, reduce
dehorn, devitalize, devalue
do the opposite of, deprive of
disestablish, disarm
wrongly, bad
misjudge, misdeed
Prefixes showing time
antecedent, forecast, precede, prologue
rewrite, redundant
Prefixes showing direction or position
above, over
supervise, supererogatory
across, over
transport, translate
below, under
infrasonic, infrastructure, subterranean,hypodermic
in front of
proceed, prefix
out of
erupt, explicit, ecstasy
injection, immerse, encourage, empower
circumnavigate, perimeter
coexist, colloquy, communicate, consequence,correspond, sympathy, synchronize

Suffixes, on the other hand, modify the meaning of a word and frequently determine its function within a sentence. Take the noun nation, for example. With suffixes, the word becomes the adjective national, the adverb nationally, and the verb nationalize.

See what words you can come up with that use the following suffixes.
  • Typical noun suffixes are -ence, -ance, -or, -er, -ment, -list, -ism, -ship, -ency, -sion, -tion, -ness, -hood, -dom
  • Typical verb suffixes are -en, -ify, -ize, -ate
  • Typical adjective suffixes are -able, -ible, -al, -tial, -tic, -ly, -ful, -ous, -tive, -less, -ish, -ulent
  • The adverb suffix is -ly (although not all words that end in -ly are adverbs—like friendly)

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