Prefix vs Postfix | Prefix vs Suffix
Difference between prefix and postfix is to do with the part of the word to which these parts are added. Prefix and Postfix are two words that are used in English grammar, and they should be understood with precision as far as their meanings are concerned. A prefix is a formative element used in the very beginning of a word. On the other hand, a postfix is a formative element used at the end of a word. This is the main difference between the two words, prefix and postfix. It is interesting to note that a postfix is sometimes called as a suffix.
What is a Prefix?
Prefix is used with connection to the stem of the word. Prefixes are added to the beginning of the word. Take, for example, the word ‘alone’ and ‘lone’. The stem is the word ‘lone’ and to the stem is added the prefix ‘a.’ The resultant is another word ‘alone’. It is interesting to note that the meaning, in this case, is not changed. In other words, both the words ‘lone’ and ‘alone’ have the same meaning. On the other hand, a prefix is a formative element added at the beginning of a word like ‘al’ in ‘altogether’, ‘with’ in ‘withstand’, ‘post’ in ‘post-operative’ and the like. Here, the words take a different meaning when the prefix is added. It is interesting to note that prefixed words are sometimes hyphenated as in ‘co-operative.’
What is a Postfix?
Postfixes or suffixes are added to the end of the word. Postfix is of several types for that matter. The plural endings are often called as postfix elements. For example, the ‘-s’ in the word ‘books’ is a postfix that indicates the plural of the word ‘book’. In the same way, the postfix ‘-ed’ in the word ‘looked’ indicates the past tense of the word or the verb ‘look’. The postfix ‘-s’ in the word ‘makes’ indicates the present tense termination of the verb ‘make’. Thus, it is understood that postfix refers to various kinds of formative elements that determine the tense, the number and the like. In all three examples mentioned above, the original meaning of the word has not changed. They still mean the same though they give a different idea about the number (book – books), tense (look – looked), and person (makes – third person singular). These types of postfixes are known as Inflectional Suffixes.
Then, there is another type called Derivational Suffixes. When you add these postfixes to the stem, the word gives a completely different sense. However, the new word shares a connection with the old word. For example, take the postfix –oholic. Now, look at the word alcoholic. The stem is alcohol. That is a name of a drink. When the postfix –oholic is added, the new word is alcoholic. That means someone addicted to alcohol. So, you can see that though a new word with a different sense is made, that word has a connection to the original word.
What is the difference between Prefix and Postfix?
• A prefix is a formative element used in the very beginning of a word. On the other hand, a postfix is a formative element used at the end of a word. This is the main difference between the two words, the prefix and the postfix.
• Postfix is also known as suffix. Prefixes and postfixes are commonly known as affixes.
• It is interesting to note that both prefix and postfix are used in connection with the stem of a word. They are added to the beginning or the end of the word to give a different meaning, to create new word, to make an antonym to the original word, etc.
• Postfixes are of two types. They are derivational and inflectional. Inflectional postfixes create new words but do not have a different meaning from the original (book – books). However, derivational postfixes create new words with different meanings (alcohol – alcoholic). However, the new words derivational suffixes create have a connection to the original word.
• Prefixes can also create different words. Prefixes can create new words with the same meaning. For example, lone – alone. At the same time, prefixes can also create words with opposite meanings. For example, legal – illegal.
Both prefixes and postfixes help to form new words. They are a very useful feature in the language.