Difference Between Suffix and Prefix

Suffix vs Prefix

As prefix and suffix play an important role in morphology, we should know the difference between suffix and prefix. Prefix and suffix are modifiers that when attached to a word, change its meaning. While prefix is attached at the start of the word, suffix gets attached at the end of the word. Combined, prefixes and suffixes are called affixes, or simply additions to a root word. What is important to note is that both suffixes and prefixes cannot stand alone and are totally reliant on the root word they are attached to. Sometimes, addition of a word to the root word only modifies the meaning, but many a times, the meaning of the root word is totally changed and it becomes its own antonym. For example, un- prefixed to the word tidy makes it untidy, which is its antonym. Basically, prefixes and suffixes come from Latin language and those who understand Latin find it easy to understand the mechanism of these affixes. Many a times, these affixes give us a clue to the meaning of the word.

What is a Suffix?

Suffixes tend to change the tense of the word. This happens when –ed is added at the end of the word. For example, when –ed is added to bond, it becomes bonded which is the past tense of the word bond. Other than –ed, there are a number of other suffixes that are used in English language. Actually, all the suffixes can be divided into two main groups. They are,

• Inflectional suffixes

• Derivational suffixes

Inflectional suffixes do not change the meaning of the word. –ed is an example for that. By adding –ed to the word bond, the word becomes bonded. However, that does not harm the original meaning of the word bond. If only changes the tense. Another example is –s that is added at the end of singular nouns to make them plural. Pigeon and pigeons carry the same meaning. The only difference is that the second one suggests there are more than one pigeon.

Derivational suffixes change the meaning of the word. The new word has a new meaning that has a connection with the old meaning. Also, usually the new word is a different part of speech. For example, take the word persuasion. This is made by adding –sion to the verb persuade. Persuade is a verb while persuasion is a noun. Their meaning is also slightly different as one is a verb and the other a noun.

What is a Prefix?

As mentioned before, most of the time these affixes give us a clue to the meaning of the word. For example, the word preview is made up of prefix pre and root word view, and preview refers to seeing something before the actual event takes place. Previews of movies are held before actual screening of the movie. Similarly, pretest refers to a test before the test. This makes it clear than addition of pre at the beginning of a word is indicative of before the event.

There is another prefix that totally changes the word. When you add de before a word, it becomes its antonym as in decompose and destabilize. Same is the effect with un. When added before comfortable, a person feeling uncomfortable means he is not comfortable.

Difference Between Suffix and Prefix

What is the difference between Suffix and Prefix?

• Suffixes and prefixes are commonly called affixes.

• Prefix comes at the start of a word whereas suffix comes at the end of the word.

• Both suffixes and prefixes modify or totally change the meaning of the root word.

• Suffixes are divided into two main groups as inflectional suffixes and derivational suffixes.