How to Use Prefixes & Suffixes in the Construction of Sentences

Written by wes walcott
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How to Use Prefixes & Suffixes in the Construction of Sentences
Prefixes and suffixes can be affixed to base words to give them additional information. (escribir image by drakis from

In grammar and linguistics, prefixes and suffixes can give additional information to base words. To understand how to properly use prefixes and suffixes in the construction of sentences, it's important to understand their purpose and know how they work so they can be readily identified and correctly incorporated.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Learn how prefixes and suffixes work. Prefixes and suffixes are lingual attachments that affix themselves either before (prefix) or after (suffix) a base word to add information. For example, in the word "misunderstanding" both a prefix and suffix are used. At the front of the word, the prefix "mis" (meaning wrong) is attached to the base word "understand", meaning comprehend. In like fashion, at the end of the base word, the suffix "ing", meaning progressive or continuous, is attached. Both the prefix "mis" and suffix "ing" modify the meaning of the word "understand."

  2. 2

    Learn to identify common prefixes and suffixes. "Re", "un", "pre", "mis", "sub", and "hyper" are all common examples of prefixes, while "s", "es", "ies", "ed", "ing", "en", "er", and "est" are all common examples of suffixes.

  3. 3

    Attach different prefixes and suffixes to various base words in a sentence to add specific information and make the sentence more concise. For example, examine the sentence "Mike could not decide whether he should pay for the package of goods before or after its arrival." This sentence can be altered using suffixes and prefixes to make the sentence "Mike was undecided whether he should prepay for the packaged goods." The prefixes and suffixes used in the second sentence make it shorter and much easier to read. This is how they should be used in proper sentence construction.

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