Distinguishing Between Prefix & Postfix

What is a Prefix?

A prefix is a formative element added to the beginning of a word, altering its meaning or creating a new word. For example, the word “alone” is formed by adding the prefix “a-” to the stem “lone”. However, in this case, the meaning of the two words remains the same. In other instances, the addition of a prefix changes the meaning of the word, like “al” in “altogether” or “with” in “withstand”. Sometimes, prefixed words are hyphenated, such as “co-operative”.

What is a Postfix?

Postfixes, also known as suffixes, are formative elements added to the end of a word. They can be of several types, such as plural endings, tense indicators, or person indicators. For example, the postfix “-s” in “books” denotes the plural form of “book”. Postfixes can be inflectional, which do not change the original meaning of the word, or derivational, which create new words with different meanings but still related to the original word, like “alcohol” and “alcoholic”.

Key Takeaways

  • A prefix is a formative element added to the beginning of a word, while a postfix is added to the end of a word.
  • Both prefix and postfix are used in connection with the stem of a word to create new words or alter meanings.
  • Postfixes can be inflectional or derivational, whereas prefixes can create new words with the same meaning or opposite meanings.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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