Words in English
Linguistics/English 215
Prof. S. Kemmer

Some Affixes of English

The following are some affixes found in English words. They are organized by function, and within each class, by whether they are native or borrowed.

Affix Source Examples
Adjective-forming suffixes
-ish N + -ish 'like an N' bearish, ADJ + -ish 'rather, somewhat' Native yellowish, longish
-like N + like 'like an N'

-al Latin, French
-ant, -ent Latin, French
-ate Latin
-ary unitary, binary, solitary
-ate Latin
-ive Latin
-oid Greek
-ose Latin
-ory Latin
-ous Latin, often via French generous
2. Verb-forming suffixes
3. Noun-forming suffixes
4. Negative prefixes
un- Native untrue, uncaring

a/an- Greek anaerobic, atheist, anemic dis- Latin disbelief, disinter, dislocate in-/im-/ Latin indivisible, inimitable, inconsequential, immobile, illegible
ir-/il- non- Latin non-academic, nonbinding, nonentity