Words in English public website
LING 216 course information
Rice University
Prof. S. Kemmer

Some Derivational 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 Lg. Composition Examples
Adjective-forming suffixes
-ish Native N + -ish 'like an N' bearish
ADJ + -ish 'rather, somewhat' yellowish, longish
-like Native N + like 'like an N' child-like, squid-like
-y Native N + y funny, happy, heavy

-al Latin, French N + al burial, conical, cortical
-ant, -ent Latin, French V + -ent, -ant dependent, formant, lieutenant, tenant, supplicant <
-ar Latin N + ar planar, lunar
-ate Latin N + ate articulate (also v.)
-aryLatin root + ary unitary, binary, solitary
-esque French V + esque statuesque
-ic LatinN + ic formic, terrific
-id Latin N + id liquid, gelid, squalid
-ile Latin N + ile senile, juvenile, penile
-ine Latin N + ine feline, canine, porcine, asinine
-ive Latin V + ive active, furtive
-oid Greek N + oid ovoid, rhomboid,
-ose Latin N + ose adipose
-ory Latin V + ory dormitory, refectory
-ous Latin, often via French ADJ + (i) + ous generous
Verb-forming suffixes
-en NativeV + en redden, whiten, blacken
-ate Latin Verb stem + ate aerate, create, incinerate
-ize Greek N or ADJ + ize empathize, cannibalize, metabolize
-ify French (from Latin) N, V ADJ + ify deify, terrify, amplify
Noun-forming suffixes
-yx (rare morpheme) Greek root + yx calyx, apteryx
-ion Latin N + (other stem material) + ion compression, deviation
-y Latin, French verb stem + y inquiry
Negative prefixes
un- Native un-ADJ untrue, uncaring
a/an- Greek a-/an- + ROOT anaerobic, atheist, anemic
dis- Latin dis + ROOTdisbelief, disinter, dislocate
in-/im-/ir-/il- Latin in + ROOT indivisible, inimitable, inconsequential, immobile, illegible
non- Latin non + ROOT non-academic, nonbinding, nonentity
anti- Latin anti + ROOT 'against (root)' anti-defamation, anti-government

© Suzanne Kemmer