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WORD FORMATION. New words are formed in three main ways in English, they are: Affixation Compounding Conversion. AFFIXATION. I. PREFIX

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Word formation



New words are formed in three main ways in English, they are:




Word formation



  • Characteristics: Generally they do not alter the word class of the base.The arenormally written together with the base as a single word.Main stress falls normally on the base.They can be grouped according to their meaning.

  • 1. Negative Prefixes

    • un-: unfair, unadorned, unfortunately

    • non-: non-conformist, non-existent, non-verb

    • in-: invisible

    • il: illogical

    • im: impossible

    • ir: irresponsible, irregular

    • dis: disloyal, disobey, dislike, disagree

    • a (n): amoral, atheist

  • 2. Reversible Prefixes

    • un-: undo, undress, unhorse

    • de-: defrost, depoliticize

    • dis-: discouraging, disheartened

Word formation

  • 3. Pejorative Prefixes

    • mis-: mishear, misconduct, misunderstanding

    • mal-: malfunction, maltreat, malpractice

    • pseudo-: pseudo-scientific, pseudo-classicism

  • 4. Prefixes of degree and size

    • arch-: archduke, archenemy

    • super-: supermarket, superman

    • out-: outlive, outdo, outrun, outstanding

    • sur-: surchange, surplus

    • over-: overdo, overall

    • under-: undertook, underpressure

    • hyper-: hyperactive, hypersensitive

  • 5. Prefixes of attitude

    • co-: cooperative, cooperation, coordination

    • counter-: counter-attack

    • anti/pro-: anti-democracy, pro-democarcy, anti-climaxs

Word formation

  • 6. Locative Prefixes

    • sub-: subway, subconcious, subdivide

    • inter-: international, interplay

    • trans-: transplant, transmusi

  • 7. Prefixes of time and order

    • fore-: foretell, foreman, forewarn

    • pre/post-: pre-historial, post-historial

    • ex-: ex-minister, ex-wife

    • re-: rebuild, relocation

  • 8. Number Prefixes

    • uni/mono-: unilateral, monosyllable, monochrome

    • bi/di-: bifocal, bilingual, dichotomy

    • multi-: multiculture, multiracial

  • 9. Conversion Prefixes

    • be-: bewitch, befriend

    • en/em-: endanger, empower

    • a-: afloat

Word formation


  • Characteristics: They normally alter the word type of the base.Suffixes rarely have a distinct meaning on their own.The change the word into which they are included into another part of speech.The can be classified according to the speech part they form, or according to the type of base the are added to.

  • 1. Noun Suffixes

  • a. Occupational

    • -eer: engineer

    • -ster: gangster, gamester

    • -er: banker, runner

  • b. Diminutive and Feminine

    • -let: booklet, piglet

    • -ette: cigarette, kitchenette

    • -ess: hostess, stewardess

  • c. Status, Domain (abstract)

    • -hood: brotherhood, likelihood

    • -ship: friendship, championship

    • -dom: freedom

Word formation

  • d. Quantity

    • -ful: handful, spoonful, helpful

  • 2. Noun/Adjective Suffixes

    • -ese: Japanese

    • -ist: novelist, typist, pianist

    • -ism: communism, imperalism

  • 3. De-verbal Suffixes

    • -ant: applicant, occupant

    • -ion/-ation: operation, exploration

    • -ment: arrangement, argument, amusement

    • -al: approval, refusal

    • -ing: swimming, living

    • -age: package, shortage, heritage

  • 4. De-adjectival Suffixes

    • -ness: goodness, happiness, selfishness

    • -able/-al/-ity: readable, sentimental, sentimentality

Word formation

  • 5. Verb Suffixes

    • -ify: identify

    • -ize: memorize, organize, scandalize

    • -en: shorten, sadden, blacken

  • 6. Adjective Suffixes

    • -able: readable, drinkable

    • -ful: beautiful, pletniful

    • -en: wooden, leaden

    • -ic: Germanic, specific

    • -ish: foolish, snobbish

    • -less: helpless, hopeless

  • 7. Adverb Suffixes

    • -ly: happily, freely, instantly

    • -wards: onwards, eastwards

    • -wise: clockwise

Word formation


Definition : Two or more word joined together to form a new word,

separately or with a hypen.

For example:- Home + Work: homework

- Pick + Pocket: pickpocket

- Fast + Food: fast-food

- Baby + Sitter: baby-sitter


The meaning of a compound is not always the sum of the meanings of its part.

e.x:- Coconut oil: oil made from coconut

- Baby oil: an oil for babies, NOT oil made from babies

Word formation


Definition: Conversion is derivational process whereby an item changes its


Verb to Noun

verb will be noun by adding:

- er behind it with the meaning THE DOER OF THE VERB

- the before its past participle form with the meaning THE VICTIM OF


e.x: The kicked kicks kicker with a kick

Noun to Verb

Noun will be verb with the meaning GIVE THE NOUN

e.x: I’ll flower this table

My sister always waters all of flowers in the garden

Word formation

3.Noun to Adjective

Noun becomes adjective by adding suffix –en, as follow:

Wood -Wooden

Gold -Golden

e.x: SitiNurhalizah has golden voice

These two areas are connected by a wooden bridge

Adjective to Noun

Adjective becomes noun by using THE before it and it is singular in form but stands for plural

e.x: The tall are easy to steal mangoes

The poor mustn’t be avoided

Adjective to Verb

Adjective becomes verb by adding –ing, –ed, or nothing with the meaning TO MAKE ADJECTIVE

e.x: The background must be blacked

The driver is slowing the car’s speed

Open the door, please!

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