Building Words

You can examine words and sometimes divide them into smaller parts.
You can also make longer words by adding parts.
Here are some common ways of building words:

Add a prefix:

– after: afternoon, afterwards, afterthought
– be: befriend, becalm, bewitch
– dis: disappear, dislike, dishonest
– il: illegible, illegal, illiterate
– im, in: impossible, inaccurate, immovable, inactive
– micro: microphone, microscpe, microwave
– mid: midnight, midwinter, midway, midyear
– mis: mistake, misbehave
– non: nonsense, nonfiction, nonstop
– over: overdue, overtake, overactive
– post: postwar, postpone
pre: preapprove, prefix, precaution
– re: react, rewrite, reread, redo
– sub: submarine, subsurface, subzero
– super: supermarket, supernatural
– tele: television, telephone, telescope
– un: unafraid, unable, underage

Add a suffix:
– able: teachable, learnable, readable, comfortable
– ed: walked, talked, looked
– er: smaller, braver, fuller, smarter, stronger
– er, or: teacher, learner, reader, doctor, editor, actor
– est: kindest, biggest, fastest, largest, closest
– ful: thankful, helpful, cheerful, hopeful, careful
– ing: walking, talking, looking, sleeping, reading
– ish: youngish, oldish, childish, bookish
– less: fearless, noiseless, careless, thoughtless
– ly: quietly, loudly, kindly, quickly, hopefully, cheerfully
– ment: contentment, achievement, government
– ness: kindness, quietness, goodness, happiness
– s, es: cats, foxes, computers, books, tables, baskets
– y: happy, funny, cloudy, rainy, sunny, chewy

You can find many more prefixes and suffixes in The Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists by Edward B. Fry (Jossey-Bass, 2006).

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