mail tip Sign up for daily tips
Chat about grammar Ask a grammar question
grammar checker Try a grammar checker
Follow Us on Twitter Like us on Facebook by Craig Shrives

What Are Prefixes?

What Are Prefixes?

A prefix is added to the front of a word to change its meaning

Both prefixes and suffixes (added to the back) are affixes. The big question with prefixes is whether to use a hyphen with a prefix. Here is a lesson about hyphens in prefixes.

Examples of Prefixes

Here are some examples of prefixes:
  • microscope
  • (The prefix is micro-.)
  • tripod
  • (The prefix is tri-.)
  • devalue
  • (The prefix is de-.)
Most Common Prefixes. The four most common prefixes account for over 95% of prefixed words. They are dis-, in-, re-, and un-.

A List of Common Prefixes

Here is a list of common prefixes with some examples:

a-, an-withoutamoral, atypical
ante-beforeantecedent, antenatal
co-withco-conspirator, co-pilot
com-, con-withcompanion, contact
de-offdelist, devalue
en-put intoenclose, envelop
ex-out of, formerextract, ex-governor
extra-beyond, more thanextracurricular
homo-samehomonym, homophone
hyper-over, morehyperactive
il-, im-, in-, ir-not, withoutillegal, impractical, inconsiderate, irresponsible
inter-betweeninternet, intersection,
intra-betweenintranet, intravenous
non-not, withoutnonentity, nonstarter,
omni-all, everyomnipresent, omniscient
pre-, pro-before, forwardprecede, project
sub-undersubmarine, substandard
syn-same timesynchronize
super-abovesupervisor, superhuman
tri-threetripod, triceratops
un-notundone, unfinished,
uni-oneunicorn, unilaterally
Top Tip

Prefixes and Capital Letters

A prefix is not written with a capital letter unless it starts the sentence or is an integral part of a proper noun.
  • I cannot attend the pro-MacDonalds rally.
  • I cannot attend the Annual Anti-Nazi Seminar.
  • I cannot attend this year's Anti-Nazi rally.
Read about hyphens with prefixes.
Interactive Test