Parts of a Word in English

The parts of the words are common roots, prefix and suffix. It is essential to distinguish these three parts to use each word appropriately. However, primarily, words are formed with the units of meaning and these units are known as morphemes. These morphemes cannot be broken down into smaller parts. For example, run, tree are the morphemes. In short, morpheme refers the meaning, without being a word. Keep in mind that morphemes are not English words.

Common roots: Roots are the basic of words and these carry fundamental meanings.
Example: sadness

  • Here, the root word is sad.
  • Telephone is the combination of morphemes.
  • Tele + phone
  • Bio (root) +life (meaning) = Biology
  • Cred (root) + believe (meaning) = Credible
  • Dict (root)+say (meaning) = Dictionary
  • Fact root) + make(meaning) =Manufacture
  • Geo (root) + earth(meaning) = Geography
  • Leg (root) + law = Legal, legitimate
  • Mini (root) + small = Miniature
  • Mort (root) + death =Mortal
  • Path (root) + feeling =Sympathy
  • Photo (root) + light =Photon

Prefixes and suffixes are the affixes, one kind of morpheme. These elements are added to the base form of a word to and modify its meaning.

Prefix: It is a kind of element that adds at the beginning of the word and modify it.

  • Renew, Return
  • Here, ‘re’ is a suffix.
  • Anti (prefix) + against (meaning) = Antibiotic
  • Contra (prefix) + against (meaning) = Contradict
  • Intro (prefix) + inward (meaning) = Introduction

Suffix: It is an element that adds at the end of the word. However, there are two types of Suffix- derivational and inflectional. Derivational suffix modifies the underlying meaning of the word and on the other hand, Inflectional suffix changes the number of a noun and the tense of a verb. In short, this type of suffix is used for some grammatical purpose.


  • Er + noun = Teacher
  • ee + noun = Employee
  • ess + noun = Waitress
  • Ism + noun = Communism

    Some derivational suffixes are -er,  -ful, -al,-ize and others.
    Here, if ‘er’ is added to a verb, then it creates a person.

  • Example: teacher, informer, killer, etc.
    ‘al’ and ‘ful’ change the noun into adjective and ‘ize’ changes a noun into a verb.
  • Example: accident- accidental
    Visual – visualize
    Derivational suffixes are added to a root.
  • Example: reconstruction (Here, ‘struct’ is the root.)
    Inflectional suffixes are ed, -ly, -‘s, -s, -er, -ed, -es, -ing and others. Moreover, Inflectional suffixes are added with the stem.
  • Example: reconstructing (Here, stem is reconstruct.)