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Affixes are our "workhorse" morphemes--the tools we use again and again to assemble new words. There are several kinds of affixes:
1. Suffixes. Suffixes are morphemes that attach to the end of a word. Examples are:
-ion in motion -ate in investigate
Suffixes are written with an initial hyphen, as above.
2. Prefixes. Prefixes attach to the beginning of a word. Examples are:
re- in redo un- in unthinkable
Prefixes are written with a terminal hyphen, as above.
3. Infixes. Although English generally does not have infixes, or morphemes that go "in the middle" of a word, other languages do. An exception in English might be -frickin- in
Q: Are you going to the concert tonight? A: Absofrickinlutely.
Infixes are written with initial and terminal hyphens, as above.
3. Circumfixes. Circumfixes are affixes that "surround" the word, attaching to the beginning and end of the word. Although English has few examples of this type of affix, other languages use it. The circumfix is probably most widely known from the German past participle (ge- -t for regular verbs). Probably the only circumfixes in English are:
en- -en in enlighten em- -en in embolden
In older usage, however, the present participle could be formed using the circumfix a- -ing:
a- -ing in a-flying a- -ing in a-caroling
Circumfixes are written with initial and terminal hyphens, as above.