Prefixes and suffixes are grammatical and lingual "affixes." Prefixes are affixed before and suffixes after a base word or word stem to add information. For example, with the word "prehistoric," the prefix is "pre-" meaning "before," the base word is "history" meaning "recorded events and knowledge", and the suffix is "-ic" meaning "relating to the science of."
In other words, "prefix" simply refers to an attachment before or in front of, in this case, a shorter word or stem. In lingual terms, a "stem" is the main part of a word to which prefixes and suffixes can be added and may not necessarily be a word itself, such as "dod" in "doddle."
Similarly, "suffix" refers to an attachment after the end of an existing word or stem, serving to form a new word or functioning as an inflectional ending, for example, s or es to make for plurality.
No, a prefix or suffix can be one or more syllables, depending on the root word from Latin or Greek or from any one of a host of other English lingual influences.
Yes, endings that are create different forms of the same word are called "inflectional suffixes." There are very few inflectional suffixes but they occur rather frequently. They are:
|-s, -es, -ies||plural|
|-s||3rd person singular present|
Endings that change the meaning of the word are called "derivational suffixes." Some are:
|-ism||forms a noun|
Derivational suffixes can combine, providing flexibility in creating other words, but such activity can lead to spelling complications. For example, "-ity" can combine with "-able," but the result is "-ability" (desirability, predictability), and when "-ly" is added to a word ending in "-ic" to make an adverb, the result is usually "-ically" (historically, mechanically).
Go on to more about syllables.
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