English Word-formation

By Ethel Evans,2014-04-12 13:19
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English Word-formation

English Word-formation

    Main methods

    1. Conversion: one part of speech ? another

    He is going to stop in Britain for a couple of days.

    Its only three stops form here to the campus.

    My mother loves me very much.

    She mothers her baby sister.

    to shoulder/elbow ones way

    2. Derivation: also affixation, by which a new word is formed through adding a prefix or a


    large ? enlarge, happy ? unhappy, understand ? misunderstand; wonder ? wonderful,

    dark ? darkness, teach ? teacher, quick ?quickly

    3. Compounding: also composition, a process of conjoining two or more words to form a new


    basketball, airport, go-between, out-of-door; blackbird, darkroom, greenhouse, etc. 4. Abbreviation: to form a new word by shortening a longer one.

    *Clipping: cutting part of a longer word.

    omnibus ? bus bicycle ? bike

    taxicab ? taxi gymnasium ? gym

    refrigerator ?fridge influenza ? flu

    *Initials and Acronyms: words made out of the initial letters of each of the word in the

    phrase or a title of an organization or a country. The difference lies in that initials

    are read letter by letter while acronyms are pronounced as independent words.

    #UN ? the United Nations

     WTO ? World Trade Organization

     UFO ? unidentified flying object

    #UNESCO ? United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

     AIDS ? acquired immune deficiency syndrome

     laser ? light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation

    *Blending: combination of parts of two words.

     smog = smoke + fog motel = motor + hotel

     medicare = medical + care hi-tech = high + technology

     anecdotage = anecdote + dotage Eurasia = Europe + Asia 5. Neologism: also new coinage, the creation of new words to denote new objects or ideas.

    *Modern science and technology: software, hardware, internet, e-mail, cyber shopping;

    *Industry: Coca Cola, Pepsi, Kodak, Xerox;

    *Politics and government: EU - the European Union

    APEC Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation

    6. *Back formation & Borrowing


    1. Prefixes that change the part of speech of words.

    *en-: added to adjectives or nouns, which means to put or get into, to cause to be

     You will endanger your health if you work so hard.

     The collapse of the strike enabled the company to resume normal bus services.

     The discovery of oil will enrich the nation.

     I cannot ensure his being there in time.

     #encage entrain entrap encase enplane enchain

    encave enthrone encloud

     #enlarge endanger ensphere enrage

     encircle endear ennoble enrich

     enable encourage enslave ensky

    *de- : added to nouns, which means the opposite to the original meaning of the nouns.

     The engine was derailed. Dont let the meat defrost too quickly.

     His face was deformed in an accident. Its wicked to defame others.

     #dewater degrade degum demist dehydrate deice

     devalue decode desalt deface deforest decolor

     decamp deflower degas de-oil depollution defog

    *be- : added to nouns or adjectives, which means to become, to decorate by, or to the side of

     He befriended me when I was young.

     The king was beheaded for his tyranny. Dont belittle yourself.

     #becalm befool bedim bedevil bepowder bejewel

     becloud bedew beside below before behind

    *a-: added to nouns or descriptive verbs to form adjectives, which means in, at, on, to, by,

    with, of and into etc.

     He is asleep. The whole city is ablaze with lights.

     He is ill abed. Help me get my boat afloat.

     The smoke rose aloft.

     #abuzz aglow aghast astir athirst agaze

     afire ahead aside abreast afoot ashore

     afield atop aground aback apart aslant

    *out-: added to nouns or adjectives to form verbs or adjective and adverbs, which means to

    surpass or not inside.

     #outdistance outwit outrank outpace outnumber

     outsmart outside outdoor out-city

    **when the out in a verb phrase is used as a prefix and added to the verb in the phrase, then the verb becomes a noun, which has almost the same meaning with the verb phrase.

     #break out ? outbreak

     burst out ? outburst

     come out ? outcome

     put out ? output

     let out ? outlet

     go out ? outgo

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