Prefixes and Suffixes

French Grammar (Prefixes and Suffixes)

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Prefixes (at the beginning of a word) pg. 1

1) re- added to a verb gives the idea of 'again':

commencer (to begin) --> recommencer (to begin again)

2) in-/im- added to an adjective gives the idea of 'not' or makes the adjective opposite in meaning:

connu (well known) --> inconnu (unknown)

prévu (planned) --> imprévu (unplanned, unexpected)

3) -/dés- is similar to the English prefix 'dis' and has the effect of changing the word into it's opposite.

obéir (to obey) --> désobéir (to disobey)

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Prefixes (at the beginning of a word) pg. 2

4) sou- or sous- often means 'under', 'below' or 'less':

une soucoupe (saucer); le sous-titre (sub-title)

5) para-/pare- gives the idea of 'against'

parapluie (umbrella - protection against the wind); pare-choc (car bumper)

6) pré- is sometimes found at the beginning of a word and gives the sense of looking ahead or something that comes before:

les prévisions météorologiques (weather forecast); un prénom (first name)

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Suffixes (at the end of a word) pg. 3

1) -aine added to numbers gives the idea of aprroximately or about.

une quizaine (about 15 days, a fortnight)

une douzaine (a dozen); des centaines (hundreds)

2) -eur/-euse added to a verb instead of the final -e or -er gives the idea of a person doing the action.

chanter (to sing) --> un chanteur/une chanteuse (singer)

vendre (to sell) --> un vendeur/une vendeuse (sales person)

3) - is sometimes added to adjectives to make a noun

beau (fine, beautiful) --> la beau

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Suffixes (at the end of a word) pg. 4

4) -ier/-ière and -er/-ère added to a noun in place of -e or -erie gives the idea of a person doing a particular job.

une ferme (farm) --> un fermier/une fermière (farmer)

une boulangerie (bakery) --> un boulanger/une boulangère (baker)

5) -able is sometimes added to the stem of a verb to give an adjective

laver (to wash) --> lavable (washable)

porter (to carry) --> (un) portable (portable, mobile (phone))

6) -ion;-ation are often added to the stem of a verb to make a noun.

réparer (to repair) --> une réparation (repair)

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This great little set of revision cards will prove very useful in your exam revision. It gives a whole host of prefixes and suffixes that will help you to figure out a whole range of words you may not have encountered before.

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