Class-Changing Prefixes in the English Language

Edin Dupanović


It is claimed that English prefixes do not generally change the class of a base to which they are attached. The aim of this paper is to probe the hedge word “generally” from the previous sentence, and establish which prefixes do change the class of their base and how productive they are. Thus, seven prefixes (a-, be-, de-, dis-, en-, non-, and un-) are described in terms of their origin, meaning, productivity and bases to which they can be attached.



word formation; derivation; prefixes; word class change; English language

Full Text:



Adams, Valerie (2001), Complex Words in English, Routledge, London; New York

Bauer, Laurie (1983), English Word-Formation, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Booij, Geert (2007), The Grammar of Words: An Introduction to Morphology, Second edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford

Carstairs-McCarthy, Andrew (2002), An Introduction to English Morphology, Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh

Hay, Jennifer, Harald Baayen (2002), “Parsing and productivity”, In: Booij, Geert, Jaap van Marle, editors, Yearbook of Morphology 2001, Kluwer, Dor- drecht; Boston; London, 203-235.

Huddleston, Rodney, Geoffrey Pullum (2002), The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Katamba, Francis, John Stonham (2006), Morphology, Second edition, Palgrave Macmillan, New York

Lieber, Rochelle (2005), “English Word-Formation Processes”, In: Štekauer, Pavol, Rochelle Lieber, editors, Handbook of Word-Formation, Springer, Dordrecht, 375-427.

Lyons, John (1977), Semantics, Volume 2, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Marchand, Hans (1969), The Categories and Types of Present-Day English Word-Formation: A Synchronic-Diachronic Approach, Second edition, C. H. Beck’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Munich

Matthews, Peter (1991), Morphology, Second edition, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Mel’čuk, Igor (2006), Aspects of the Theory of Morphology, David Beck ed., Mouton de Gruyter, Berlin; New York

Plag, Ingo (2003), Word-Formation in English, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge

Quirk, Randolph, Sidney Greenbaum, Geoffrey Leech, Jan Svartvik (1985), A Comprehensive Grammar of the English Language, Pearson Education, Harlow

Trask, Larry (1993), A Dictionary of Grammatical Terms in Linguistics, Routledge, London; New York


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN: 2490-3604 (print) ● ISSN: 2490-3647 (online)

Društvene i humanističke studije - DHS is under the Creative Commons licence.