Some examples of words created using affixes include foreshadow, preview, teacher and openness. The first two words use a prefix, a type of affix that goes on the beginning of a word's root, while the second two words use a suffix, a type of affix attached to the end of the word's root.
The word foreshadow uses the affix fore-, meaning "before" or "front of," attached to the root "shadow" to form the complete word. The word preview uses the affix pre-, meaning "before," with the root "view." Teacher uses the affix -er, meaning "one who," on the root "teach," and openness uses the affix -ness, meaning "state of," on the root "open."
The most common types of suffixes in English are -ly, -ed, -es and -ing, while the most common prefixes are un-, dis-, re- and in-. These affixes account for more than 95 percent of all English words using affixes.
Affixes add to or change the meaning of the root word, expanding the linguistic possibilities in a given language. Words in English typically derive from three etymological areas: Latinate, Greek and Germanic. Most affixes draw from these three areas when forming words, which is why English relates so strongly to these language groups.