Affixes or Not? Caution

Affixes or Not? A Word of Caution

When you analyze the structure of a word, you have to be careful not to make a systematic association between a group of letters and a certain prefix or suffix. While it is true, for example, that the suffix -er can be added to verbs to make a noun, this does not mean that every time you see -er at the end of the word, it is actually a suffix. For example, from the verb to work, we derive the word a worker; but in the word butter, -er should not be considered a suffix. The word worker is very closely related to the verb work, since a worker is ‘one who works,’ but the word butter does not mean ‘one who butts.’

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