In Chinese, there are words that can combine with other words to modify their meanings or create new words. We call these words affixes. Don’t hesitate to build vocabulary with affixes because they really help to learn vocabulary rapidly.
If we use a word before another word to modify its meaning or form a new word, we call this word a prefix 前缀. For example, we can use 老 before a monosyllabic surname to express friendliness or kindness. You will hear frequently expressions such as 老王，老刘，老李，老田 etc between friends.
If a word is inserted in the middle of a word to modify its meaning or form a new word, we call it an infix. The most common infixes are 得 and 不. You can use 得 to form an adjective like 看得见 visible, 吃得开 popular, etc. You can also use 得 to form an verb like 对得起 not to let sb. down, 看得起 to think much of sb. etc. Comparatively with prefixes and suffixes, the number of infixes in Chinese is very limited.
If we use a word after another word to modify its meaning or form a new word, we call it a suffix. For example, we can use 家 after a noun of profession, to form a new noun, which means a specialist in a certain field. By this way, you can get many new words such as 书法家 calligrapher, 外交家 diplomat, 哲学家 philosopher, etc.. We have shared various suffixes. Just check them out!
Chinese affixes play a very important role for the word formation in modern Chinese. If you get to know which words can act as affixes and find the relative formulas, you can accelerate a lot your vocabulary learning.
From now on, just build vocabulary with affixes, following our related posts.