7. More Prefixes and Suffixes

Word Formation

These sections of the textbook help improve your speed during the skimming phase of reading and help you gradually build vocabulary.

Adjectival Suffixes

A large number of adjectives/adverbs can be quickly recognized as the addition of a certain suffix to a noun or to the root of a verb, like in English. Some of the most common such German suffixes are:

bar as in eßbar (edible), from essen (to eat); sichtbar (visible, seeable), from Sicht(sight)

haft as in lebhaft (lively), from leben (to live); zweifelhaft (doubtful) from Zweifel (doubt)

ig as in mächtig (mighty, powerful) from Macht (power); krustig (crusty) from Kruste (crust)

isch as in künstlerisch (artistic) from Künstler (artist); politisch (political) from Politik (politics); kindisch (childish) from Kind (child)

lich as in tödlich (deadly) from Tod (death) or kindlich (childlike) from Kind (child)

los as in endlos (endless) from Ende (end); erfolglos (unsuccessful, “successless”) from Erfolg (success)

reich as in erfolgreich (successful, “rich in success”) from Erfolg (success); ergebnisreich (fruitful, “rich in results”) from Ergebnis (result)

voll as in kraftvoll (powerful) from Kraft (power); geheimnisvoll (mysterious, “full of secret”) from Geheimnis (secret)

The Noun Prefix Ge

Examples:

Gebäck (baked goods) from backen (to bake)
Gebirge (mountain chain) from Berg (mountain)
Gedanke (thought) from denken (to think)
Gepäck (luggage) from packen (to pack)
Gespräch (conversation) from sprechen (to speak)

This prefix gives a collective sense to a word root.

Last revised on March 8, 2017.