17.3 - Prefix and suffix


In previous units you met most of the prefixes and suffixes used with verbs and nouns. Many of these are also used with adjectives, particularly when the latter are derived from nouns and verbs (or the reverse), as in: прописувати (verb) – прописка (noun) – прописний (adjective).

Some prefixes are either specific to adjectives, or are used in a specific way with adjectives, including:

prefix denoting examples
під-, мало- diminution, smallness,
підстаркуватий – getting on a bit, oldish
маловідомий – not well known
пре-, над- large size, excess премудрий – very wise
надмірний – excessive
без-, не- absence or negation безпорадний – helpless
ненадійний – unreliable
між-, понад-, після- relation, location міжнародний – international
понадзвуковий – supersonic
післявоєнний – post-war


The standard adjective endings -ий, -ій and -їй have been presented in previous units. In addition to these, there are a large number of suffixes which, when added to the adjective stem, modify the meaning, either significantly or subtly. The type of suffix used may also depend on whether the adjective is derived from a noun, a verb or an adverb, but this issue is of minor importance when reading texts (as opposed to producing them), and is not discussed here. Some of the more frequently used suffixes are given below.

suffix denoting examples
-овий, -евий,
-ачий, ‑ячий,
-ський, -цький
possession, belonging,
composition, pertaining to
мишачий – mouse's
братовий – brother's
шовковий – (made of) silk
київський – Kyivan, relating to Kyiv
-уватий, -юватий
-астий, -ястий
similarity, characteristics, approximation, "-ish" хвилястий – wavy
тернистий – thorny
темнуватий – darkish
-кий, -ливий potential for,
"-able", "-ible", "-ful"
гнучкий – flexible
мінливий – changeable
-езний, -енний great size or emphasis глибочезний – extremely deep
довженний – extremely long
-енький, -есенький diminution, evaluation,
малесенький – tiny
величенький – "quite a big sort of ..."
-анний, -енний potential, capacity, "-able" недозволенний – not permissible
(compare with past participle недозволений – not permitted)
неподоланний – insuperable
-альний function, action опалювальний – (designed for) heating
планувальний – (aimed at) planning
-ачий, -ячий,
-ущий, ющий
pertaining to, action,
function, quality, "-ing"
собачий – of a dog, canine
невмирущий – immortal, undying
-арний, -альний
-ичний, -ічний
pertaining to foreign
loan words
фінальний – final
метричний – metric
енергійний – energetic

N.B. Because the system of adjectival prefixes and suffixes is so extensive, it is always a good idea to check in the dictionary to ensure you have understood the finer shades of meaning of adjectives of this type.

Exercise 17.3A

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© 2007 Marta Jenkala