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Ways of Forming English Words

Bound morphemes are morphemes that are considered from the structural point of view, they cannot be used separately. As a rule, these are affixes that help us to make different parts of speech and grammatical forms of words (-ly, -ance, in-, il-, -er, -ed). People often confuse bound morphemes, especially those who do not speak English fluently or lack experience in communicating in English. There was a party at my neighbor’s where I met a girl from China, and I still cannot get used to the way she talks. She confuses affixes that are used to form different words, for example, she says “usely” instead of “useful”.

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The next observation concerns derivational morphemes which can be also considered affixes with semantic meaning which can create words. For example, if we add the suffix “il-” to the adjective “legal”, we shall have the word “illegal” which is opposite to “legal”. Foreigners and uneducated people who do not think about the usage of words add wrong derivational morphemes to derive words with negative meanings. When I was meeting my friend at the airport, I happened to eavesdrop on the conversation between two young men. Each of them wanted to impress another one with his “brilliant” command of English, though it did not happen. One was saying [inhappy] instead of “unhappy”, whereas another man was using the word [worse] instead of “worse”.

Combining forms are often called affixes, though one can make a word that would be composed of two affixes. Once, my friends invited me to spend a good evening. We were making new words; however, we could only suppose that they were new. For example, we added affixes that are typically used for word formation in the English language to those borrowed from Greek and Latin. The variants appeared to be very interesting and sometimes funny: the word “autodome” was invited for “automobile industry.

Ways of forming English words are different, though I would like to discuss the most productive ones because not all of them can be used to create new words nowadays. Affixation (add affixes), compounding (combine two separate words to stand for a new one), and conversion (words from one part of speech converse to another) are considered to be the most productive ways of word formation in English. We use such conversions as “care”, “examine”, “love”, “whistle”, “plant”, “planet”, and many others in our everyday life.

Borrowings have helped to make the English language richer and culturally diverse. As a rule, we use words of Greek or Latin origin without thinking about their genuine meaning. Words like cardiology, photography, or automobile are used by all members of English-speaking society. The only difference is that educated people who studied the language (its history, structure, and peculiarities) can differentiate between borrowed words and genuine English words.

As you know, young people use slang because of many reasons; some of them want to seem tough, others do not know alternative literary variants that can be used instead. So, slang is a way of forming new words that apply to different areas of human life. For example, young people use such informal expressions as “cool” and “hot” instead of using their standard equivalents “attractive”, “good-looking”, “nice”, and a range of other synonyms.

Open class lexical categories present the parts of speech which can include new members through compounding, borrowing, and derivation. For example, when a word that is typically used to denote nouns can be derived into an adjective or an adverb, we call this process derivation. Nouns, verbs, and adjectives are open class parts of speech that can accept new items. A person can use a great number of words that can be commonly transferred into nouns or verbs. I use a lot of verbs and nouns which can be used to determine another part of speech.

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Closed class lexical categories include prepositions, conjunctions, and pronouns, and they do not accept new words because their number has already been set. These parts of speech cannot be changed with verbs or nouns because a wrong preposition can change the whole meaning of a phrase. “She went out” can be opposed to “She went away” because these two phrases have a different meanings. The first one can be explained as a temporary absence, while the second can be considered as a permanent decision. When a wrong preposition is used, we can judge a person who uses it by his or her origin and education.

Descriptive syntax includes methods of syntactic analysis which makes the grammatical structure logical, and perspective rules help us to differentiate between grammatically correct and incorrect sentences. So, we can use perspective rules to decide whether the sentence is correct or incorrect. If one says, “Give to me a letter”, we would know that this phrase is incorrect because the correct form would sound like “Give me a letter” or “Give a letter to me”. In this respect, it is obvious that works of literature and cinematography can contain such incorrect phrases to define foreigners, uneducated, or poorly educated characters.

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