Word Formations

Word creation can refer to either a state or a process, and it can be viewed either diachronically (through separate times in history) or synchronically (during the same period in history) (at one particular period in time).

The process of word formation is widely recognised as a phenomenon that is innate to human life all around the world. As defined by Trask (1997), the process of word formation is a method of creating new words from previously existing components. Meanwhile, according to Hacken and Thomas (2013), the word creation process is the method through which new words are created based on a set of rules. Aside from that, according to Plag (2003), the term “word formation process” refers to the process of creating new words from existing ones. Based on the foregoing description, it can be inferred that the word formation process is the method of constructing new words from existing words in accordance with certain rules. The process of word formation can be both productive and non-productive.

Word Formation in English

The English language has a natural acumen for combining words to create powerfully evocative phrases. Examples include sunstroke, pick-pocketing, elbow-room, land-lord, hummingbird, and a variety of other things.

When there are two pieces to a compound word, they are normally separated by a period. Nevertheless, in the case of several often used compound words, the component components have grown so intimately linked that they are now written as a single word, with no hyphen or other separator between them.

Examples include: sunstroke, a landlord, a pickpocket, an overload, and so forth.

For certain other compound nouns, total integration has been achieved through the modification of one or both of the component elements.

The word pass time, for example, is now written as pastime. In the same way, a holy day has been transformed into a holiday, and a prime rose has been transformed into a primrose.

Word Formation Examples

To emphasise something implies to draw attention to it or demonstrate that it is significant. We might emphasise the importance of a concept by emphasising its importance or by describing it thoroughly.

Speaking emphatically is stating things in a clear and unambiguous (and typically loud) manner. There is no room for ambiguity in this situation.

To employ someone is usually synonymous with providing them with a job and compensating them for their efforts.

Employment (or unemployment) is a term that refers to a person who provides jobs to others, while employee refers to a person who obtains work. Employed (or unemployed) and (un)employable are two adjectives that can be used to describe people.

To verify anything is to discover or demonstrate that it is true. (It is derived from the French and Latin words true + make.) It can be transformed into four different adjectives. Something that can be checked and confirmed as true is referred to as verifiable. Something that cannot be proven is referred to be unverifiable. Verified is something that has been checked or demonstrated to be true, whereas unverified is something that has not been checked or demonstrated to be true. There is also a term for this process: verification.

Achievement is a term that denotes the accomplishment of a goal: having accomplished a goal. Are you able to guess the verb? (Hint: delete the suffix that creates nouns.)

If you take the verb (achieve) and add the suffix -er, you will get the noun for someone who achieves success. In the case of a person who is excessively focused on achievement, use the prefix over- . For one adjective, add the suffix -able to the verb, and for a second adjective, add the negative prefix un- to the verb before the suffix.

We can utilise the verb to excite to create three different types of adjectives (with the suffixes ‘–able,’ ‘-ed,’ and ‘–ing,’ respectively), as well as their negative counterparts. Excitedly and exciteably are two adverbs that are derived from the word excitement. We can accomplish the same thing with a variety of other verbs as well.

Types of Word Formation

  • Coinage
  • Borrowing
  • Compounding
  • Blending
  • Clipping
  • Backformation
  • Conversion
  • Acronyms
  • Derivation


Making up entirely new words Kleenex, Xerox, and Kodak are examples of product names that have been extended from a specific reference to a more general one. Eponyms are words that are based on the name of a person or a location. Sandwich, jeans, and watt, for example.


Taking words from another language and putting them in your own. Many Latin and French words have been borrowed into English. a leak (Dutch) Bar-b-que (Spanish) Piano is a musical instrument (Italian) settee (Arabic) Croissants are a type of pastry (French) Yogurt is a delicious dairy product (Turkish) Arabic also borrowed many English words, such as television, radio, and supermarket. Calque or loan-translation A phrase that has been translated into another language.


Two or more words joined together to  form a new word.


  Home + work  homework (N)

 Pick + pocket  pickpocket (N)

 Low + paid  low-paid (Adj)

Note: The meaning of a compound is

not always the sum of the meanings of

its parts.

 Coconut oil  oil made from coconuts.

 Olive oil  oil made from olives.


Blending is similar to compounds, except just parts of the words are merged.


Motor + hotel  Motel

Breakfast + lunch  Brunch

Smoke + fog  smog

Teleprinter + exchange  telex


removing one or more syllables from a word to make it shorter


Facsimile  fax

Hamburger  burger

Gasoline  gas

Advertisement  ad




removing one or more syllables from a word to make it shorter


editor  edit

television  televise

babysitter  babysit

Note: backformation always involve reduction

(changing the form of the word)


Adding a new syntactic category to an already existing term.


butter (N)  V to butter the bread

permit (V)  N an entry permit

empty (A)  V to empty the litter-bin

must (V)  N doing the homework is a


Microwave (N)  V


Words formed by combining the initials of multiple words


National Aeronautics and Space Agency NASA

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund


United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural

Organization  UNESCO

Compact Disc  CD


The highly common word formation process.



Happy  unhappy, happiness

Arrange  rearrange

Prefixes vs. suffixes

Infixes inside the word

Tell them I’ve gone to Singabloodypore! 

Multiple Processes

The creation of a particular word

involves more than one process.

Example: Problems with the project

have snowballed

Snow + ball  compound

Snowball (N)  (V) conversion


English is considered to be a global language. This is mostly due to the word formation mechanism that is employed to invent new words in the language in the first place. The English language has become more adaptable as a result of the large amount of vocabulary available. When a word is transformed into a very or an adjective, it is known as morphing. For instance, the word “danger” can be converted into the verb “endanger” and the adjective “dangerous.” Consequently, the importance of language grows as a result of word development. When a language generates new words, for example, by borrowing, it not only helps to sustain the vitality of that language, but it also opens the door for other languages to borrow from the original language. Other languages are kept alive as a result of this. A language can be extinguished. The absence of the word creation process can lead to the death of a sentence. There are numerous ways in which a language might be extinguished.


Frequently asked questions

Get answers to the most common queries related to the CBSE Class 11th Examination Preparation.

How might different types of word construction be used to improve the effectiveness of communication efforts?

Ans. Developing a child’s ability to communicate more clearly and effectively through the use of vario...Read full

What is the significance of word building?

Ans. Word construction helps to improve one’s spelling abilities. The process of creating words helps ...Read full

Can you tell me about the rules of word formation?

Ans. The Word Formation Rule is a grammatical rule that governs the formation of morphologically complex wor...Read full

What is the meaning of derivation in the context of word formation?

Ans. When it comes to descriptive linguistics and classical grammar, derivation is the construction of a wor...Read full

What is meant by multiple processes in the development of words?

Ans. A multiple process is a word creation process that occurs when more than one word formation process is ...Read full