Bound Morphemes - Types & Examples

Bound Morphemes Types and Examples

The post, Bound Morphemes: Types and Examples, explains the two major types of Bound Morphemes we have with examples. These two categories of the Bound Morpheme are Derivational and Inflectional morphemes.

Derivational Morpheme

A derivational morpheme, as the name suggests, derive, create or form another word from the word to which it is added. It is often used to make words of a different grammatical category (word class) from the stem or root or base word. Examples of Derivational Morphemes include:

• Good – adjective
• Goodness – noun

• Care – noun/verb
• Careful/Careless – adjective

• Bad – adjective
• Badly – adverb

• Pay – noun/verb
• Payment – noun

• Warm – adjective
• Warmth – noun

• Accommodate – verb
• Accommodation – noun

• Repudiate – verb
• Repudiation – noun

• Rancour – noun
• Rancorous – adjective

• Happy – adjective
• Happiness – noun etc.

Formation of Derivational Morphemes

As we have established that derivational morphemes derive new words, only the Open Class constituents of the English Parts of Speech, that is nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs can derive new words resulting in another word class. Nouns can derive new words that are adjectives, and vice-versa. Adverbs can derive adjectives and vice-versa; nouns can derive verbs and vice-versa. In all these derivations, the English suffix is very essential and without it, we cannot have any form of derivation. Read about the formation of derivational morphemes with the aid of the English Suffix: Definition, Types and Examples on this page.

Inflectional Morphemes

These are used to indicate aspects of the grammatical function of a word. They carry grammatical information and do not change the meaning of words in which they occur neither do they change their parts of speech. If they are verbs, for instance, they remain as verbs, unlike the derivational morphemes.

Levels of Inflection

Nouns can be inflected for possessive or genitive case. Examples:
He bashed Olu’s car.
• Can I get David’s number?
• The passenger’s seat is filled up.

They can also be inflected for a marker of plurality. Examples:
• Table – tables
• Knife – knives
• Lorry – lorries
• Tomato – tomatoes

Nouns with same singular and plural forms have zero or unmarked morpheme. Examples:
Sheep + z1 – Sheep
Fish + z1 – Fish
Deer + z1 – Deer
Offspring + z1 – Offspring
Series + z1 – Series
Species + z1 – Species
Verbs can be inflected for 3rd person singular, progressive, tense, aspect.

Adjectives can be inflected for comparative and superlative forms.

NB: All inflectional morphemes that we list above are suffixes.

Morpheme Symbols




z1 Plurality boy+ z1 – boys
z2 Genitive or Possessive John+ z2 – John’s
z3 Third person singular

Simple Present Tense form of a Verb

go+ z3 – goes

come+ z3 – comes

eat+ z3 – eats

‘-ing’ Progressive/Continuous Aspect form of a Verb sing+‘-ing’ – singing

run+‘-ing’ – running

d1 Past Tense form of a Verb go+ d1
d2 Past Participle/Perfective form of a Verb go+ d2 – gone

expect+ d2 – expected

‘-er’ Comparative form of an Adjective tall+‘-er’ – taller
‘-est’ Superlative form of an Adjective fat+‘-est’ – fattest

Note that most of these inflectional suffixes do not change the word class; they only inflect the words for the grammatical categories listed in the table above.

Bound Morphemes, which we also call affixes in English, include both the derivational and inflectional morphemes. We affix these morphemes to the root/base/stem word either at the initial or the final position. We attach Prefixes at the initial position and suffixes at the final position.

Related Readings

Definitions of Morphemes: Types and Examples

Prefix: Definition, Types with Examples

Types of Morphemes: Free and Bound

Suffix: Definition, Types and Examples

Derivational and Inflectional Morphemes: Differences

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