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Language Fine Points

Q:  Why hopeful-ness but hope-lessness, when these two are opposites?

          A:  “hope ۔less” means “without hope”, by definition of suffix “–less”, as all hyphenated suffixes and prefixes have unique meanings.  We have a “-full” hyphenated suffix, meaning “full of”, as in “wagon ۔full”, but “ful” isn’t a hyphenated suffix, because “hopeful” doesn’t actually mean “full of hope”; more hope than usual, but not necessarily “full”, so we don’t write “hope ۔full”.  Hyphenated suffix –ness can be added to any adjective (including “hopeful”) to form a noun, so:  hopeful ۔ness.  Actually, the two words are not opposites:  “hope ۔less” means (by unique definition of suffix “-less”, means “without hope”, i.e. without any hope, while “hopeful” doesn’t necessary mean “maximum hope possible”, “full to the brim of hope”, hope-less’s opposite.

 



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Peoplese