Grammar: Infix

Posted June 24, 2015 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Editing, Grammar Explanations, Self-Editing, Writing

An infix is most commonly used to intensify swearing, I abso-blinkin-lutely swear it. I know you’ll recognize this in certain expressions, which are usually used in unexpected or aggravating circumstances by emotionally aroused English speakers.

Naturally, there are other examples of infixation: pluralizing open and hyphenated compound words and swapping words around to create a intensified effect.

To be fair, infixation is a relatively new concept, and you should be safe looking at the rules for compound words.

Grammar Explanations is…

…an evolving list of the structural rules and principles that determines where words are placed in phrases or sentences as well as how the language is spoken. Sometimes I run across an example that helps explain better or another “also known as”. Heck, there’s always a better way to explain it, so if it makes quicker and/or better sense, I would appreciate suggestions and comments from anyone… Are there areas of grammar with which you struggle?

If you’d like to track it, bookmark this page. And consider sharing this Grammar Explanation with friends by tweeting it.

Credit to: Yule; Literary Devices
Definition: A group of letters that is inserted within the base form of a word and not at the beginning (a prefix) or the end (a suffix) of a word to create a new word or intensify meaning.

Inserting an infix is called infixation.

Affix is a general term for infix, prefix, and suffix.

A.k.a., integrated adjective

Tmesis Definition: The insertion of a word between a word, a compound word, or a phrase by dividing the word or phrase into syllables and inserting the word, usually an expletive or a softer word which intensifies the meaning.
Rule: Switching words around to call attention or place an emphasis.
Tmesis Phrase Means
a whole ‘nother story another story
shove it back any-old-where in the pile shove it back in the pile
what place soever whatsoever place
some-bloody-where somewhere
Rule: Commonly employed in words with three or more syllables in an informal situation. The infixed word may use hyphens to set apart the infix or you may choose to treat it as a closed compound.
Word Used
bleedin(g) absobleedinlutely
bloody hallebloodylujah


bloomin(g) absobloominlutely
damn guarandamtee
flamin(g) fanflamintastic
flippin(g) unbeflippinglievable
frigging(g) fanfriggintastic
Pluralizing an Infix Rule: Some compound nouns that are pluralized may require an s suffix to act as an infix when the head noun is at the start of the compound word.
sergeants major
sergeants first class
secretaries of state

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