The ו prefix
In lesson 7, we will examine word prefixes and suffixes in depth. Nonetheless, there is one prefix that we simply cannot wait to speak about—a prefix that is found over 50,000 times in the Hebrew Bible. (That's an average of over two ו prefixes per verse!)
A prefix is one or more letters added on to the beginning of a word. A suffix is the same, though the letters are added to the end of the word. We have already seen a sort of suffix with the endings in the qal perfect paradigm. However, Hebrew commonly uses prefixes and suffixes of a different sort—prefixes and suffixes which contain a distinct meaning in and of themselves. Many actually consider these prefixes and suffixes to be distinct words, since they possess their own meaning.
The most common of these prefixes and suffixes is the prefix ו. Its most simple meaning is “and,” though in reality it is much more flexible than the word “and” in English. A small book could be dedicated to the different possible meanings of the ו prefix, but we will suffice by simply saying that it can be translated as just about any English conjunction.