Thank you all for keeping up with our Free Blogs Learning Corner so far! Today we will veer off a tiny bit by talking about all things suffixes.
Suffixes are letter combinations that can be added to the end of words to create a different meaning or change the grammatical function of a word. In the English language, there are many different suffixes, but today we will go through the most common ones.
When learning English, it can be easy to fall into the hole of learning words off by heart. This is great to start off by learning common phrases to get you by. However, to truly become fluent, you’ll need to be able to have educated guesses on how to speak grammatically correctly just in case you are in a situation where you have never used a word in a certain context. Understanding suffix meanings will really help you to speak with ease, and help you to identify a word while reading text.
Now that we understand a little more about suffixes, we’ll give you some of the most common suffixes used in the English language.
As mentioned above, ER has two meanings depending on the word it’s used with. It can mean the one who did something or larger than the noun.
Some examples of the larger meaning are:
For the decreasing terms, it decreases even more, like “smaller” is seen as “more little” than something. There are some describing words that you can’t add an ER, and for these, we simply say “more …”. An example of this is “more exaggerated”.
Some examples of “the one who” are:
For the person who does things, if they are a professional at it, you will see OR instead of ER. Such examples include Professor and Administrator.
AL is put at the end of nouns to describe the act or process of the noun. That sounds a little complicated, we know, but you’ll get it from the examples below and realize that it’s used quite a lot!
If you see MENT at the end of a noun, this is changing the noun to be the condition of it.
Some examples include:
IST is a very common one for describing people. This, like ER or OR, means the one who. It is referred mostly to your profession or vocation. It would be more than just a job, but a title for those who have studied and worked in the same field, normally in a technical field.
Some examples include:
It can also be used to describe someone’s attributes or tendencies. For example, a narcissist is someone who only thinks of themselves and an opportunist is someone who thinks on the positive side and aims for the best outcome.
NESS is a big one and we’ve actually used it throughout this blog several times. It describes a state of being and is normally used with a describing noun. Some examples of this include:
And to leave you with a fun quote by Lewis Carrol “Much of a muchness”. Yes, this is a made-up word by this great author, but it is definitely something that the Mad Hatter would say!
All of the examples so far are noun suffixes, but now let’s go through some verb ones. This does not mean that the original word we are using is a verb, but that the word created after the suffix is added is a verb (whether or not the word was a verb before doesn’t matter).
ATE, EN & IFY are widely used in the verb suffixes world. As most verb suffixes do, they will change the word’s meaning to “become”. Here are some examples with their sentence form for context:
In these examples, you can see that these suffixes can be used in all tenses, for people or objects, and in the interrogative format. The examples are quite varied just to show you that verb suffixes tend to pop up in conversation a lot!
This one we’ve kept separate because there are different ways of spelling depending on where you are in the world. It also changes the meaning of the word to “become”.
In American English, verbs end with -ize, versus British English, in which the spelling changes to -ise.
The last type of suffix you’ll see is the adjective suffixes. There are lots of these, but we will go through the most popular ones. The reason there are so many is that adjectives can be added to the end of sentences to describe a thing or situation. When they are added to the end, we must add a suffix to complete the sentence.
Adding a Y to the end of a word will characterize it. You’ll see different combinations of this including LY and TY.
You will see both ABLE and IBLE depending on the word. This means “capable of being”. Some examples include edible, presentable, abominable, and credible.
This suffix is used to describe an attribute, mostly. Putting IC at the end of the word will mean “pertaining to”. Some examples of this include erratic, mythic, eccentric, and lethargic. They are all describing the subject’s state.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our blog on suffixes. Remember this is the rule of thumb and there are lots of irregularities that you’ll see while learning English. You can also have examples of more than one suffix being used, like Gratefulness. Great can go to Grateful and then expand to Gratefulness, all with different meanings. English is a funny language! All you need is time and practice.
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