12 Common Suffixes and What they Do

Learn English with this blog post on Suffixes

Recently, we talked about 12 of the most commonly-used prefixes in the English language. Today, we’re going to talk about something called a ‘suffix’. Let’s do this!

A suffix is a group of letters which can be added to the end of a word. A suffix cannot be used alone, and using one will change the meaning of the word it is attached to – but in a way that is different to how prefixes change the meaning of a word. Take a look at these examples first:

  • I’m trying to focus on my personal development as a student.
    • Here, ‘Develop’ is the root word and –ment is the suffix. The function of ‘-ment’ is to change the root from a verb into a noun.
  • Trust is an important part of a real friendship.
    • In this example, ‘Friend’ is the root and –ship is the suffix. The function of ‘-ship’ is to change the root from a noun referring to a PERSON to a noun referring to a THING (the state of being friends).
  • He’s very good at languages. He learnt how to speak Italian very quickly!
    • Here, the root word is ‘Quick’ and –ly is the suffix. The function of ‘-ly’ is to change the adjective ‘Quick’ into an adverb. An adverb describes how an action is done, adding information to the verb.

 

Suffix Changes root into Example [+ ROOT]
-ity Noun Reality [Real (Adjective)]
-ment Noun Improvement [Improve (verb)]
-ness Noun Happiness [Happy (adjective)]
-ship Noun Internship [Intern (noun, person)]
-ation Noun Motivation [Motivate (Verb)]
-ize Verb Authorize [Author (noun)]
-able/-ible Adjective Reliable, sensible [Rely (verb), Sense (noun)]
-ful Adjective Beautiful [Beauty (noun)]
-ive Adjective Sensitive [Sense (noun)]
-ouS Adjective Dangerous [Danger (noun)]
-ly Adverb Slowly [Slow (adjective)]
-ally Adverb Accidentally [Accident (noun)]

 

Curious about how well you know your suffixes? Check your skills and find out more about them using these free English lessons:

 

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