Suffixes to Know

Suffixes (word-endings) come at the end of a word. They show whether the word is a verb, noun, adjective, or adverb. Learning these word-endings can help you recognize a noun, adjective, verb, or adverb.

 

Noun Suffixes Adjective Suffixes Verb Suffixes Adverb Suffixes

 

Noun Suffixes

These are common endings for nouns. If you see these endings on a word, then you know it must be a noun.

-dom

 

 

 

wisdom(n)

kingdom(n)

at the end of a word means:

- state or condition

- domain, position, rank

- a group with position, office, or rank

wise+dom means the state of understanding what is good, right and lasting
king+dom means the domain or area belonging to a king
.

-ity

capability(n)
flexibility(n)

at the end of a word means condition or quality of __________.

capable+ity means the condition of being capable.
flexible+ity means the quality of being flexible.

-ment


contentment(n)

at the end of a word means act of __________; state of __________; result of __________.

content+ment means the state of being satisfied (content).

-sion, -tion


celebration(n)

at the end of a word means act of __________; state of __________.

celebrate+tion means the act of celebrating

-ness

toughness(n)

at the end of a word means state of __________.

tough+ness means the state of being tough.

-ance, -ence


assistance(n)

at the end of a word means act of __________; state of __________; quality of __________.

assist+ance means act of giving help.

-er, -or


fighter(n)
actor(n)

at the end of a word means one who __________; that which __________.

fight+er means one who fights
act+or means one who acts.

-ist


violinist(n)

at the end of a word also means one who __________; that which __________.

violin+ist means one who plays the violin.

 

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Adjective Suffixes

These are common word endings for adjectives. If you see these ending at the end of a word, you can be certain it is an adjective.

-ive


extensive(adj)
selective(adj)

at the end of a word means doing or tending toward doing some action

extend+ive means doing something large in range or amount
select+ive means tending to select.

-en

wooden(adj)

at the end of a word means made of __________.

wood+en means made of wood.
Note: When the word is an adjective, the -en means made of __________. We have seen -en at the end of a verb. There it means to make __________.

-ic


heroic(adj)
poetic(adj)

at the end of a word means characteristic of__________; like __________.

hero+ic means characteristic of a hero.
poet+ic means characteristic of (or like) poets or poetry.

-al


financial(adj)
manual(adj)

sometimes makes an adjective; when it makes an adjective it means relating to __________.

finance+al means relating to finance. (Finance means money.)
manu+al means relating to the hand. (Manus means hand in Latin.)

-able


portable(adj)
pleasurable(adj)

at the end of a word means able __________; can __________; or giving __________.

port+able means can be carried; able to be carried.
pleasure+able means giving pleasure.

-y

hairy(adj)
rainy(adj)

at the end of a word means having __________.

hair+y means having hair (a lot of hair).
rain+y means having rain.

-ous


mysterious(adj)

at the end of a word means full of __________; having __________.

mystery+ous means full of mystery.

-ful


hopeful(adj)
beautiful(adj)

at the end of a word means full of __________; having __________.

hope+ful means full of hope.
beauty+ful means full of beauty.
Note: The suffix -ful is always spelled with one l; the word full has two.

-less

powerless(adj)
homeless(adj)

at the end of a word means without __________.

power+less means without power.
home+less means without a home.

 

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Verb Suffixes

These are common endings for verbs. If you see these endings on a word, then the word is most likely a verb.

-en

brighten(v)
soften(v)

at the end of a word means to make __________.

bright+en means to make bright.
soft+en means to make soft.

-ize

publicize(v)

at the end of a word means to make __________.

public+ize means to make public or to make the public aware of.

-ate


activate(v)
differentiate(v)

at then end of a word means to have or be characterized by __________.

active+ate means to make active.
different+ate means to make or show a difference.

-ify or -fy

simplify(v)

at the end of a word means to cause to become or to make.

simple+ify means to make simple or simpler.

 


 

Adverb Suffixes

This is the most common ending for an adverb. If you see this ending on a word, you can be fairly certain that it is an adverb. However, keep in mind that not all adverbs end this way.

-ly


quickly(adv)

at the end of a word almost always makes an adverb; occasionally it will make an adjective.

quick+ly.

 

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From Working on Words
by John F. Canney,
J. Philip Goldberg,
and Diane D. O'Connor

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