Suffixes in English

Suffixes in English

Suffixes in English play one of the fundamental roles, since they are the basic form of word formation. The choice and knowledge of suffixes will help to correctly determine the meaning of the word used. 

In English there is no clear line between suffixes and endings, so you will need to memorize them all. 

The suffix, as we have already said, is a derivational morpheme and is designed to create new words, or change the meaning of the original one. It can also transform one part of speech into another. 

Bake – baker 

Green – greenish 

And, if the endings can be counted on the fingers of one hand, it will not work with suffixes. Therefore, let's figure out together what it is and why they are needed at all. 


Verb suffixes 

  • -ate

Vaccine – vaccinate 

Motive – motivate 

  • -en

length  lengthen 

hard harden 

  • -ify

Gas – gasify 

Pure – purify 

  • -ise/-ize

summary – summary 

Memory – memorize 


Adjective suffixes 

  • -fulgives quality 

Meaning meaningful 

Delight delightful 

Use useful 

  • -less indicates a lack of quality

Home – homeless 

use – useless 

Meaning – meaningless 

  • -able/-ible – property or action availability

Eat – edible 

Admire – admirable 

  • -ic/-al related to something

Hero – heroic 

History – historic 

Myth – mythic 

  • -ous – characteristic

Danger – dangerous 

Mystery – mysterious 

  • -ish – similarity/weak sign/nationality

Red – reddish 

Girl – girlish 

Fool – foolish 

Sweden – Swedish 

  • - iveability 

Talk – talkative 

Attract – attractive 

  • -y – suffix of simple adjectives

Cloud – cloudy 

Dirt – dirty 

Wind – windy 


Noun suffixes 

  • Or/er – profession suffix

This suffix is added to the verb and forms a noun with the meaning of who or what performs the action described by this verb. 

Act actor 

Clean  cleaner 

Dry drier 

Sing singer 

  • istsuffix of science or views and beliefs 

Science scientist 

Chemistry  chemist 

Real  realist 

  • iansuffix of Latin or Greek origin 

Music musician 

Mathematics mathematician 

  • ant/ent

Assist assistant 

Consult consultant 

Study  student 

  • -essone of the suffixes that give the word a generic affiliation (feminine) 

Wait waitress 

Act actress 

  • -ism, -ion, -ment - suffixes of a phenomenon, action or process

Act  action 

Develop development 

Critic criticism 

  • -tion/-cion

Isolate isolation 

Restrict restriction 

  • -ance/-ence

Enter – entrance 

Different  difference 

Important importance 

  • -dom

Wise wisdom 

Free  freedom 

  • -hood is a proximity suffix referring to age or distance.

Neighbor – Neighborhood 

Child childhood 

Brother brotherhood 

  • -ship similar to the previous suffix, but not exactly

Friend  friendship 

Relation relationship 

Scholar scholarship 

  • -ity – property (words of Latin origin)

Pure purity 

Humid humidity 

  • -ness

Homeless  homelessness 

Kind  kindness 

  • -th is a physical property suffix added to adjectives.

Deep depth 

Strong strength 

long length 


Suffixes of adverbs and numerals 

  • Adjective + -ly

Loud – loudly 

Quiet – quietly 

  • -wards – movement direction

Back backwards 

After  afterwards 

  • -wise in this way, in this direction

Other  otherwise 

Clock  clockwise 

  • -teen cardinal numbers from 13 to 19

Three thirteen 

Five fifteen 

  • -ty tens

Two  twenty 

Four – forty 

  • -th – ordinal numbers

Five fifth 

Seven seventh 


Word-forming and formative suffixes 

The two main forms of suffixes can be distinguished in English: derivational and formative. 

Word-forming suffixes are just those that we examined above. It is they who help us form a profession or talk about the quality of the subject. 

The formative suffixes are: -s for the plural form, or -ed for the past tense form. 



Only practice will help memorizing and further correct use of all this huge number of suffixes. Both spoken and written. Starting with basic word-building skills, you will discover the magical world of existence in a word of two suffixes at the same time, like home + less + ness = homelessness. Let's not be afraid, and only forward - to new horizons in the English language!