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Words often are used as roots and can be expanded in meaning by simply adding small groups of letters to the beginning and end of the word. Suffixes are just this - added to the end to enhance or change the meaning of a root word.

What Is a Suffix?

A suffix is a single letter or group of letters added to the end of a root word to create a new word with a different meaning or part of speech. They are the counterpart of a prefix, which is added to the beginning of a word.

How Are They Used?

There are some spelling rules when forming suffixes that you should be aware of when writing. Here are some of the most common:
Ends In + suffix Meanings Examples
-y + -fuly changes to an ibeauty ➤ beautiful
bounty ➤ bountiful
-y + -nessy changes to an iready ➤ readiness
happy ➤ happiness
-le + -ity-le changes to ilreliable ➤ reliability
able ➤ ability
-t + -ion-t changes to -ssremit ➤ remission
permit ➤ permission

What Are Some Examples?

Suffix Type Meaning Examples
-able/-ibleadjectiveable to becapable, tangible
-aladjectiverelating totheatrical, educational
-enceadjectivestate or condition, actionoccurrence, absence
-eseadjectiveplace name derivativeChinese, Japanese
-fuladjectivefull ofmeaningful, sorrowful
-icadjectivefull of caustic, tragic
-ishadjectiverelating to, characteristicfoolish, childish
-iveadjectiveInclined to; quality of; that whichpensive, festive
-ianadjectiverelating toutopian, reptilian
-lessadjectivewithout, not affected bythoughtless, hopeless
-lyadjectiveIn what mannerbravely, softly
-ousadjectiveCharacterized byodious, nauseous
-yadjectivemade up of, characterizedcheery, creepy
-ilyadverbIn what mannerhappily, charmingly
-ward(s)adverbspecifies directionforward, westward
-wiseadverbIn what manner or directionclockwise, otherwise
-agenounaction or processpilgrimage, voyage
-alnounrelating tomarital, annual
-ance/-encenounstate or quality ofavoidance, permanence
-domnouncondition of, state, realmkingdom, boredom
-eenounreceiver, performerpayee, employee
-er/-ornoun, more, action or processa person who does an actionactor, payer
-hoodnounstate, condition, qualitychildhood, motherhood
-ismnounstate or qualityorganism, racism
-istnouna person, one who does an actionenvironmentalist, naturalist
-ity/-tynounstate, condition, or qualityvanity, royalty
-mentnounaction, resultentertainment, arraignment
-nessnounstate or qualityhappiness, joyfulness
-scopenounvisual exammicroscope, kaleidoscope
-shipnounstate or condition, skill ofauthorship, ownership
-sion/-tion/-xionnounstate or qualityconversion, conversation, transfixion
-ateVerbmakes the word a verbcomplicate, medicate
-enVerbmakes word a verblengthen, weaken
-ifyVerbmakes the word a verbrectify, identify
-ise/izeVerbcause, treat, becomerealize, sympathize

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