What is a suffix?
A suffix is a word ending. It is a group of letters you can add to the end of a root word*
e.g. walking, helpful *
A root word stands on its own as a word, but you can make new words from it by adding beginnings (prefixes) and endings (suffixes).
For example, 'comfort' is a root word. By adding the prefix 'dis' and the suffix 'able' you can make new words such as'discomfort' and 'comfortable'.
Adding suffixes to words can change or add to their meaning, but most importantly they show how a word will be used in a sentence and what part of speech (e.g. noun, verb, adjective) the word belongs to.
If you want to use the root word 'talk' in the following sentence:
I was (talk) to Samina.
You need to add the suffix 'ing' so thatthe word 'talk' makes better sense grammatically:
"I was talking to Samina".
There are various suffixes we use. Probably the most common are:
Here are some other suffixes and examples.
|Suffix |Example | |Suffix |Example |
|ed |walk + ed = walked| |ness |happy + ness = happiness |
|ing |say + ing = saying | |al |accident + al = accidental |
|er |tall + er = taller | |ary |imagine + ary = imaginary |
|tion |educate + tion = education| |able |accept + able = acceptable |
|sion |divide + sion = division | |ly |love + ly = lovely |
|cian |music + cian = musician | |ment |excite + ment = excitement |
|fully |hope + fully = hopefully| |ful |help + ful + helpful |
|est |large + est = largest | |y |ease + y = easy |
NB: Adding a suffix to some root words will change the spelling of the new word. There are some spelling rules to help you learn why and when this happens. For more information seefactsheets 2 and 3 on suffix spelling rules.
Suffix spelling rules - double letters
Usually when you add a suffix to a root word the spelling of both stays the same:
e.g. care + ful = careful
But there are several important groups of words where the spelling of the root word changes when you add a suffix.
Sometimes the spelling changes because of the 'Doubling' rules.
As always,there are exceptions to these 4 rules, but they are a good starting guide:
|1] For most short (one syllable) words that end in a single consonant (anything but 'a', 'e', 'i', 'o', 'u') you need to double |
|the last letter when you add a suffix: |
|e.g. run + ing = running|
|sun + y = sunny |
|If the word ends with more than one consonant, you don't double the last letter: |
|e.g. pump + ed = pumped|
|sing + ing = singing |
|2] For most longer (more than one syllable) words that end in 'l' you need to double the 'l' when you add the suffix: |
|e.g. travel + ing = travelling...
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