What Are Suffixes?

What Are Suffixes?

A suffix is a letter or a group of letters added to the end of a word to change its meaning or to ensure it fits grammatically into a sentence.

Here is an example of a suffix that changes a word's meaning:
  • joy + ous = joyous
  • (Here, the suffix changes a noun into an adjective.)
Here is an example of a suffix that ensures a word fits grammatically in the sentence:
  • She runs to work.
  • (Here, the suffix makes the verb fit; i.e., "She run" would be wrong.)
A suffix is a type of affix. The other type of affix is prefix, which are added to the front of a word.

Examples of Suffixes

Here are some examples of suffixes:
  • tenderness
  • (The suffix is -ness.)
  • expensive
  • (The suffix is -ive.)
  • painted
  • (The suffix is -ed.)
Most Common Suffixes. The four most common suffixes account for over 95% of suffixed words. They are -ed, -ing, -ly, and -es.

A List of Common Suffixes

Here is a list of common suffixes with some examples:

-able, -iblecan be done comfortable, passable
-al, -ialhaving the characteristics ofpersonal
-edpast-tense verbs (weak verbs)danced, jumped
-enmade ofgolden, wooden
-ercomparativetidier, nicer
-er, -or one who actor, narrator, worker
-estsuperlativenicest, greatest
-fulfull or full ofcupful, careful
-ichaving characteristics of linguistic, sarcastic
-ingverb form (present participle and gerund) dancing, singing
-ion, -tion, -ation, itionact or processattraction, attrition
-ity, -tystate ofhumility, infinity
-ive, -ative, itiveadjective form of a nounexpensive, plaintive
-lesswithout topless, fearless
-lyadverb ending nicely, quickly
-mentaction or process enjoyment, entrenchment
-nessstate of, condition of eagerness, kindness
-ous, -eous, -ious possessing the qualities oferroneous, joyous
-s, -espluraltables, foxes
-ycharacterized by fatty, happy, jumpy
Interactive Test

See Also

What are affixes? What are prefixes? Hyphens in prefixes Test on plural noun suffixes (Key Stage 1 Test) Test on prefixes (Lower Key Stage 2) Test on suffixes (Key Stage 1) Test on suffixes (Upper Key Stage 2)