How to use suffixes

Using suffixes

A suffix is a group of letters added to the end of a word Suffixes modify the meaning of a word. They are useful in many ways, for example transforming verbs into nouns, making adjectives comparatives, change of tense, suggesting professions, etc.

The word “believable” consists of the root word “believe” combined with the suffix “able” (which means “able to”); the word “believable” means “able to believe”

So, how do we use suffixes?

Some examples 



"ed" – past tense show + ed = showd (used for verbs)

talked, managed, used



"ing" – continuous forms or gerund

show + ing = showing (verbs, nouns)

talking, managing, using

"y" – full of
mess + y = messy
(to make adverbs and adjectives)

funny, fully, glory

Suffixes are often used to show the part of speech of a word. Think of adding "ion" to a verb as "tense" which then makes it "tension," the noun form of the word.

Suffixes also show us the verb tense of words or whether the words are plural or singular.

Some suffixes have more than one meaning. “er” may suggest a person who performs an action, like a teacher.
"er" is also used to make adjectives and adverbs, they then become comparatives - for example ""faster" and "stronger."

When you add a suffix to a word, often the spelling of the original word stays the same, but sometimes they do change.
For example: if the original word is one syllable and ends with a single consonant, we double the last letter.
For example: run = running, tip = tipped.
If the word ends in more than one consonant, for example talk = talked, the last letter doesn’t get doubled.

The spelling of a base word can change when you add a suffix.
Think of words ending in the letter "y” when we want to add the suffix –ness: "crazy" - "craziness," we replace the "y" with an "i "

Or words ending in a silent "e" when the suffix begins with a vowel. For example, "date," "fade" and "imagine," we drop the "e" in the words when we add -ing to make: "dating," "fading" and "imagining."

We also often, but certainly not always drop the silent "e" before the suffix -able such as in "advisable” or “inflatable”, but not in "changeable" and "loveable."

We sometimes double the consonant when the ending is added for example in “forgettable” or “regrettable”.

Note: sometimes problems occur from a mix up between English and other languages.

Spanish speakers have a lot of verbs which end in AR
– confisCAR (Spanish) = confiscATE (English).

This can results in the assumption that all Spanish verbs that end in AR end in ATE in English.
– cocinAR (Spanish) = cook (English) is sometimes heard as cocinATE. (incorrect)
Keep reading, watching and listening to as much English as possible to expand your vocabulary bank.

Note: sometimes problems occur from a mix up between English and other languages.

Spanish speakers have a lot of verbs which end in AR
confisCAR (Spanish) = confiscATE (English).

This can results in the assumption that all Spanish verbs that end in AR end in ATE in English.
cocinAR (Spanish) = cook (English) is sometimes heard as cocinATE. (incorrect)
Keep reading, watching and listening to as much English as possible to expand your vocabulary bank.

Questions, doubts, still unclear?

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