A suffix is a letter, syllable, or group of syllables placed after the stem of a word to change its meaning, give it a new grammatical function, or morph it into a new word.
Let's look at the verb read. This word can be turned into a noun by adding the suffix -er. Now, read has become reader. Likewise, we can also take the verb read and turn it into an adjective by adding the suffix -able. Read can become the adjective readable.
Suffixes are the tools required to shapeshift words into new meanings and functions. Suffixes can be as small as -s, and -ed, or can be larger additions such as -ization, and -acious.
Take a look at these examples:
Suffixes are placed at the end of word stems and are, of course, the opposite of prefixes, which are placed prior to the stem of the word. Examples of prefixes include anti- (antifreeze), dis- (disagree), re- (return), non- (nonsense).
Note that when you add a suffix, it helps to know the stem, also known as the root, of the originating word.
Let's take a closer look at some common suffixes and their meanings. Within these common suffixes, you'll find that some functions vary; some overlap.
Suffixes create such beauty and wonder within the English language. They provide endless ways to express our thoughts, feelings, findings, and emotions. They morph nouns into adjectives and verbs into nouns. They express deeper qualities, providing layers of color and intrigue required by writers.
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