List of Suffixes and Suffix Examples

Suffixes are a letter or group of letters added to the ending of words to change their meaning or function. These useful, shapeshifting tools can be as small as -s, and -ed, or can be larger additions such as -ation, and -ious.

The Function of a Suffix

Like prefixes, there are many suffixes used in the English language to create a rich vocabulary. These suffixes change the meaning or grammatical function of a base word or root word. For example, by adding the suffixes -er and -est to the adjective fond, you create the comparative fonder and the superlative, fondest.

Take the suffix -ist, by adding this to a word you have changed the word to describe a person who performs or practices something. So, art becomes artist, a person skilled in a particular art.

Let's look at the verb read. This verb can be turned into a noun by adding the suffix -er, and so read becomes reader. Likewise, by adding the suffix -able the verb read now becomes the adjective readable.

Examples of Suffixes

Some of the most common suffixes and their meanings are as follows:

Noun Suffixes

  • -eer
    Meaning: engaged in something, associated with something
    Examples: auctioneer, volunteer, engineer, profiteer
  • -er
    Meaning: someone who performs an action
    Examples: helper, teacher, preacher, dancer
  • -ion
    Meaning: the action or process of
    Examples: celebration, opinion, decision, revision
  • -ity
    Meaning: the state or condition of
    Examples: probability, equality, abnormality, civility
  • -ment
    Meaning: the action or result of
    Examples: movement, retirement, abandonment, establishment
  • -ness
    Meaning: a state or quality
    Examples: fondness, awareness, kindness, darkness
  • -or
    Meaning: a person who is something
    Examples: distributor, investigator, translator, conductor
  • -sion
    Meaning: state or being
    Examples: depression, confusion, tension, compulsion
  • -ship
    Meaning: position held
    Examples: worship, ownership, courtship, internship
  • -th
    Meaning: state or quality
    Examples: strength, labyrinth, depth, warmth

Adjective Suffixes

  • -able, -ible
    Meaning: capable of being
    Examples: preventable, adaptable, predictable, credible
  • -al
    Meaning: pertaining to
    Examples: theatrical, natural, criminal, seasonal
  • -ant
    Meaning: inclined to or tending to
    Examples: vigilant, defiant, brilliant, reliant
  • -ary
    Meaning: of or relating to
    Examples: budgetary, planetary, military, honorary
  • -ful
    Meaning: full of or notable of
    Examples: grateful, beautiful, wonderful, fanciful
  • -ic
    Meaning: relating to
    Examples: iconic, organic, heroic, poetic
  • -ious, -ous
    Meaning: having qualities of
    Examples: gracious, cautious, humorous, fabulous
  • -ive
    Meaning: quality or nature of
    Examples: creative, expensive, expressive, pensive
  • -less
    Meaning: without something
    Examples: hopeless, faultless, fearless, restless
  • -y
    Meaning: made up of or characterized by
    Examples: brainy, fruity, tasty, grouchy

Verb Suffixes

  • -ed
    Meaning: past-tense version of a verb
    Examples: laughed, climbed, called, missed
  • -en
    Meaning: become
    Examples: soften, fasten, lengthen, strengthen
  • -er
    Meaning: action or process, making an adjective comparative
    Examples: faster, bigger, fuller, longer
  • -ing
    Meaning: verb form/present participle of an action
    Examples: laughing, swimming, driving, writing
  • -ize, -ise
    Meaning: to cause or to become
    Examples: memorialize, authorize, commercialize, advertise

Adverb Suffixes

  • -ly
    Meaning: in what manner something is being done
    Examples: bravely, simply, honestly, gladly
  • -ward
    Meaning: in a certain direction
    Examples: backward, wayward, awkward, afterward
  • -wise
    Meaning: in relation to
    Examples: clockwise, edgewise, lengthwise, otherwise

Using Suffixes

Suffixes create variety in 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.

Be aware that sometimes adding a suffix to a base word changes the spelling of the new word, as in create/creative. To help you learn why and when this happens read Suffix Spelling Rules.

List of Suffixes and Suffix Examples

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