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Common Suffixes in English

Expand Your Vocabulary by Studying 26 Common Suffixes

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A suffix is a letter or a group of letters attached to the end of a word to form a new word or to alter the grammatical function of the original word. For example, the verb read can be made into the noun reader by adding the suffix -er; read can be made into the adjective readable by adding the suffix -able.

Understanding the meanings of the common suffixes can help us deduce the meanings of new words that we encounter. The table below defines and illustrates 26 common suffixes.

Common Suffixes

Noun Suffixes
Suffix Meaning Example
-acy state or quality privacy
-al act or process of refusal
-ance, -ence state or quality of maintenance, eminence
-dom place or state of being freedom, kingdom
-er, -or one who trainer, protector
-ism doctrine, belief communism
-ist one who chemist
-ity, -ty quality of veracity
-ment condition of argument
-ness state of being heaviness
-ship position held fellowship
-sion, -tion state of being concession, transition
     
Verb Suffixes
-ate become eradicate
-en become enlighten
-ify, -fy make or become terrify
-ize, -ise become civilize
     
Adjective Suffixes
-able, -ible capable of being edible, presentable
-al pertaining to regional
-esque reminiscent of picturesque
-ful notable for fanciful
-ic, -ical pertaining to musical, mythic
-ious, -ous characterized by nutritious, portentous
-ish having the quality of fiendish
-ive having the nature of creative
-less without endless
-y characterized by sleazy
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