A suffix is a set of letters that are attached to a root word. There are many different groups of letters that make suffixes, and they generally follow certain patterns.
For example, take a look at the sentence above. There, “ful” gets added on to “delight.” Delight is a noun, but when you add the suffix -ful, you get an adjective: delightful.
Other nouns that follow this pattern are:
The same goes for “frequently.” The base word frequent is an adjective, but when you add the suffix -ly, you get an adverb. Lots of adverbs have the -ly ending, such as;
Sometimes a suffix changes the root word's grammatical function (or part of speech), and sometimes it changes the meaning entirely.
Suffixes can tell you a lot about a root word: they can help you understand what the root word means and how it’s acting in the sentence.
For example, the suffix can tell you if the root word is a noun or an adjective. Or, the suffix can tell you something about the root’s meaning. For instance, one suffix will tell you if something is an action, and another will tell you if the root is a belief or school of thought.
So, take a look at this suffixes list. You’ll get an idea of how suffixes work and the variety of suffixes in English.
recital, proposal, refusal, rehearsal
appearance, accordance, maintenance, exuberance, hesitance
existence, eminence, preference
employee, payee, attendee, addressee, referee, refugee, trainee
volunteer, mountaineer, engineer, profiteer
employer, payer, trainer, teacher, helper, narrator, director, actor, protector
bakery, brewery, cutlery, machinery, trickery
Judaism, Hinduism, Buddhism, nationalism, patriotism, environmentalism, stoicism, professionalism, ableism, racism, cynicism, Romanticism
biologist, dentist, cyclist, artist, pianist, Taoist, Buddhist, Marxist, nationalist
activity, vivacity, equality, curiosity, tranquility, serenity, amity, agility, unity, liberty
enjoyment, engagement, entertainment, development, agreement
fullness, emptiness, greatness, happiness, harshness, coolness
decision, expression, fusion, erosion, temptation, revolution, evolution, celebration, recreation, creation, complexion, flexion, axion
courtship, partnership, friendship, internship, externship, membership
honesty, loyalty, cruelty, agility, acidity
complicate, regulate, cooperate, decorate, animate, concentrate, eradicate
walked, hurried, visited, roasted, cooked, dressed
strengthen, weaken, enlighten, whiten, blacken, shorten, lengthen, lighten, darken
laughing, crying, jumping, hoping, eating, drinking
crystallize, memorize, recognize, prioritize
codify, classify, satisfy, verify, amplify, rectify
capable, likable, fixable, agreeable, drinkable, mutable, portable, edible, flexible, credible, sensible
seasonal, natural, regional, national, normal, personal, governmental
pliant, reliant, truant, brilliant
confectionary, momentary, customary, uncomplimentary
Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Javanese
picturesque, statuesque, novelesque
liveliest, shadiest, hottest, coolest, warmest, loudest, happiest
beautiful, doubtful, peaceful, helpful, delightful
Pakistani, Yemeni, Mizrachi, Iraqi
Ecuadorian, Arabian, Sumerian, Ethiopian, Egyptian, Russian
archaic, allergic, poetic, acerbic, acidic, basic
fantastical, lackadaisical, canonical, cynical, logical
foolish, pinkish, bluish, fiendish, Swedish, lightish
creative, explosive, evocative, effusive, abusive
worthless, helpless, hopeless, homeless, mirthless, useless
lifelike, childlike, godlike, warlike
disastrous, hideous, monstrous, famous, ferocious, dubious
sleepy, happy, sappy, homey, springy, dirty, fruity, lazy
carefully, slowly, quickly, wisely, happily
upward, downward, leftward, rightward, earthward, skyward
clockwise, counterclockwise, slantwise, otherwise, likewise, lengthwise
Test your suffix knowledge before you go ☑️
Drag the suffix to the corresponding word to form a new word.
Lots of common English words have suffixes. So, once you start paying attention, you’ll notice patterns in everyday speech.
This will also help you understand words you’re not familiar with because suffixes can tell you what the word is doing in the sentence. They’re very useful words!
There are a lot more grammar points to learn, including a related topic – prefixes! So be sure to check out the other pages on this site for other great learning tools.