40 Suffixes in English and Fun Ways To Learn Them
What if I told you there is a faster way to learn English?
Suffixes are letters added to the end of a word to change its meaning.
By learning suffixes, you can learn the meaning of hundreds of new words.
In this blog post, I will go into how to learn suffixes in English—and potentially fast-track your journey to English language mastery.
- What Are English Suffixes?
- Get Ahead in the Fluency Race with These 40 Suffixes in English
- Fun Ways to Learn Suffixes in English
- And One More Thing...
What Are English Suffixes?
Did you know many English words can be broken down into roots, prefixes and suffixes?
A root word is a word that exists on its own but can be modified by the addition of a prefix or suffix (or both).
A prefix is a letter or group of letters added to the beginning of a root word to change its meaning.
On the other hand, a suffix is a letter or group of letters added to the end of a root word.
In this post, we will talk about the ways suffixes affect the meaning of a word.
Why should you bother learning suffixes?
Suffixes can help you pick up hundreds of new vocabulary words.
For example, the suffix -ful means “full.” Therefore, the word joyful means full of joy, the word hopeful means full of hope and so on.
However, note that not every word ending in a group of letters is using them as a suffix. For example, the words Batman and can use the letters “an” at the end, but “an” is not a suffix for these words.
With some practice, you will learn the difference and become better at spotting which word endings are acting as suffixes.
Get Ahead in the Fluency Race with These 40 Suffixes in English
Let’s get started with some of the most common suffixes in English.
One important thing to note is that sometimes, multiple suffixes have the same meanings. For example, -ible and -able both mean capable . This is because the English language has adopted different words and suffixes from other languages over time.
Also, as you will see, a word with a suffix can be an adjective and noun, a noun and verb or an adjective and adverb.
Suffixes for Adjectives
|Suffixes for Adjectives
— capable of adapting
noticeable — capable of being noticed
— relating to solitude
disciplinary — relating to discipline
— more big
taller — more tall
— the most small
cutest — the most cute
|full of; having
— having care
wonderful — having the ability to inspire wonder
— capable of receiving credit
terrible — capable of causing terror
— relating to poetry
photographic — relating to photography
— having the characteristics of a child
softish — having some characteristics of being soft
— without meaning
careless — without care
hopeless — without hope
|characteristics or similarities to
— sharing similarities with something alive
childlike — having some characteristics of a child
|having the qualities of
— having qualities of caution
generous — having qualities of generosity
|made up or characterized by
— made up of fruit or a fruit flavor
sticky — characterized by the way it sticks
Suffixes for Nouns
|Suffixes for Nouns
|action; the process of
— the action of passing through
marriage — the process of being married
|act; the process of
— the act of refusing
denial — the process of denying
|a person who
— a person who serves
assistant — a person who assists
|power or rule
— rule by the entire or most of the population
aristocracy — the highest class, those in power
|place; state of being
— the place where the king rules
boredom — in a state of being bored
freedom — a state of being free
— a person who does carpentry
teacher — a person who teaches
— a female lion
actress — a female actor
— a small or partial kitchen
cigarette — similar to a cigar, but smaller
— the state of being a mother
childhood —the state of being a child
|the action of
— the action of celebrating
completion — the action of completing or having completed
— belief in a communal society
theism — belief in a god or gods
|having the quality of
— having the quality of being active
simplicity — having the quality of being simple
|dialog — speech between two people
|the action or result of
— the result of enchanting
argument — the action of arguing
movement — the action of moving
|state of being
— state of being sick
gentleness — state of being gentle
— a person who acts
narrator — a person who narrates
— the position as a citizen of a country
friendship — the position of being friends
hardship — a hard or difficult position
— having the quality of being deep
warmth — having the quality of being warm
— the condition of having failed
closure — the condition of being closed
Suffixes for Verbs
|Suffixes for Verbs
— to become civil
humanize — to become human
socialize — to become social
— to become soft
loosen — to become loose
|make or become
— to make simple
solidify — to make solid
Suffixes for Adverbs
|Suffixes for Adverbs
— in the direction of
backward — moving in the opposite direction of, or moving away
Suffixes for Adjectives/Nouns
|Suffixes for Adjectives/Nouns
— related to the heart (“cardio” is short for cardiovascular, which means “related to the heart”) - adjective
maniac — related to mania - noun
|relating or belonging to
— from or belonging to the continent of America or the United States - adjective
mathematician — related to or belonging to the field of mathematics - noun
Suffixes for Nouns/Verbs
|Suffixes for Nouns/Verbs
— a vehicle with two circular wheels - noun
recycle — a circle of reusing resources - verb
|engaged or involved in; a person who is engaged or involved in
— a person engaged in voluntary activities (noun); the act of engaging in voluntary activities (verb)
engineer — a person involved in designing engines and machines (noun); the act of being involved in designing engines and machines (verb)
Suffixes for Adjectives/Adverbs
|Suffixes for Adjectives/Adverbs
— in the direction the clock moves
lengthwise — in the direction of the length, not width
Fun Ways to Learn Suffixes in English
Learning suffixes may seem complicated and difficult at first glance. Not to mention, trying to learn 40 of them at once can be intimidating!
But don’t get discouraged.
We’ve gathered some resources to help you study without feeling overwhelmed. Here are some fun study tips to get you learning suffixes in English with ease.
One great way to study suffixes is by taking an online quiz. And there are several you can choose from!
- Skillswise. Created by the BBC, this resource has quizzes for different levels of learning. You can start with their beginner quizzes and work your way up to the more advanced levels. These quizzes cover suffixes but also help you study prefixes and root words.
- ELTbase. On this online site, you fill in the blank with the correct suffix. This quiz is designed for advanced learners, but beginners can also use it to learn the meanings of different suffixes and see how much they have already learned.
- SoftSchools. Like ELTbase, this has a fill-in-the-blank suffix quiz. This online quiz is straightforward and simple. It is a great way to practice the suffixes you have learned and see how they are used in common English words.
Authentic English Materials
Learning does not need to be limited to standard language textbooks. You can learn English suffixes while you watch movies or TV shows, read books or comics or even watch videos online.
Subtitles are very helpful for finding suffixes in movies, TV series and other types of videos. For example, the subtitles on the video-based language learning program FluentU are interactive. That means you can click on them to learn the definitions of words and see what other clips include them.
FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.
When you’re studying using the methods above, try writing a list of words with suffixes. Then, see how many words have the same suffix to help you better understand their meaning.
Lists help you focus on important suffixes. Once you learn these, you will start noticing them in your daily English conversations.
Try memorizing the above list of 40 suffixes and their meanings.
Plus, you can add to this list any time you hear a new suffix. Write it down, along with its meaning and some examples of words that include it.
You can also add example words and phrases to the list. By taking note of common words with suffixes, you will become even more familiar with their definitions and start noticing them in other words, too.
Do you feel confident in your English suffixes yet? Keep practicing and start listening for them in conversations, movies and books.
This list should help you master a few of the most common suffixes in English. Keep adding to it and in no time, you will be amazed by how many new words you can understand!
And One More Thing...
If you like learning English through movies and online media, you should also check out FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app and website makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word "searching," you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It gives you extra practice with difficult words—and reminds you when it’s time to review what you’ve learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)