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40 Suffixes in English

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?

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.

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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.

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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 AdjectivesMeaningExamples
-ablecapable adaptable — capable of adapting

noticeable — capable of being noticed
-aryrelating to solitary — relating to solitude

disciplinary — relating to discipline
-ermore bigger — more big

taller — more tall
-estmost smallest — the most small

cutest — the most cute
-fulfull of; having careful — having care

wonderful — having the ability to inspire wonder
-iblecapable credible — capable of receiving credit

terrible — capable of causing terror
-icrelating to poetic — relating to poetry

photographic — relating to photography
-ishcharacteristic; quality childish — having the characteristics of a child

softish — having some characteristics of being soft
-lesswithout meaningless — without meaning

careless — without care

hopeless — without hope
-likecharacteristics or similarities to lifelike — sharing similarities with something alive

childlike — having some characteristics of a child
-oushaving the qualities of cautious — having qualities of caution

generous — having qualities of generosity
-ymade up or characterized by fruity — made up of fruit or a fruit flavor

sticky — characterized by the way it sticks

Suffixes for Nouns

Suffixes for NounsMeaningExamples
-ageaction; the process of passage — the action of passing through

marriage — the process of being married
-alact; the process of refusal — the act of refusing

denial — the process of denying
-anta person who servant — a person who serves

assistant — a person who assists
-cracypower or rule democracy — rule by the entire or most of the population

aristocracy — the highest class, those in power
-domplace; state of being kingdom — the place where the king rules

boredom — in a state of being bored

freedom — a state of being free
-erperson who carpenter — a person who does carpentry

teacher — a person who teaches
-essfemale lioness — a female lion

actress — a female actor
-ettesmaller kitchenette — a small or partial kitchen

cigarette — similar to a cigar, but smaller
-hoodstate of motherhood — the state of being a mother

childhood —the state of being a child
-ionthe action of celebration — the action of celebrating

completion — the action of completing or having completed
-ismbelief communism — belief in a communal society

theism — belief in a god or gods
-ityhaving the quality of activity — having the quality of being active

simplicity — having the quality of being simple
-logspeech dialog — speech between two people
-mentthe action or result of enchantment — the result of enchanting

argument — the action of arguing

movement — the action of moving
-nessstate of being sickness — state of being sick

gentleness — state of being gentle
-orperson who actor — a person who acts

narrator — a person who narrates
-shipposition citizenship — the position as a citizen of a country

friendship — the position of being friends

hardship — a hard or difficult position
-thquality depth — having the quality of being deep

warmth — having the quality of being warm
-urecondition failure — the condition of having failed

closure — the condition of being closed

Suffixes for Verbs

Suffixes for VerbsMeaningExamples
-izebecome civilize — to become civil

humanize — to become human

socialize — to become social
-ento become soften — to become soft

loosen — to become loose
-ifymake or become simplify — to make simple

solidify — to make solid

Suffixes for Adverbs

Suffixes for AdverbsMeaningExamples
-warddirection toward — in the direction of

backward — moving in the opposite direction of, or moving away

Suffixes for Adjectives/Nouns

Suffixes for Adjectives/NounsMeaningExamples
-acrelated to cardiac — related to the heart (“cardio” is short for cardiovascular, which means “related to the heart”) - adjective

maniac — related to mania - noun
-anrelating or belonging to American — 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/VerbsMeaningExamples
-cyclecircle bicycle — a vehicle with two circular wheels - noun

recycle — a circle of reusing resources - verb
-eerengaged or involved in; a person who is engaged or involved in volunteer — 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/AdverbsMeaningExamples
-wisedirection clockwise — 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.

Online Quizzes

One great way to study suffixes is by taking an online quiz. And there are several you can choose from!

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  • 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.

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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.

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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:


If you want to watch it, the FluentU app has probably got it.

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