Commonly Used Noun Suffixes

Commonly used noun suffixes

Many words in English are formed from the same root or base word. By adding different suffixes, a range of new words can be formed.

A suffix is a letter or a group of letters that are added to the end of a word to make a new word. Generally, suffixes have a particular meaning. When a suffix is added to a base word and that base word becomes a noun, it is called a noun suffix.

Here are some rules:

  • Adding a suffix usually changes the class of the word (i.e. verb to noun).

For example:

Root/Base word: Entertain (verb)

Suffix: -ment

New word: Entertainment (noun)

  • Adding a suffix can mean the class of the word remains the same but the meaning of the new word changes.

For example:

Root/Base word: quest (noun)

Suffix: -ion

New word: question (noun)

  • Adding a suffix can cause a spelling change.

For example:

Root/Base word: supervise

Suffix: -or

New word: supervisor

Here are some commonly used noun suffixes and what they mean:

Suffixes forming nouns Meaning Examples
-ant/-ent someone who does something or something that has a particular function student, president, resident, assistant, defendant, accountant, deodorant
-ee someone who does something addressee, interviewee, referee, trainee, employee, refugee, trustee, lessee, retiree
-er, -or someone who does something, something that does a particular job writer, teacher, worker, dancer, buyer, actor, supervisor
-ism belief, behaviour, theory or act of journalism, criticism, vegetarianism, humanism
-ist person connected with, person with a belief in journalist, feminist, violinist, pianist
-ment forming abstract nouns government, enjoyment, management, improvement, development
-ness quality or state happiness, kindness, forgiveness, goodness
-sion, -tion quality or state discussion, excursion, population, information, communication, question
-ship quality or state friendship, citizenship, leadership, membership
-ity quality or state ability, security, similarity, curiousity

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