Learning Words through Suffixes

What are Suffixes?
A suffix is added to the back of a word to change its meaning. Both prefixes (added to the front) and suffixes (added to the end of the word) are affixes. These are added before either simple roots or complex roots. Here are some examples of suffixes and how they operate:
  • *Tenderness = Tender + Ness (state of or condition of) = State of being tender
  • *Painted = Paint + ed (past-tense verbs)
How can Suffixes be used to learn words?
You can use suffixes to understand words better and learn different words based on the same suffix. How so? Look at the list below (which highlights some common suffixes and words based on them): Common Suffixes and Related Words:
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Suffix 1: able, ible
Meaning: Can be done
Words based on the Suffix:
  • *Identifiable: Capable of being identified
  • *Predictable: Capable of being foretold
Suffix 2: cy
Meaning: State or quality
Words based on the Suffix:
  • *Accuracy: The quality of being near to the true value
  • *Literacy: The ability to read and write
  • *Urgency: The state of being urgent.
Suffix 3: ee
Meaning: Person affected by something
Words based on the Suffix:
  • *Interviewee: A person who is interviewed
  • *Trainee: Someone who is being trained
  • *Addressee: One to whom something is addressed
Suffix 4: hood
Meaning: State, Condition, Period
Words based on the Suffix:
  • *Adulthood: The period of time in your life after your physical growth has stopped and you are fully developed
  • *Motherhood: The kinship relation between an offspring and the mother
Suffix 5: ics
Meaning: Study of
Words based on the Suffix:
  • *Genetics: The branch of biology that studies heredity and variation in organisms
  • *Electronics: The branch of physics that deals with the emission and effects of electrons and with the use of electronic devices
Suffix 6: ism
Meaning: Belief, Behavior
Words based on the Suffix:
  • *Modernism: The quality of being current or of the present
  • *Heroism: The qualities of a hero or heroine; exceptional or heroic courage when facing danger (especially in battle)
Suffix 7: ist
Meaning: Person with specific beliefs or behaviour
Words based on the Suffix:
  • *Anarchist: An advocate of anarchism
  • *Optimist: A person disposed to take a favorable view of things
Suffix 8: (i)ty
Meaning: State of
Words based on the Suffix:
  • *Infinity: Time without endd
  • *Sanity: Normal or sound powers of mind
Suffix 9: ize, -ise
Meaning: Bring about a state or condition
Words based on the Suffix:
  • *Modernize/modernise: Make repairs, renovations, revisions or adjustments to
  • *Colonize/colonise: Settle as a colony; of countries in the developing world
Suffix 10: ness
Meaning: Quality or state of
Words based on the Suffix:
  • *Kindness: The quality of being warmhearted and considerate
  • *Effectiveness: The quality of being able to bring about an effect
Suffix 11: ocracy
Meaning: Type of ruling body
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Words based on the Suffix:
  • *Meritocracy: A form of social system in which power goes to those with superior intellects
  • *Bureaucracy: A government that is administered primarily by bureaus that are staffed with non -elective officials
The above list highlights how common suffixes impact the meanings of words and how an understanding of suffixes can enable you to better understand the meanings of words
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