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What is a suffix? — an introduction


Prefixes and suffixes are morphemes (morphemes are the smallest grammatical units that still have meaning). In this section, we will focus on the suffix — a morpheme that we add to the end of words to change their meaning.

One root word, for example, “improve” which is a verb, can become many types of words when you add different suffixes.

That’s why it’s so vital you learn suffixes so that you can apply them to each and every single word you know to increase your vocabulary by six-fold!

What is a suffix? — an introduction

Using the word previously mentioned, “improve”, let’s take a quick look at how many new words can be created just by adding a suffix.

By doing this, you’ll see the benefits of knowing how to use each suffix.

Example word: to improve

SuffixWord CategoryMeaningExamples
Verb:  ImproveVerb: to become better or more desirable.I want to improve my manners. We’re improving our skills.
ableAdjective: ImprovableAdjective: modifies nouns. Here, the –able form is used to mean that “something can be improved”, instead of “improving”, which is used to mean “something or someone is indeed improving”.The situation is definitely improbable. David’s work was certainly improvable.
edAdjective / past simple / past participle: ImprovedAdjective: modifies nouns. The adjective with the –ed suffix also functions as the past simple and past participles. Adjectives with the –ed suffix describe that the entity is affected (don’t use –ing here).You’re an improved man. I improved my performance. We have improved our stance on this issue.
ingGerund / adjective: ImprovingAdjective: modifies nouns. The adjectival form of the gerund describes situations or states but not the entity. Remember, gerunds also function as adjectives.I would like to think that you’re improving (verb in gerund form). He has improving features.  
lyAdverb: ImprovablyAdverb: modifies adjectives, verbs, and other adverbs.These results are improvably better. I am improvably satisfied.
ilityNoun: ImprovabilityNoun: the state of being improved.Improvability is key in our field. Lack of improvability is an issue in some sports.
-mentNoun: ImprovementNoun: the process of improving.Your improvement has really shown. We have seen a steady improvement in your progress.    
er (-r for nouns ending in -e)Noun: ImproverNoun: the person who improves.You’re an improver, and that’s what I like about you. We love improvers.

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