suffixes in English

35+ suffixes in English that you need to understand and learn

Suffixes are like a shortcut to learning English. They bring a huge relief to the ones learning English. Suffixes are letters added to the end of a word to change its meaning. By learning Suffixes in English you can learn hundreds of words. Sounds great, right?

By learning suffixes in English you will be able to learn the meanings of hundreds of new words. That is why this guide is highly beneficial for English learners. Many English words have three parts namely: roots, prefixes, and suffixes.

A root word is one that exists on its own but can be altered by the addition of a prefix or suffix (or sometimes both). A prefix is a letter or group of letters added to the beginning of a root word to modify its meaning. A suffix, on the other hand, is a letter or group of letters added to the end of a root word.

Now, it is important for you to understand why it is crucial to learn about suffixes in English.

The major reason to learn suffixes

The major reason to learn suffixes is that these letter groups can lead you to hundreds of new vocabulary words. The suffix -ful, for example, means “full,” so the word cheerful means “full of cheer,” the word hopeful means “full of hope,” and so on.

Note: It is crucial to remember that not every word that ends in a group of letters uses them as a suffix. The words Batman and can, for example, use the letter “an” at the end, but “an” is not a suffix for these words. With some practice, you will be able to tell the difference and become more adept at identifying which word endings are suffixes.

You can also learn about roots, prefixes, and suffixes with italki. This platform has now made it super easy to learn English online with 7200+ online English tutors offering the best and upgraded instructional strategies. These tutors will help you build an understanding of prefixes, suffixes, English vocabulary, parts of speech, English adjective order and English spelling rules, etc.  Book your lessons and start learning.

While exploring English literature, you will come across several examples of suffixes and how addition can change the word’s meaning.

List of major suffixes in English

Let’s look at some of the most common English suffixes. The best part is that studying this list will help you learn hundreds of new vocabulary words quickly.

Something important to keep in mind about suffixes is that multiple suffixes can have the same meaning. For example, the suffixes -ible and -able both mean “capable.” This is due to the English language’s adoption of various words and suffixes from other languages over time.

There is no need to get confused. You will learn about these suffixes with focus and practice.

-able (capable)

Adaptable — capable of adjusting

Noticeable — capable of being observed

-ac (related to)

Cardiac — related to the heart

Maniac — related to mania

-ize (become)

Civilize — to become civil

Humanize — to become human

Socialize — to become social

-age (action; the process of)

Passage — the action of passing over

Marriage — the process of being married

-al (act; the process of)

Dismissal — the act of discharging

Denial — the process of denying

-an (relating or belonging to)

Indian — from or belonging to India

Mathematician — related to or belonging to the field of mathematics

-ant (a person who)

Servant — a person who serves

Assistant — a person who assists

-ary (relating to)

Solitary — relating to solitude

Disciplinary — relating to discipline

-cracy (power or rule)

Democracy — rule by the entire population

Aristocracy — related to those who are in power

-cycle (circle)

Bicycle — a vehicle with two circular wheels

Recycle — a circle of reprocessing resources

-dom (state of being)

Kingdom — the place where the king rules

Freedom — a state of being free

-eer (engaged or involved in)

Volunteer — engaged in voluntary deeds

Engineer — a person involved in designing engines and machines

-en (to become)

Soften — to become soft

Tighten — to squeeze

Loosen — to become loose

-er (person who)

Driver — a person who drives a vehicle

Server — a person who serves

Teacher — a person who teaches

Banker — a person who works in the bank

-er (more)

Bigger — more big

Brighter — more bright

Taller — more tall

-ess (female)

Lioness — a female lion

Actress — a female actor

-est (most)

Smallest — the most small

Cutest — the most cute

Sweetest — the most sweet

Loveliest — the most lovely

-ette (smaller)

Kitchenette — a small or partial kitchen

Cigarette — similar to a cigar, but smaller

-ful (full of; having)

Joyful — full of joy

Cheerful — full of cheer

Careful — having care

Wonderful — having the ability to inspire wonder

-hood (state of)

Motherhood — the state of being a mother

Childhood —the state of being a child

-ible (capable)

Credible — capable of receiving credit

Terrible — capable of causing terror

-ic (relating to)

Poetic — relating to poetry

Photographic — relating to photography

-ify (make or become)

Simplify — to make simple

Exemplify — to give example

-ion (the action of)

Celebration — the action of partying

Completion — the action of finishing or having completed

-ish (characteristic)

Childish — having the characteristics of a child

-ism (belief)

Communism — belief in a communal society

Theism — belief in a god or gods

-ity (having the quality of)

Activity — having the quality of being active

Productivity — having the quality of being productive

Simplicity — having the quality of being simple

-less (without)

Meaningless — without meaning

Merciless — without mercy

Careless — without care

Hopeless — without hope

-like (characteristics or similarities to)

Lifelike — sharing similarities to something alive

Childlike — having some characteristics of a child

-log (speech)

Dialog — communication between two people

-ment (the action or result of)

Enchantment — the result of enchanting

Argument — the action of arguing

Movement — the action of moving

-ness (state of being)

Sickness — state of being not well

Gentleness — state of being gentle

Softness — state of being soft

-or (person who)

Actor — a person who acts

Narrator — a person who narrates

Communicator — a person who communicates

-ous (having the qualities of)

Cautious — having qualities of caution

Generous — having qualities of generosity

Gorgeous — having beauty

-ship (position)

Citizenship — the position as a citizen of a county

Friendship — the position of being friends

Hardship — a hard or difficult position

-th (quality)

Depth — having the quality of being deep

Warmth — having the quality of being warm

-ure (condition)

Failure — the condition of having failed

Closure — the condition of being closed

-ward (direction)

Toward — in the direction of

Forward — moving in the same direction of, or moving towards

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

wise (direction)

Clockwise — in the direction the clock moves

Anticlockwise — opposite to clock’s direction

Lengthwise — in the direction of the length

-y (made up or characterized by)

Fruity — made up of fruit or a fruit flavor

Juicy — full of juice

Milky — having milk flavor

Sticky — characterized by the way it sticks

These were some major suffixes in English. These words are fun to learn. They also give learners the confidence to improve their vocabulary in a shorter time. There are several ways to learn these suffixes.

Common ways to learn suffixes in English

Learn through media: Learning does not have to take time away from your enjoyment. You can learn suffixes by watching movies or TV shows, reading books, or watching videos online. Subtitles are extremely useful for locating suffixes in movies, TV shows, and other types of videos.

Make a list: Making a list is another good way to start learning suffixes. Lists facilitate you in concentrating on key suffixes. Once you have mastered these, you will notice them in your everyday English conversation.

Take an online quiz: there are several quizzes available online related to suffixes. You can take those quizzes to test yourself. The quizzes’ results will help you focus on your weaker areas.

Learning English can help you build everlasting relationships with the people you admire. There are several words and phrases that you can learn to show your love and affection to your loved ones. The terms of endearment paired with some of these suffixes can make your day by successfully convincing your potential love.


If you are in process of learning suffixes in English, we recommend you create flashcards for yourself stating all these suffixes. Go through them daily. Practice them by using them frequently in your daily conversations. Using them in your conversations will give you the confidence to speak English in public.

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