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Suffixes: Definition, Rules and Examples in Detail

Class 4
Jun 8, 2023

What is a Suffix?

  • It is a group of letters placed at the end of a root word. It either adds or changes its meaning. 
  • It can show if the word is a noun, a verb, an adjective, or an adverb.
  • We use ‘-er’ and ‘- est’ to form the comparative and superlative forms of adjectives and some adverbs.
  • Big, bigger, biggest

Verb, Noun, Adjective, and Adverb Suffixes

  • A suffix often converts a word into a new part of speech.
  • Common verb suffixes are -ed and -ing.
  • Common noun suffixes are -ness and -ment.
  • Common adjective suffixes are -al and -able.
  • Common adverb suffixes are -ly and -entirely.


  • Run (a verb) +er —> Runner (a noun)
  • Child (a noun) + ish —> Childish (an adjective)
  • Baby (a noun) + -ish —> Babyish (an adjective)
  • Adore (verb) + able —> Adorable (an adjective)

How is a Suffix Different From a Prefix?

  • For prefixes, we add them to the beginning of the base words.
  • Example: unfit, impossible
  • But in suffixes, it is not that simple. Let us look at some examples.
  • Hop + -ing = hopping (the p is doubled)
  • Race + -ed = raced (‘he is removed)
  • Smile – ing = smiling (‘e’ is removed)
  • Leaf + -es = leaves (‘f’ is replaced by ‘v’)

Two Types of Suffixes


Rules for Suffixes

The Rule for Consonant Suffix

  • To the base word, add a consonant suffix directly
  • Mouth + full —> Mouthful
  • Hand + full —> Handful
  • When it comes to the suffix ‘-er,’ the spelling changes depending on the root word.
  • If the word is small with a short vowel ending in one consonant (hot, fit, sad), then the last word is doubled before -er is added:
  • hotter, fitter, sadder

Rules for Vowel Suffixes

  • Some guidelines on how to add vowel suffixes.
  • Add the vowel suffix, If the base word ends in two consonants.
  • Jump+ ing —> Jumping
  • Pump+ ing —> Pumping

The “1-1-1 Rule.” 

  • If there is 1 syllable, 1 short vowel, and 1 final consonant in the base word, double the final consonant before adding the vowel suffix.


  • Win + ‘-ing’ —> Winning
  • Run + ‘-ing’ —> Running
  • Spin + ‘-ing’ —> Spinning
  • Don’t have two ‘E’ in a row. Then drop the E in the base word before adding the vowel suffix.
  • Smile + -ed —> Smiled.

Rules for Vowel and Consonant Suffixes

  • If the base word ends in a single ‘y’, change the ‘y’ to an ‘i’ before adding the suffix.

(This rule applies to both vowel and consonant suffixes.)

  • Silly + ness —> Silliness


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