Suffixes

A suffix is a letter or group of letters added to the end of a word to change the form or meaning of the word. Inflectional suffixes create different forms of the same word, and derivational suffixes usually change a word’s meaning or part of speech.

Knowing the meanings of common derivational suffixes helps students determine the meanings of unfamiliar words. Students typically become familiar with some common suffixes in their vocabulary words before suffixes are taught directly. Word study with suffixes begins with common suffixes which may already be familiar, such as -ful (helpful), then progress to intermediate and advanced suffixes, including Latin and Greek roots.

Word study for derivational suffixes should include the definitions of the suffixes along with many examples of words that include the suffix.

View Common Core State Standards Related to SuffixesClose

Common Core State Standards Related to Suffixes

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.K.4.b
Use the most frequently occurring inflections and affixes (e.g., -ed, -s, re-, un-, pre-, -ful, -less) as a clue to the meaning of an unknown word.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.4.b
Use frequently occurring affixes as a clue to the meaning of a word.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.1.4.c
Identify frequently occurring root words (e.g., look) and their inflectional forms (e.g., looks, looked, looking).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.2.3.d
Decode words with common prefixes and suffixes.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.3.3.a
Identify and know the meaning of the most common prefixes and derivational suffixes.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.3.3.b
Decode words with common Latin suffixes.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.4.b
Determine the meaning of the new word formed when a known affix is added to a known word (e.g., agreeable/disagreeable, comfortable/uncomfortable, care/careless, heat/preheat).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.3.2.e
Use conventional spelling for high-frequency and other studied words and for adding suffixes to base words (e.g., sitting, smiled, cries, happiness).

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.4.3.a
Use combined knowledge of all letter-sound correspondences, syllabication patterns, and morphology (e.g., roots and affixes) to read accurately unfamiliar multisyllabic words in context and out of context.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.4.b
Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., telegraph, photograph, autograph).

View Words at a GlanceClose

Suffix -ly: swiftly, lightly, clearly, secretly, seriously, deliberately, noisily, lazily, hungrily, easily

Suffix -ful: useful, thankful, graceful, peaceful, thoughtful, painful, doubtful, dreadful, spiteful, fearful

Suffix -ness: awareness, forgiveness, darkness, weakness, greatness, happiness, emptiness, loneliness, silliness, fondness

Suffix -less: harmless, flawless, hopeless, worthless, boundless, wireless, lifeless, effortless, priceless, penniless

Suffix -able/-ible: affordable ,suitable, portable, valuable, reliable, irritable, flexible, visible, collectible, sensible

Suffix -ment: payment, assortment, impairment, establishment, argument, judgment, investment, management, adjustment, commitment

Suffix -ion/-tion/-sion: infection, appreciation, instruction, tradition, competition, relaxation, temptation, confusion, collision, invasion

Suffix -ive: attention, selective, protective, talkative, cooperative, effective, impulsive, defensive, expressive, persuasive

Suffix -al/-ial: coastal, national, historical, logical, practical, burial, essential, celestial, artificial, official

Suffix -ance/-ence: attendance, endurance, tolerance, disturbance, assistance, residence, persistence, obedience, excellence, coincidence

Suffix -ant/-ent (noun): immigrant, servant, assistant, contestant, defendant, opponent, resident, student, correspondent, disinfectant

Suffix -ant/-ent (adjective): significant, observant, vacant, resistant, flamboyant, evident, dependent, insistent, absorbent, urgent

Suffix -an/-ian: musician, pediatrician, historian, civilian, comedian, guardian, politician, custodial, electrician, librarian

Suffix -ic: toxic, acidic, aquatic, magnetic, dramatic, academic, enthusiastic, catastrophic, realistic, heroic

Suffix -ous: humorous, numerous, nutritious, prosperous, adventurous, mysterious, rebellious, courageous, envious, studious

Suffix -age: blockage, orphanage, dosage, percentage, shortage, mileage, hostage, wreckage, storage, coverage

Suffix -ize: mobilize, deodorize, legalize, specialize, customize, apologize, energize, immunize, moisturize, computerize

Suffix -ty/-ity: scarcity, humidity, royalty, safety, hospitality, adversity, poverty, priority, necessity, ability

Suffix -er/-or/-ar (noun): teacher, consumer, announcer, dancer, inventor, survivor, visitor, investigator, liar, beggar

Suffix -en (verb): frighten, lengthen, sweeten, darken, dampen, tighten, weaken, thicken, fasten, straighten

Suffix – y: scratchy, curly, misty, wealthy, greedy, sticky, buttery, breezy, noisy, squishy

Suffix -ate (verb): participate, calculate, activate, populate, demonstrate, communicate, decorate, migrate, evaporate, investigate

Suffix -ate (adjective): appropriate, delicate, intricate, inanimate, considerate, fortunate, accurate, adequate, passionate, deliberate

Suffix -fy: simplify, glorify, beautify, verify, purify, magnify, diversify, modify, dignify, ratify

Suffix -ing: sleeping, running, locating, carrying, delaying, raining, falling, satisfying, tasting, dropping

VocabularySpellingCity.com provides word lists, printables, and interactive games and activities that give students the opportunity to practice using suffixes as clues to the meanings of words.

Try Vocabulary TestMe with the Suffix -ment list.