Glossary: suffix

Explanation

A suffix is an ‘ending’, used at the end of one word to turn it into another word. Unlike root words, suffixes cannot stand on their own as a complete word.

Contrast prefix.

  • callcalled
  • teachteacher [turns a verb into a noun]
  • terrorterrorise [turns a noun into a verb]
  • greengreenish [leaves word class unchanged]

See also affix.

Building words

Exploring the internal structure of words

Goals

  • Identify prefixes, base words, and suffixes.
  • Build words by combining prefixes, base words, and suffixes.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of word classes by identifying the word class of the newly derived words.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of derivational morphology by using newly derived words in sentences.

Lesson Plan

The Activity page appears in the menu entitled 'This Unit' in the upper right.

Building words: Activity

In this activity, explore how words are built ouit of a prefix, base form and a suffix

What meanings do different prefixes and suffixes have? Can any base form take any prefix or suffix? How can you manipulate language to create new forms? For example, deread is not an English word. What might it mean?

Morphology - an introduction

In this lesson, students explore word morphology. Morphology is an area of language study concerned with how words are formed. While syntax is about the larger structures formed when words are put together, morphology is about the structure within words.

Morphology - an introduction: Activity 1

Activity 1: Finding word parts

From the list below, pick out the words that are complex. Can you break them down into meaningful parts?

  1. bread
  2. sunshine
  3. fossil
  4. sleepwalker
  5. unhappy
  6. umbrella
  7. rebuild
  8. laughing

There are some further questions on the next slide.

Now look at the parts of the words that you have found. Which ones can be used on their own?

Morphology - an introduction: Activity 2

Activity 2: Same word or different words?

Would you say the following are different words or the same word?

  • hesitate, hesitates, hesitated, hesitating

It depends what we mean by ‘word’! In one everyday sense, they are all different words.

Morphology - an introduction: Activity 3

Activity 3: How many words?

Look at the sentence below and answer the following questions:

  1. How many different words, in the sense of dictionary words, are there?
  2. Which items can be grouped together as forms of the same word?
  • I think teasing tigers is unwise, because I teased a tiger once and barely escaped alive.

 

Verb endings

In this activity we will look at suffixes which change adjectives and nouns into verbs. This process is a part of derivational morphology

Compounds: Break apart the words

Break down each of the following words into its meaningful parts. Label each part as either a prefix, a suffix, or a lexical base (a part which can typically be used as a word on its own).

Example: unkindness: un- (prefix) + kind (lexical base) + -ness (suffix)

You can check your work by pressing the buttons to see the answers.

Spelling: Double consonants

If a root word ends in a consonant, adding a suffix will sometimes require that you double the base word’s final consonant. How do you know when to double the consonant?

Consider the following examples, where doubled consonants are underlined.

  • shipment
  • shipped
  • muddy
  • fitful
  • fittest
  • waiting
  • greenest

Now take a look at some larger words, whose base forms have more than one syllable.

Spelling: Rules

At some point, many of us learned some handy spelling rules that we’ve carried with us for years.

Most people probably remember the mnemonic:

  • I before E except after C.

That’s a very useful rule for remembering how to spell believe and receive. But what about seize and seizure? And what about leisure, either, or heifer?

Spelling: Spelling and word structure

Many common spelling errors occur with double consonants or vowel combinations, as in the following words:

Spelling: Suffixes

Suffixes cause many of our common spelling mistakes. One challenge is simply to know which is correct: for example, legible or legable? In fact, −ible and −able serve the same function, and sound the same. As a matter of history, -ible entered English from Latin, while −able entered English from French, but there’s no easy rule for knowing when to use which suffix. Each word with each suffix just requires practice.

Spelling: Suffixes and 'e'

If an original word ends in a final e, as in manage,adding a suffix will sometimes require that you drop the final e in the root word.

  • Drop the final e: managing
  • Keep the final e: management

How do you know when to drop the final e?

First, consider the following examples, which either drop or keep the final e.

Spelling: Suffixes and 'y'

When a word ends in y, adding a suffix will sometimes require that we change the y to an i or to an ie. How do you know when to change the y?

Look through the examples below and the rules that follow.

Word structure

The study of word structure is called morphology. Understanding word structure helps us:

  • improve spelling
  • expand vocabulary

In studying word structure, we start by looking at a few key concepts first:

  • root words
  • prefixes
  • suffixes

Root words are words, or parts of words, that can usually stand alone. The following are all root words:

Word structure: Derivation

Derivation is the process of creating new words. The technical term derivational morphology is the study of the formation of new words. Here are some examples of words which are built up from smaller parts:

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