Feb 02

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Suffixes Made Easy – Now I Know

What are suffixes?

Suffixes are groups of letters glued to the ending of a word to make new words.

For example, you call someone who always helps other people HELPFUL (HELP+FUL). The base word here is HELP and the suffix I added is FUL (= full of). The two components make up the meaning of the new word HELPFUL (= full of help). You may think of them as parts of a puzzle that you can fit together.

Every time you learn a new word, it is a good idea to look up in a dictionary which suffixes it can combine with to make new words.

Prefixes can also be used to change the meaning of a base word. Read more about prefixes here!

This table sums up the key idea of what prefixes and suffixes are. The example here is the word UNHELPFUL.


What can suffixes help you do?


  • Very often suffixes help you make nouns

-er    -or   -ist   -ian

write   —   writer (someone who writes)

act   —   actor (someone who acts)

violin   —   violinist (someone who plays the violin)

library   —   librarian (someone who works in a library)

  • Often suffixes help you make adjectives

-y     – ous     – ful

rain   —   rainy (rainy weather)

poison   —   poisonous (a poisonous snake)

help   —   helpful  (a helpful teacher)


  • Now let’s look at the other most common suffixes and their meaning:


Try an interactive vocabulary quiz on this topic.

Related post

Prefixes Made Easy

Word Formation – Interactive Vocabulary Quiz

More grammar Quizzes



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