10 common suffixes in English + 50 example words

Suffixes are added to the ends of words to change their grammatical form:

  • beauty (noun) – beautiful (adjective)
  • quick (adjective) – quickly (adverb)
  • maintain (verb) – maintenance (noun)

Today we’re going to look at 10 suffixes with 5 example words each!

-ABLE / -IBLE Suffix

Turns a word into an adjective meaning something can be done:

  • reliable – She’s a very reliable employee – you can count on her to get the job done right.
  • flexible – Gymnasts are very flexible.
  • portable – A guitar is a much more portable instrument than a piano.
  • audible – His voice was so quiet, it was barely audible.
  • edible – Careful – I’m not sure if those berries are edible or if they’re poisonous.
10 common suffixes in English + 50 example words Espresso English

Gymnasts are very flexible

-AL Suffix

Turns words into adjectives meaning “related to that area.”

  • emotional – The reunion of the brothers after 25 years apart was quite emotional.
  • financial – They got themselves into financial trouble after spending more than they earned for months.
  • cultural – The international festival will celebrate cultural traditions from around the world.
  • environmental – We have to consider the environmental impact of building a power plant on the river.
  • global – The global economy suffered with the COVID-19 shutdowns.

10 common suffixes in English + 50 example words Espresso English

-LY Suffix

Turns adjectives into adverbs, showing us the way something was done.

  • carefully – The doctor carefully removed the bandage from the wound.
  • suddenly – He suddenly quit his job without warning.
  • quickly – I quickly jumped back when I saw the snake in the garden.
  • incredibly – He’s incredibly intelligent; he was doing college-level classes when he was just 12 years old.
  • anonymously – A tip about the crime was submitted anonymously to the police.
10 common suffixes in English + 50 example words Espresso English

anonymously = hiding one’s identity

-ER / -OR Suffix

Turn verbs into nouns, meaning a person/thing that does the action.

  • singer – A famous singer will perform at the arena this weekend.
  • actor – The actor has starred in a number of action movies.
  • baker – I ordered this birthday cake from a local baker.
  • detector – He used a metal detector to search for the missing wedding ring on the beach.
  • wrapper – Please throw your candy wrappers in the garbage.

10 common suffixes in English + 50 example words Espresso English

-IST Suffix

Other professions have the suffix -ist:

  • biologist – The marine biologist is studying the migration of whales.
  • pianist – There was a talented pianist at the wedding.
  • journalist – The journalist carefully investigated the political scandal.
  • artist – That museum houses the work of many famous artists.
  • dentist – The dentist extracted the broken tooth.

10 common suffixes in English + 50 example words Espresso English

-ISH Suffix

Turns words into adjectives, meaning something has that quality.

  • foolish – He made the foolish decision to cheat on his wife of 30 years.
  • selfish – The selfish boy refused to share.
  • reddish – What’s that reddish mark on your arm – is it a rash?
  • childish – My sister whines about everything, and I’m so sick of her childish behavior.
  • hellish – The country’s population has been living in hellish conditions ever since war broke out in the area.

10 common suffixes in English + 50 example words Espresso English

-IZE Suffix

Turns words into verbs:

  • apologize – I want to apologize for my rude comments the other day.
  • stabilize – After the surgery, she used a brace to help stabilize her knee.
  • prioritize – This year I’m going to prioritize my health by eating better and joining a gym.
  • customize – You can customize this T-shirt by uploading your own design to be printed on it.
  • emphasize – The teacher emphasized that anyone who arrived late for the exam would not be allowed to take it.

10 common suffixes in English + 50 example words Espresso English

-MENT Suffix

Forms nouns:

  • treatment – Antibiotics are the recommended treatment for an ear infection.
  • assessment – The consultant made some suggestions based on her assessment of our company’s work environment.
  • adjustment – We need to make a small adjustment to the schedule – the first session will start at 8:45, not 8:30.
  • endorsement – A popular celebrity has provided his endorsement of our product.
  • improvement – When I stopped smoking, I saw a noticeable improvement in my health.

10 common suffixes in English + 50 example words Espresso English

-OUS Suffix

Turns nouns into adjectives:

  • ambitious – He’s an ambitious entrepreneur who hopes to build a huge company.
  • dangerous – Riding a motorcycle without a helmet is very dangerous.
  • mysterious – I’ve heard some mysterious sounds coming from that supposedly abandoned house.
  • cautious – Be cautious when it comes to social media posts asking for donations – some of them could be fake.
  • torturous – That topic is so boring; having to sit through a 3-hour lecture will be torturous.

10 common suffixes in English + 50 example words Espresso English

-TION / -SION Suffix

Form nouns:

  • promotion – After her promotion, she was responsible for a team of six employees.
  • competition – My son won first place in the karate competition.
  • confession – The police pressured the man to make a full confession of the crime.
  • decision – I’ve been accepted into three top universities and I’m not sure where to go – it’s a tough decision.
  • comprehension – Listening to English every day can rapidly improve your comprehension.

10 common suffixes in English + 50 example words Espresso English

Now you know 10 common suffixes in English! If you’d like to continue improving your English grammar and vocabulary, check out my courses:

10 common suffixes in English + 50 example words Espresso English