In English, the suffix -less means “without.” For example, something that is “colorless” is white or transparent; it has no color. Here are 10 English words that end in -less, with example sentences so you can see how they’re used:
1. careless = without care
My sister is very careless with her possessions. For example, she left her laptop on the sofa and later someone sat on it.
2. doubtless = without a doubt
The prices will doubtless go down around Christmastime – there are always holiday discounts.
3. endless = without end (or very long)
I hate going to my aunt’s house, because then I have to listen to her endless stories about her dogs.
Note: We often use “endless” to exaggerate how long something is, as in the example above. It doesn’t necessarily mean there is NO end.
4. fearless = brave, without fear
John loves radical sports like rock climbing and skydiving. He’s absolutely fearless.
5. helpless = unable to help oneself
Little babies are so helpless. Their mothers needs to do everything for them.
Note: The opposite is NOT helpful – “helpful” means you can help others. The opposite of “helpless” is something like “self-sufficient” – someone who can take care of themselves.
6. homeless = someone who has no place to live
In the city center, there are a lot of homeless people who sleep on the streets.
7. hopeless = without hope, without possibility of success
The doctors say it’s hopeless – his cancer can’t be cured.
Note: We usually describe a SITUATION as “hopeless.” For your own feelings, you should say “I have no hope,” not “I’m hopeless.” For the opposite, however, you can say “I’m hopeful” if you DO have hope!
8. restless = agitated, not relaxed
I’ve been sitting at a computer for the past 6 hours and I’m feeling restless – let’s go for a walk!
Note: Restless is NOT the same as tired. Instead, it describes a situation where you don’t want to stay still – you want to move, or change something. You can be restless due to emotions, worries, or simply after a long period of inactivity, as in the example.
9. tasteless = without taste or flavor
The food at that restaurant is cheap, but it’s pretty tasteless.
Opposite = flavorful, tasty
Note: The opposite is NOT “tasteful.” This word instead refers to decorations or words that are good and appropriate for the situation. But the opposite of “tasteful” is also…
9. tasteless = not appropriate
It would have been a good movie for kids, except it had a completely tasteless sex scene in the middle.
Things that are “tasteless” may be vulgar, or visually ugly, or simply not appropriate for the situation.
10. useless = describes something that cannot be used
This brochure is useless – all the information is out-of-date. We’ll have to call to get the current information.
Opposite = useful
Learn more: 10 English words ending with -FUL