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Word Forms

Prefixes and suffixes that are used in English give clues as to the meaning and, or, the function of words. Typically suffixes indicate the function of a word in a sentence. For instance there are some suffixes that are used only for nouns and others that are used for verbs, adjectives and adverbs. The particular suffix used in forming a word also helps to give meaning to a word, for instance competition and competitor are both nouns that are formed from the verb compete. The -or suffix, however, indicates that there is a person performing the action, whereas the -tion suffix indicates a condition or state of being. Do note, that some suffixes are used with more than one type of word, so on their own they cannot be used to infer the function of the word in the sentence. In those situations, other context clues are needed to provide the function of that word in a particular sentence. For example, an -ing suffix occurs with nouns, verbs and adjectives; in the sentence Teaching is interacting with interesting people, teaching is a noun (a gerund), interacting is part of a verb phrase in the present progressive tense, and interesting is an adjective that qualifies people.

The tables below provide the more common noun, verb and adjective suffixes and give the usage and examples. There is only one common suffix for adverbs, and that is -ly. It is often added to adjectival suffixes as in creative and creatively.

Noun Endings
Ending -al -ance/-ancy/-ence/ency -ation -ice -er/-or -graph -ian -ing -ism -ist -ity -ization -ment -ness -ogy -oid -ory -ship -sion/-tion Usage the act of doing, or the state of relating to quality, state or condition action or process of; result of condition, quality or act person or thing that performs the action a writing or record person or thing having the quality of (gerund ending) action or practice, theory or doctrine one who, or that which does or has to do with state, condition or quality nouns formed from verbs; condition, act, process the product or result of; the means of relating to quality, state or condition the study of like, resembling a place for the action of the verb stem the state, condition or quality of; art or skill of action or process of; condition or state of being; result of Example betrayal, refusal performance, infancy, prominence, urgency creation, reformation cowardice, notice teacher, worker, competitor, legislator telegraph, polygraph politician, amphibian teaching, working nationalism, Hinduism nationalist, typist inferiority, confidentiality harmonization, urbanization achievement, government happiness, sadness biology, geology humanoid, android dormitory, repository friendship, marksmanship rejection, completion, connection

Verb Endings
Ending -ate -ed -en -er -fy -ing -ise/-ize -s/-es Usage verbs from some Latin forms forms the simple past and past participle of regular verbs verbs formed from adjectives verbs with a habitual or repeated action cause to be or become present participle and part of progressive tenses to cause to become, resemble; make into; to act in the manner of ending of third person singular, present tense Example fascinate, participate walked, has walked soften, weaken stutter, canter beautify, liquefy walking, is walking authorize, sympathize walks, runs

Adjective endings
Ending -able/-ible/-ble -al -ant -ed -ent -er -est -ful -ic -ing -istic -ite -ive -ory -ose -ous/-ious Usage capable of, fit for, tending to, likely to relating to, having the nature of in the act or process of doing adjectives formed from nouns having the quality of comparative ending superlative ending full of, characterized by pertaining to, connected with, resembling participial form as an adjective having the qualities of, formed from derived from some Latin verbs having a tendency to or the nature of a place or instrument for doing the main element full of; like full of; having the qualities of Example trainable, flexible musical, personal vigilant, militant interested, bored dependent, resilient bigger, faster biggest, fastest beautiful, bountiful volcanic, angelic interesting, boring realistic, socialistic infinite, polite attentive, massive laboratory, dormitory verbose, grandiose poisonous, anxious

Prefixes aid in determining the meaning of words. While some prefixes have only one meaning, others may have more than one, or there may be several prefixes with the same meaning. It is a situation that helps lead to the richness of the English vocabulary. Prefix a-/anadanteantibeneUsage without to, toward, near before in time or order against, opposed to good Example amoral, anarchy adhere, advert antechamber, antecedent antiaircraft, antibiotic beneficial, benefactor

bibycircumco-/col-/com/ con-/corcontradediadisepiexhyperhypoil-/im-/in-/ir-

two aside or apart from around together, with, jointly

against, opposite down from, away, off across, through away from, apart upon, above, outside, in addition to out of, thoroughly beyond, excessive, extreme under, beneath, down, less than in, into, on not interbetween, with each other intra-/introwithin, inside of malbad, evil, wrong microsmall miswrong monoone, alone multimany, much nonnot obagainst, in opposition overabove, on top of, superior periaround, near polymany postafter in time or order prebefore in time or order proforward, toward the front, occurring earlier reback again retroback again, backward semihalf, partly sub-/suc-/suf-/sup-/su under, beneath ssuper above, greater, better syl-/sym-/synwith, together, associated with trithree transacross, through ultrabeyond, excessive, extreme unnot, opposed to; back unione, alone

bicycle, bipolar bystander, byproduct circumpolar, circumnavigate co-author, collaborate, combine, conspire, correspond contraception, contraband descent, declassify diagonal, diagram disconnect, disown epidermis, epilogue exhale, exasperate hyperbole, hyperactive hypodermic, hypothesis illegible, impolite, inoperable, irrefutable interchange, intercede intramural, introvert malformed, malignant microscope, microorganism mistake, misinformation monotone, monopoly multilingual, multiply nonentity, nonconformist objection, oblivious overactive, overdraft perimeter, perihelion polygamy, polygon postdated, postmortem predict, precaution project, prognosis redo, renew retrospective, retroactive semiconductor, semiconscious submarine, succumb, suffocate, support, suspect superfluous syllable, sympathy, synapse tricycle transform, transfuse ultramarine, ultraviolet unavoidable; undo unicorn, uniform

There are many words that have noun, verb, adjective, and adverb forms. A few of these word form families are given in the chart below as examples. Any good dictionary will give you the various forms of a word. noun beauty competition/competitor creation management/manager nationalist/nationalism nature notice sadness significance verb beautify compete create manage nationalize naturalize notice sadden signify adjective beautiful competitive creative manageable national natural noticeable sad significant adverb beautifully competitively creatively manageably nationally naturally noticeably sadly significantly