Lesson 12: Suffixes

Read the diagram below out loud with your tutor.

Screenshot 2017-01-06 11.47.16.png


Practice by reading the dialogue with your tutor. After you are done, switch roles and do it again! (Note: The bolded words are all examples of suffixes.)

  • Kevin: Dorothy, you have a beautiful dog. Does he provide protection for your family as well?
  • Dorothy: Yes, we feel safer with him around. He’s also an excitable and playful dog, to say the least. Sometimes he can be a handful.
  • Kevin: I’m sure he can be a distraction when you are trying to work from home.
  • Dorothy: He wants my attention all the time. At times, I want to medicate him to calm him down, but I wouldn’t really do that to him.


Read the new skills below out loud with your tutor.

Inflectional suffixes

Inflectional suffixes do not change the meaning of the original word. The suffix is added simply to match the plural, the tense, or etc. Look at these examples:

suffix grammatical change original word suffixed word
-s plural dog dogs
-en plural (irregular) ox oxen
-s 3rd person singular present like he likes
-ed past tense

past participle

work he worked

he has worked

-en past participle (irregular) eat he has eaten
-ing continuous/progressive sleep he is sleeping
-er comparative big bigger
-est superlative big the biggest

Derivational suffixes

With derivational suffixes, the new word is “derived” from the original word. The new word now has a different meaning. There are several hundred derivational suffixes. Here are some of the more common ones:

suffix making example

original word


suffixed word

-ation nouns explore




-sion persuade




-er teach teacher
-cian music musician
-ess god goddess
-ness sad sadness
-al arrive arrival
-ary diction dictionary
-ment treat treatment
-y jealous




-al adjectives accident accidental
-ary imagine imaginary
-able tax taxable
-ly brother brotherly
-y ease easy
-ful sorrow




-ly adverbs helpful helpfully
-ize verbs terror




-ate hyphen hyphenate

Note: The following website provides more suffixes, their meanings, and examples: https://www.learnthat.org/pages/view/suffix.html


Identify the words ending in a suffix in the following paragraph. (1)

Sunset is the time of day when our sky meets the outer space solar winds. There are blue, pink, and purple swirls, spinning and twisting, like clouds of balloons caught in a blender. The sun moves slowly to hide behind the line of the horizon, while the moon races to take its place in prominence atop the night sky. People slow to a crawl, entranced, fully forgetting the deeds that still must be done. There is a coolness and calmness when the sun does set.

Fill the blanks in with one of the following words: works, teacher, sadness, terrorize, taxable

  • A cashier works with a machine that adds and subtracts numbers.
  • People who (2) _________________ others need to be put in prison for their crimes.
  • Everyone in the USA must report all (3) ________________ income at the end of the year.
  • The (4) _________________ fell upon the losing football team towards the end of the match.
  • A (5) _____________ has to know how to be compassionate.


Write a sentence using the word.

  • creative –  A creative person finds inspiration in the work they do.
  • private – __________________________________________________.
  • forgetful – _________________________________________________.
  • arrival – ___________________________________________________.
  • sadly – ____________________________________________________.

Discussion Questions (try to use some suffixes you just learned)

  1. Talk about a time you hesitated in making a decision. Did the hesitation help you or hurt you?
  2. What gets you excited? Do you consider yourself an excitable person?
  3. When was the last time someone persuaded you into doing something? Did the persuasion help you or hurt you?
  4. What is one way you are different from most people? How do you behave or think differently?
  5. When was the last time you helped somebody? Do you consider yourself a helpful person?

(Image source: 1. http://www.classroomfreebiestoo.com/2012/10/free-mini-prefix-and-suffix-posters.html, 2. https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/suffixes.htm, 3. https://www.pinterest.com/jul7788/adjectives-and-adverbs/, 4. http://e-ducativa.catedu.es/44700165/aula/archivos/repositorio//1750/1943/html/SUFFIXES.png, 5. http://e-ducativa.catedu.es/44700165/aula/archivos/repositorio/1750/1951/html/ADJECTIVE_SUFFIXES.png, 6. http://patternbasedwriting.com/elementary_writing_success/paragraph-examples/)

Answer Key:

(1) outer / winds / swirls / spinning / twisting / clouds / balloons / blender / moves / slowly / races / entranced / fully / forgetting / deeds / done / coolness / calmness / does

(2) terrorize

(3) taxable

(4) sadness

(5) teacher

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s