Education and Information Site VirtualSalt A Handful of Suffixes Robert A. Harris
January 21, 2010

 Want to learn about the logical glue that holds language together and makes writing clear and flowing? Visit my Transitional Words and Phrases page. You will become a better writer if you learn to use transitions of thought and transitions of logic to make your writing coherent.

A Handful of Suffixes

Suffix Meaning Examples
able, ible able to be, capable of being pourable, drinkable, readable, washable, curable, visible, flexible, collectible
ance, ancy state of, process of performance, reliance, defiance, radiance, acceptance, ascendancy, discrepancy, infancy
ator one who does [the verb] terminator, culminator, agitator, instigator, generator, incubator, accelerator, invigorator, elevator
dom condition, office, state kingdom, freedom, wisdom, sheikdom, fiefdom, sheikdom
ee one who receives payee, mortgagee, employee, appointee, abductee, examinee, referee, refugee
er, or one who does [the verb] driver, hiker, reader, manager, polisher, speaker, counselor, author, creator, director, sculptor
ful filled with frightful, delightful, wonderful, cupful, wakeful, bashful, bountiful, beautiful, cheerful, colorful, dreadful, fateful
ify to make into purify, deify, simplify, clarify, petrify, reify, exemplify, pacify
ification process of making into purification, deification, simplifiction, clarification, petrification
ish the nature of, resembling Cornish, Irish, bookish, freakish, foolish, boorish, selfish, sluggish, priggish
ism doctrine, system, characteristic quality capitalism, heroism, optimism, skepticism, realism, patriotism, communism, idealism, conservatism
ist one who performs; an adherent of an ism tympanist, cellist, idealist, communist, realist, moralist, pharamacist, pragmatist
ize to make into rationalize, normalize, realize, capitalize, sterilize, dramatize, utilize, colorize
ization the process of making into rationalization, normalization, realization, capitalization, dramatization
less without, lacking
loveless, fearless, worthless, nameless, baseless, bottomless, effortless, friendless, noiseless, harmless

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End note: In my second year of Latin in high school, we were required to find twenty-five Latin word roots and for each root to find five English words containing the root. This exercise not only helped to increase my vocabulary, but it gave me a valuable insight into the way many English words are constructed. As technology advances, new words are coined to cover some new idea or thing, and often these words are created from existing roots. A little root knowledge here can therefore help us to begin to understand a new word even before we read about its meaning.

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About the author:
Robert Harris is a writer and educator with more than 25 years of teaching experience at the college and university level. RHarris at