Advanced English Grammar

 

 

What is a suffix?


 
Answering the 'what is a suffix' question, it's probably best to keep it short and sweet.

A suffix, in short, is a word ending. It is a letter, or group of letters, added to the end of a word or word root.

When you add a suffix to a word root you often change the meaning of the word.

The examples below should clear up any confusion about this question.

Example:

talk - talking where 'ing' is an inflectional suffix added to the word 'talk.'
talk - talkative where 'ative' is a derivational suffix added to the word 'talk.'

Now, as seen in the example above, there are two basic types, or kinds, of suffixes that answer the 'what is a suffix' question.

Inflectional suffixes basically change the word within its syntactic category. From present to past and from singular to plural.

Derivational suffixes change the word from one part of speech into another. From verbs to nouns or from adjectives to adverbs thereby making 'derivatives.'


Some examples of inflectional suffixes are:

s third person singular... talk, talks
s plural... boy, boys
ing continuous or progressive
ed past tense
en plural (irregular)
er comparative
est superlative
n't negative


Some examples of derivational suffixes are:

fy
ly
able / ible
ize / ise
ive
ful
ness
ist
al
ish
ess
ism
ment


So, if the above hasn't completely answered the quesiton as to what a suffix is, I suggest you click on what is a suffix to have any and all questions concerning suffixes answered.