English Language Blog

English suffixes you need to know Posted by on Mar 7, 2013 in English Grammar, English Language

There are many, many different types of suffixes in English. Suffixes are letters added to the end of a word to give the word new meaning.  Some of the most common suffixes in English are related to conjugating verbs, for example –ed is added to a word to show it is in the past tense (e.g. walk – walked).  Another very common suffix is –s or –es, which is added to the end of words for plurals (e.g. dog – dogs).

There are many more suffixes in English though and some of these add more specific meaning to an already existing root word.  Below I have listed a number of common suffixes you will surely see when reading almost any passage in English and which you likely already use, even if you haven’t thought about using them as suffixes in the past.  Learning these suffixes is a great way to expand your vocabulary and learn how to dissect (or take apart) words to figure out their meaning.

Common suffixes:

suffix meaning example word word meaning
-able,-ible ability, capable of edible something that a person is able to eat
-ance the state of maintenance the state of being in good repair or maintained
-ate become populate to become filled with people
-dom a place kingdom a place or area belonging to a king
-er, -or a person who does a job painter a person who paints
-en to become enlighten to become knowledgeable about spiritual ways
-esque reminding you of picturesque reminding you of or looking like a picture
-ical related to musical related to music
-ify to make or become nullify to make void or invalid
-ish have the quality of babyish acting or looking like a baby
-ism a belief Buddhism the belief in the Buddha
-ist a person who chemist a person who studies chemistry
-ment the condition of argument being in the middle of arguing, the condition of arguing
-ness state of being heaviness the state of being heavy
-y characterized by healthy characterized by good health


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About the Author: Gabriele

Hi there! I am one of Transparent Language's ESL bloggers. I am a 32-year-old native English speaker who was born and raised in the United States. I am living in Washington, DC now, but I have lived all over the US and also spent many years living and working abroad. I started teaching English as a second language in 2005 after completing a Master's in Applied Linguists and a Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults' (CELTA). Since that time I have taught ESL in the United States at the community college and university level. I have also gone on to pursue my doctorate in psychology and now I also teach courses in psychology. I like to stay connected to ESL learners around the world through Transparent Languages ESL Blog. Please ask questions and leave comments on the blog and I will be sure to answer them.


  1. Nasser:

    I have some issue with suffix like (ness). i just want to know how to get the correct meaning without reading whole passage.