Suffixes in the English Language – Part II

Suffixes are common in the English language, as we learned in Suffixes in the English Language – Part I.  To recap, suffixes are similar to prefixes. They are a group of letters which are placed at the end of a word (also known as a root word). When they are added to the root word, the meaning of the original word changes.

Our last article looked at how to use suffixes and how a number of suffixes change the root word. This article will look at how some suffixes change the class of a word.

THE ‘LY’ SUFFIX

Example 1

  • ‘The children had an amazing day at school.’
Suffixes in the English Language - Part II - Simply Better English
Suffixes in the English Language – Part II – Simply Better English

The word amazing describes the day. This means it is an adjective. If we want to use the ‘ly’ suffix, we would need to edit the sentence and use the word in a different way.

  • ‘The children’s day went amazingly well.’

Now the word ‘amazing’ has changed to ‘amazingly’. The word ‘amazingly’ has provided us more information by telling us how well the day went. This means it is now an adverb.

Example 2

  • ‘Tash did the activity in a safe way.’

This sentence describes Tash’s behaviour as she carried out the activity. This means the word ‘safe’ is an adjective.

  • ‘Tash did the activity safely.’

Again, using the ‘ly’ suffix means, the word ‘safely’ is now an adverb.

Example 3

  • The animals, at the zoo, were sitting down and they were calm.’

In this sentence, the adjective, ‘calm’ describes the animals’ behavior.

  • ‘The animals, at the zoo, sat calmly’.

Now the sentence provides us with information about how the animals were sitting, which means the word ‘calm’ is no longer an adjective but an adverb.

Table 1

Here are some more words using the ‘ly‘ suffix.

Original word Suffix New Word New Meaning
furious ly furiously done in a furious/angry way
glad ly gladly done in a glad/happy way
loud ly loudly done in a loud way
love ly lovely done in a loving way
nice ly nicely done in a nice way
perfect ly perfectly

 

done in a perfect way
proper ly properly done in a proper way

 

Quiz Sign - Simply Better English
Quiz Sign – Simply Better English

Activity 1

The sentences below are not finished. Fill in the gaps using a word with the ‘ly’ suffix. Use Table 1 to help you.

  • The singer sang ….
  • William wrote ….
  • The performer spoke ….

The ‘Fully’ Suffix

Example 4

Some root words can be matched with more than one suffix.

  • ‘The woman in the picture has such beauty.’ 

This sentence uses the adjective ‘beauty’.

In the previous article, we looked at the ‘ful’ suffix.

  • ‘The women in the picture is ‘beautiful’.

This sentence uses the adjective ‘beautiful’.

Now instead of the ‘ful’ suffix, we could add the ‘fully’ suffix to the word ‘beauty’.

  • ‘The women in the picture was painted beautifully.’

The word ‘beautifully’ tells us how well the picture was painted. This means the word beautifully is an adverb.

Note: in both cases, we remove the letter ‘y‘ and replace it with the letter ‘i‘ before we add a suffix.

Example 5

  • ‘The football fans like to cheer.’
Suffixes in the English Language - Part II - Simply Better English
Suffixes in the English Language – Part II – Simply Better English

In this sentence, the root word ‘cheer’ is a verb. This is because it is an action word.

  • ‘The football fans were cheerful.’

In this sentence, the football fans’ mood is described. This means when the root word ‘cheer’ is teamed up with the ‘ful’ suffix, it tends to be an adjective.

  • ‘The football fans sang cheerfully.’

Now, we are given information about how the fans sang. This means when the root word ‘cheer’ is teamed up with the ‘fully’ suffix, the word becomes an adverb.

The root word may be the same but sometimes when a different suffix is added, the function of the word changes.

Table 2

Here is a table showing how some words can be spelled. The table shows words in their original form, with the ‘ly’ suffix and with the ‘fully’ suffix.  Look at the table below to see how the words can change depending on the suffix.

Original word Ful Suffix Fully Suffix
boast boastful boastfully
care careful carefully
dread dreadful dreadfully
fear fearful fearfully
help helpful helpfully
peace peaceful peacefully
power powerful powerfully
thought thoughtful thoughtfully

 

Quiz Sign - Simply Better English
Quiz Sign – Simply Better English

Activity 2

The sentences below are jumbled up. Rearrange the words to make each sentence make sense.

  • peacefully The played children.
  • lifted The the baby aunt carefully.
  • Joshua up fearfully the insect picked.

THE ‘AL’ SUFFIX

Example 6

  • ‘I enjoy listening to music.’
Suffixes in the English Language - Part II - Simply Better English
Suffixes in the English Language – Part II – Simply Better English

The sentence above tells us that the individual likes hearing music.

  • ‘I am musical.’

Now, when the ‘al’ suffix is added, the sentence tells us that the individual has musical skills. The ‘al’ suffix changed a noun (music) to an adjective (musical).

Example 7

  • ‘Peter read a comic.’

In this sentence, the root word tells us that Peter is reading an item. We know that items are nouns.

  • ‘Peter was comical.’

Now, we add the ‘al’ suffix, the sentence tells us about Peter’s personality. This means ‘comical’ is now an adjective.

Table 3

Here are some more words with the ‘al’ suffix.

Original word Suffix New Word New Meaning
accident al accidental linked with an accident
electric al electrical linked with electric
logic al logical linked with logic
origin al original linked with origin
politic al political linked with politics

 

Quiz Sign - Simply Better English
Quiz Sign – Simply Better English

Activity 3

The sentences below are incorrect. Each sentence needs a word with the ‘al’ suffix. Rewrite each sentence and include the corrections.

  • This is a logic puzzle.
  • The origin painting is expensive.
  • This is a politic moment.

This article has looked at suffixes in the English language. Suffixes are added to root words and change the meaning of the original word. Some suffixes change the class of a word too. To learn more about word classes take a look at the article Using Nouns in English and How to Use Adjectives Effectively.

Here are the answers to the activities in the article. Feel free to write your answers in the comments section.

Activity 1

There are many possible answers to this question. Here are a few answers to guide you.

  • The singer sang perfectly/nicely.
  • William wrote nicely.
  • The performer spoke loudly.

Activity 2

  • The children played peacefully.
  • The aunt lifted the baby carefully.
  • Joshua picked up the insect fearfully.

Activity 3

  • This is a logical puzzle.
  • The original painting is expensive.
  • This is a political moment.

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