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Author: Rebecca Oberg

This learning packet should review:
-What are suffixes?
-How do suffixes function?
-What are some common suffixes and their meanings?
-How suffixes can help learners identify the parts of speech (e.g. -ly for adverbs, -tion for nouns, -al for adjectives, etc.)
-What is the difference between suffixes and prefixes or root words?

This learning packet provides a thorough introduction to the concept of suffixes, and also discusses the related concepts of root words and prefixes. Through the use of mulitmedia video clips, engaging slide show presentations, and informative texts, this packet targets a wide range of learning styles and ages. Definitions, examples, helpful hints and links, opportunities for practice, and more are provided. With a bit of effort, any student can become a suffix expert!

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What Is a Suffix, Anyway?

A suffix is a word part added to the end of a root. A suffix can change the meaning of a word and it can change the part of speech that word plays in a sentence. For example, if you add the suffix “ly” to an adjective, it will change the adjective to an adverb (soft—adjective; softly—adverb). Some common suffixes and their meanings are: “er”—used to compare two people or objects; “est”—the most or best of three or more people or objects; “ment”—a condition; “nes”—a state of being; “ous”—full of.

Source:, modified by Rebecca Oberg

Suffixes 101

This helpful slide show presentation offers learners some great resources for learning about prefixes, including definitions, examples, and opportunities for "matching style" practice.

Source: See slide show presentation for citation

Suffixes: Why Not Rap About Them?

Also featured in the packet on prefixes, this entertaining and informative video rap offers students a great tool for memorizing some key information regarding the concept of suffixes, including the definition. The related concepts of root words and prefixes are also discussed.

Source: YouTube

List of English Suffixes



General Meaning
-agogy leading pedagogy , demagogy
-archy rule, leadership gynarchy , anarchy
-cele, -coele, -coel body cavity mucocoel or mucocoele
-cele tumor, hernia hydatidocele
-centesis puncturing amniocentesis , rachicentesis
-chondrion small grainlike structure mitochondrion
-cide murder, killing agent suicide , vespacide, regicide
-cracy rule, government kakistocracy , democracy , androcracy
-cycle circle, cycle, unit of radio frequency epicycle , hydrocycle
-ectasia, -ectasis stretching out brochiectasis , telangiectasia
-ectomy surgical removal laryngectomy , vasectomy
-emesis vomiting hematemesis , hyperemesis
-emia blood condition leukemia , anaemia
-enchyma cellular tissue mesenchyma , karyenchyma
-ess female actress , waitress , stewardess
-esthesis, -esthesia sensation, feeling synesthesia, kinesthesis
-fugal fuge, driving or travelling away from, expelling centrifugal
-ful full of, having some or much hopeful , useful
-hedron geometric solid icosahedron , tetrahedron
-holic love , addiction alcoholic
-id skin rash syphilid
-ism doctrine, act, practice, condition Protestantism , alcoholism , Buddhism , southernism
-ist person dentist
-itis disease, inflammation hepatitis , gingivitis
-itude   attitude , certitude
-ium metallic element (exception: helium) sodium , Calcium
-kinesis movement (ability thereof) telekinesis
-less lack of homeless , useless
-ly -like, having the attributes of; In modern English, primarily changes adjectives to adverbs; also changes some nouns to adjectives and some (past-tense) verbs to adverbs quick(adj) > quickly(adv), state(n) > stately(adj), abashed(v) > abashedly(adv)
-mania an irrational but irresistible motive for a belief or action kleptomania , megalomania , mythomania
-ography or -ogram writing, description stenography , geography , ideogram
-oid resembling solenoid , hominoid
-ology study, science planetology , thyroidology , phthisiology
-omics area of biology proteomics
-onomy knowledge of astronomy
-onym name, word antonym , consonym , heteronym
-osis process, action mitosis , osmosis
-osis formation ostosis
-osis diseased condition psychosis
-phagy, -phagia eating monophagy
-philia attraction hemophilia
-phobia fear acrophobia , mysophobia
-phone sound, audio telephone , homophone
-science knowing omniscience
-scope from Greek skopos , view; instrument for viewing and observing spaces microscope , telescope
-ship circle, state of being friendship , relationship
-stan land, country Afghanistan
-tropism to turn phototropism
-us inflammation ulcus (ulcer)
-ward direction southward
-wise direction clockwise

Source:, modified by Rebecca Oberg

For More Information...

For more information about suffixes, including information about parts of speech, please view other Sophia packets or check out:

Source: Rebecca Oberg