English Language Guide: Suffix

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In linguistics, a suffix (also sometimes called a postfix or ending) is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns or adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs. Particularly in the study of Semitic languages, a suffix is called an afformative, as they can alter the form of the words to which they are fixed. In Indo-European studies, a distinction is made between suffixes and endings (see Proto-Indo-European root).
Suffixes can carry grammatical information (inflectional suffixes) or lexical information (derivational suffixes). An inflectional suffix is sometimes called a desinence.
Some examples from English:
  • Girls, where the suffix -s marks the plural.
  • He makes, where suffix -s marks the third person singular present tense.
  • It closed, where the suffix -ed marks the past tense.
Some inflectional suffixes in present day English:
  • -s third person singular present
  • -ed past tense
  • -ing progressive/continuous
  • -en past participle
  • -s plural
  • -en plural (irregular)
  • -er comparative
  • -est superlative
  • -n't negative
Some good example of common Suffixes:
SuffixMeaningExample
-agog, -agogueleaderdemagogue, pedagogue
-cidekill(ing)patricide, infanticide, suicide
-ectomycuttingappendectomy, splenectomy
-ia, -yact, stateamnesia, mania, democracy, anarchy
-ic, -tic, -ical, -achaving to do withanthropomorphic, dramatic, biblical, cardiac
-icsthings having to do withoptics, physics
-isk, -iscussmallasterisk
-ismthe belief inpacifism, terrorism, socialism, communism
-istone who believes inpacifist, terrorist, socialist, communist
-iteone connected withmeteorite, polite, cosmopolite
-logystudy field ofbiology, geology, etymology, cardiology
-oidresembling, like-shapedasteroid, spheroid
-or, -erone who takes part indoctor, actor, teacher, driver
-phobiaexaggerated fearphotophobia, claustrophobia, agoraphobia
-sisact, state, condition ofanalysis