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Learn English Suffixes


We have recently learned many English prefixes. Before that we learned English word roots. (See How to Learn English Well for a complete list of Teacher Joe's advice for English learners.) Now we will have two lessons on how to learn English word endings, which are called "suffixes", to help us learn even more English words. These suffixes are grouped into 11 different categories. Each category has many different suffixes with the same meaning. This may be confusing, but try to learn a few English suffixes at one time. Come back to this article frequently to help you learn more and more English vocabulary.

Group 1. Someone who: -er, -or, -ard, -ian, -ant, -ent, -ess

a) A "teacher" teaches and a "baker" bakes.
b) A "doctor" is a person who helps sick people and a "tailor" is a person who makes clothes.
c) A "wizard" is a person like Harry Potter, who can do magic!
d) A "librarian" is someone who works in a library.
e) A "resident" is a person who lives in a certain house or building. (They "reside" there.)
f) A "servant" is someone who serves someone else, usually in their home.
g) A person who serves people in a restaurant is called a "waitress" or a "waiter".

Group 2. Someone who does: -ist

a) A person who studies biology is a "biologist".
b) A person who believes all war is bad is a "pacifist" ("pac" means "peace").
c) If someone is a member of a large group that supports Communism or Marxism or Buddhism, they are called "Communists", "Marxists" or "Buddhists".
Group 3. Action or process: -ade, -age, -ism, -ment, -ure

a) A "parade" is a show where people and groups march down a large street.
b) If there is a problem in a person's body that stops blood or food from moving, that is called a "blockage". ("to block" means "to stop")
c) An "agency" is an office where agents work, such as a "travel agency".
d) A "movement" is when something big, even a large group of people, move.
e) "Pressure" is the feeling of someone or something pressing.
Group 4. Material: -ing

a) The things on your bed, such as sheets, a blanket and a pillow are called "bedding".
b) The material used on the roof (the top) of a house or building is called "roofing".
c) On top of a cake we can put some sweet, white stuff that looks like ice, so it can be called "icing" or "frosting".
Group 5. A place for: -arium, -orium, -ary, -ory

a) An "aquarium" is like a zoo but just for sea animals ("aqua" means "water").
b) An "auditorium" is a place to listen to a concert or live music.
c) A place to borrow books or to read is a "library".
d) A place to study science or do scientific experiments is a "laboratory".
Group 6. A state or quality of: -ance, -ancy, -ence, ency, -ation, -cy, -dom, - ery, -hood, -ty, -ity, -ness, -ship, -th

a) "Avoidance" describes a feeling of wanting to avoid, or stay away from, something.
b) An "emergency" describes a situation where a problem emerges, or comes out.
c) The word "accuracy" describes the goal of being totatlly correct (accurate), without mistakes.
d) "Starvation" is a very bad situation where people have nothing to eat and so starve to death.
e) "Freedom" describes the situation, or state, of being free.
f) "Bravery" is the quality that someone has that makes them brave.
g) "Superiority" describes the quality that makes someone or something the best.
h) "Friendliness" is the quality of being friendly.
i) The situation where people are friends is called "friendship".

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