Suffixes list

These are the most common suffixes, along with their most common meanings. Not every meaning is given here. Use a dictionary for more information. Starred (*) suffixes are listed under two or more headings.

Used to form verbs

Make or become

-ize/ise symbolize, visualize, privatize
-ate differentiate, activate, duplicate
-fy/ify classify, purify, simplify, justify
-en sadden, fasten, shorten, darken
  Note: -ize is used in both Britain and the United States, but -ise only in Britain.

Used to form nouns

Action or state

*-age breakage, wastage
*-al survival, renewal
-ance/ence assistance, acceptance, confidence, preference
-cy efficiency, frequency, accuracy
*-ery/ry bravery, rivalry
-hood childhood, likelihood
-ion/sion/tion completion, confusion, election
/ation/ition alteration, competition
-ity ability, similarity, curiosity
-ment development, unemployment
-ness darkness, awareness
*-ship ownership, friendship

Person or thing that... something

-ant/ent does assistant, student, deterrent
-ee experiences employee, absentee, interviewee
-er/or does driver, computer, actor, supervisor
-ist studies, works as linguist, chemist, dentist
-ist plays/believes in pianist, violinist, socialist, Buddhist

Other meanings

*-age group, place baggage, wreckage, anchorage
*-ery/ry group, place, skill machinery, bakery, refinery, cookery
-ism set of ideas anarchism, nationalism, racism
*-ship skill, group workmanship, readership

Used to form adjectives

Having a certain quality

*-able fashionable, comfortable
-ent different, dependent, excellent
-ful beautiful, peaceful, careful, forgetful
-ive attractive, effective, imaginative, explosive
-ous continuous, dangerous, famous, poisonous

Other meanings

*-able/ible can or must be drinkable, countable, flexible
*-al connected with central, political, magical
-ish approximately thirtyish, yellowish, tallish
-less without endless, homeless, meaningless