Suffixes in English

For reference: a suffix is a part of a word that is attached after the root. Both in English and Russian they can be:

  • word-forming – they create a new word with a new lexical meaning: to write – writer, etc.
  • Formative – they create another form of a word without changing its lexical meaning: to speak – spoke (forms the form of the past tense), to study – studied, etc.

By the way, if prefixes almost do not form the words of the new part of speech, our today’s heroes do it very often: awe => awful. So we will consider the suffixes according to the parts of speech in English:

  • nouns,
  • adjectives,
  • verbs,
  • the dialects.

Nouns suffixes in English

First of all, let us consider morphemes that form nouns with the value of the device or person performing the action.

Suffixes -er, -or, -ar
Very productive affixes. Can form both inanimate and inanimate nouns. From the verb (i.e. action) they form a noun (actor).

Examples: teacher (teacher), actor (actor), beggar (beggar, beg to beg).

If the root ends in -e, only the letter r is attached, for example: to make – a maker, to use – a user.

Suffix -ess
It serves to form feminine nouns.

Examples: stewardess, poetess, princess.

Note that usually the producing word does not change in any way: author – authoress. But there are exceptions: actor – actress, ambassador – ambassadress and others.

Suffixes -an, -ian
Identifies nouns indicating nationality, country, rank or profession.

Examples: optician (oculist), european (European), musician (musician).

Suffix -ist
Serves to denote belonging to a particular profession / activity (including science, music, sports, etc.), scientific, political, literary, etc. direction.

Realist (realist), pianist (pianist), geologist (geologist). Go to the site and find out more

Suffix -ee
Examples in suffix -ee in English: employee, trainee, nominee.

Suffixes -ant, -ent
Examples: assistant, accountant, correspondent.

We’re done with the suffixes of “figures”. Let us move on to the other noun suffixes in English.

Suffix -age

  1. Value of collection – indicates a collection, set, group of something: luggage,
  2. Value of process, action or result of an action: haulage, passage, breakage,
  3. The meaning of the house or place: orphanage.

This English suffix is very productive.

Suffix -cy
Creates abstract nouns with the value of a state or mode.

Example: lunacy, efficiency, privacy.

Suffixes -ence, -ance
Also forms abstract nouns. Indicates action, state or quality.

Appearance, convenience, dependency.

Suffix denotes an action, state or quality.

  1. condition, quality, position: childhood,
  2. involvement in a particular group of people connected to something: orphanhood.

Suffix -ing
It forms nouns from verbs, for example:

Meeting, building, fighting.

Suffix -ion
Values – action, state or result.

Confusion, confusion, education, expression.

Suffix – meaning.
Forms nouns with the value of an action or process, product or result of an action, as well as a state (including the state caused by an action).

English words with the suffix ment: improvement, movement, advancement.

Suffix -ness
The suffix of the English language indicating status or quality:

Kindness, happiness, sadness.


  1. A certain title, position: lordship,
  2. Skill or skill: horsemanship (art of riding),
  3. State of relations: partnership

Suffix -th
Forms nouns with a quality value:

truth, health, strength.