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Saying hello

This is the first unit of our lower-intermediate course - so we'll go easy on you. Over the next few sessions, you'll meet some of our presenters, learn some informal ways of saying 'hello' and practise question forms. In session 5, you can join our new 10-part drama, 'The Race'. Afterwards, you can see how much you remember from the unit with our Weekly Quiz.

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6 Minute Vocabulary

Suffixes

In this episode, Finn and Alice look at a very important part of word building – suffixes.

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Hiển thị văn bản ghi âm (hay video) Giấu văn bản ghi âm (hay video)

Finn
Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary. I’m Finn...

Alice
And I’m Alice. Today we’re looking at a very important part of word building – suffixes.

Finn
Suffixes. We’ll look at what they are, what they mean and how to use them.

Alice
There’ll be a quiz…

Finn
And we’ll leave you with a top tip for learning vocabulary.

Alice
So: to start off, we’re going to listen to Andrea and Steve who work in a bank. They have just interviewed two people who want to work there.

Finn
And here’s a question to think about while you listen: who did Andrea and Steve like best - the first person or the second person?

Alice
Who did they like best? Let’s find out. 

INSERT

Andrea
What do you think then Steve?

Steve
Well, the first one was very excitable: he kept laughing and speaking fast.

Andrea
Perhaps it was just nervousness, but there’s no room for that in this business.

Steve
No. Now I thought the second interviewee seemed a bit more responsible.

Andrea
Yes, she did – very important when dealing with money. And she was polite.

Steve
Politeness is essential in this job.

Andrea
Absolutely. Well, I think we both know which one is more employable. 

Finn
So, that’s Steve and Andrea. And we asked you: who did they like best?

Alice
And the answer is: they definitely liked the second person best. The second one was polite and responsible. The first one was a bit too excitable.

Finn
That’s right, and excitable is a key word in the show today because it ends in a suffix.

Alice
Now in the world of vocabulary, a suffix is a group of letters that you can add to the end of a word to change its form, or meaning, or both.  

Finn
For example, the word excitable has the suffix -able, spelt a-b-l-e. -able makes verbs into adjectives, and we use –able words to say that a subject can do something – is able to do something - or they behave in a particular way.

Alice
So if we take the verb excite, add the suffix -able, we can say that the first interviewee was excitable, meaning: he can get very excited.

Finn
And the second one was responsible, that’s responsible with –ible, spelt ‘i-b-l-e’. She can be trusted to do the right thing. And that’s why she was more employable, now that's -able with an a again.

Now for another suffix. Andrea and Steve talked about two interviewees. The suffix –ee, spelt e-e, makes a noun which means ‘the person who receives an action’.

Alice
For example, if you add –ee to interview, you get the person who receives an interview, an interviewee.

IDENT
You’re listening to BBC Learning English dot com.

Finn
And we’re talking about suffixes. Our final suffix for today is –ness, spelt n-e-s-s. Adding –ness to an adjective makes a noun.

Alice
That’s right, and interviewee number one suffered from nervousness – the noun form of nervous.

Finn
But number two understood the importance of politeness – the noun form of polite. Is politeness important to you Alice?

Alice
Oh yes Finn, politeness is very important to me.

Finn
I think you’re very polite. Now let’s listen to today’s suffixes and words again.

Alice
The first one was: -able with an a. a-b-l-e.

Finn
excitable, employable

Alice
-ible withan i. i-b-l-e.

Finn
responsible

Alice
-ee: e-e

Finn
interviewee

Alice
-ness: n-e-s-s

Finn
nervousness, politeness

Alice
And it’s time for a quiz. Choose the correct suffix to complete the final words in these 2 sentences. Ready?

Number 1.The most important thing to me is my family’s… a) happy-ee b) happy-able, c) happiness.

Finn
This one is the noun form of happy, so it’s c) happiness.

Alice
Number 2. I’m learning how to do this job. I’m a a) trainee b) trainable, c) train-ness.

Finn
You are receiving training, so you’re a trainee.

Alice
Well done if you got those right.

Finn
And that brings us almost to the end of today’s programme.

Alice
But before we go, here’s today’s top tip for learning vocabulary: if you use an online dictionary, type a hyphen or a dash into the search box, and then type in any of today’s suffixes. The dictionary will give you a list of words that end with your suffix.

Finn
You know, that’s a really good tip: I think I might try that. There’s more about this at BBC learning English dot com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.

Both
Goodbye!

Download

You can download 6 Minute Grammar from our Unit 1 downloads page or from our 6 Minute Vocabulary podcast page.

Vocabulary points to take away

-ee

Creates a noun meaning 'person who receives an action'.

Example words: interviewee, trainee, employee, refugee, absentee

Example sentence: My company has six thousand employees.

-able

Creates an adjective meaning that the subject can do something OR that something can be done to it.

Example words: excitable, employable, pleasurable, enjoyable, loveable, readable, breakable, moveable

Example sentence: I didn’t like his last book – it wasn’t very readable.

-ible

A different spelling of -able.

Example words: responsible, visible, horrible, terrible

Example sentence: Stars are only visible at night.

-ness

Creates a noun which describes a quality or state.

Example words: happiness, nervousness, politeness, sadness, sickness, kindness, meaninglessness

Example sentence: He missed two days of work because of sickness.

 

End of Session 1

That’s the end of the first session. Join us in Session 2 where you will get to know our presenters even better, meet a new presenter and learn how to make questions.

Phần Ngữ pháp

  • Grammar preview

    In session 2 we look at how to form questions in English.

    We explore yes / no questions and wh-questions.

Session Vocabulary

  • Suffixes

    -ee:
    creates a noun meaning 'person who receives an action'

    -able:
    creates an adjective meaning that the subject can do something OR that something can be done to it

    -ible:
    a different spelling of -able

    -ness:
    creates a noun which describes a quality of state