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Suffixes 2

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Suffixes are added to the end of words in order to change the word class. For example, from the verb 'to photograph something' you can make the adjective 'photographic', the nouns 'photographer' and 'photography' and the adverb 'photographically'. In this case, there are two nouns: 'Photographer' is the person who takes a photograph. 'Photography' is the subject or activity of taking photographs. There are many suffixes which can be used to form nouns. Here is a selection of those with an indication of what type of noun they produce.

These nouns often refer to slightly abstract ideas such as states or processes, rather than to concrete objects and things.

-er, -or, -ian, -ent, -ant: a person who does something
photographer, interpreter
translator, inventor
electrician, politician
student, patient
assistant, immigrant

Alexander Graham Bell was the inventor of the telephone.

-ist: a person who specialises in an activity or area of study, or who is a member of a group with particular beliefs
artist, psychologist
feminist, communist

I would love to be an artist, but sadly I can't draw very well!

-ee: a person who has something done to him or her
interviewee, employee

I don't want to be an employee all my life. I'm going to start my own business and become an employer!

-hood: a state that is closely associated with a period of time
childhood, adulthood, motherhood

I was probably happiest during my childhood as I could just play all the time.

-ology: a subject (often academic) of study
biology, psychology, criminology, sociology

Is sociology an Arts or a Sciences subject at university?

-ion: a state or activity
exhibition, institution
investigation, action

The police started their investigation last week, but they haven't found any clues yet.

-age: a state or process
shortage, storage

In some countries there is a shortage of water which means they can't grow crops and therefore many people go hungry.

-ness: a state or quality
happiness, weakness

Happiness is good for your health, which is why some people say that laughter is the best medicine.

Spelling changes:

As a general rule, if the base word ends in a vowel, and the suffix begins with a vowel, you will remove the final vowel of the base word. For example,

translate (vb) - translator
institute (vb, n) - institution
investigate (vb) - investigation
store (vb) - storage


something pretty that you put onto another thing to make it more attractive

small paper tubes, which contain presents or small toys, and that make an exploding sound when they are pulled open

staff shortage
when there are not enough people to do a company's work


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