Using suffixes

Home learning focus

To correctly use the suffixes -er, -ing, -est, -ed and -y.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos to help you understand suffixes and the spelling rules they follow

  • four activities

Learn

A suffix is a letter or group of letters that goes on the end of a word and changes the word's meaning.

Watch this clip to learn more about the suffixes -ing and -ed.

Learn how to use the suffixes -ing and -ed.

Some suffixes have specific uses.

  • Adding -ing can change a noun into a verb.

For example: garden to gardening.

  • While adding -ed can put a verb into the past tense.

For example: jump to jumped.

Different suffixes follow different spelling rules.

Watch this next clip to learn about the spelling rules to follow when using the suffixes -er, -ing, -est, -ed and –y.

Learn these four important spelling rules for adding suffixes.

There are four spelling rules to remember when adding -er, -ing, -est, -ed and -y.

Top tip!

  • To understand spelling rules, you need to know the difference between vowels and consonants. Vowels are the letters a, e, i, o and u. Consonants are all the other letters.

  • You also need to know what root words are. Root words are the basic words that are used to form other words. They haven't had prefixes or suffixes added to them yet.

Suffix spelling rules

Rule 1: For words ending in two consonants, just add the suffix to the root word.

For example: smart + er = smarter

Rule 2: For words that end in a short vowel sound followed by a consonant, you need to double the last letter then add the suffix.

For example: mop + ed = mopped

Rule 3: For words ending in a consonant followed by an ’e’, you need to drop the ‘e’ before you add the suffix.

For example: stride + ing = striding

Rule 4: For words that end in a consonant and a ‘y’, change the ‘y’ to an ‘i’ and then add the suffix.

For example: cry + ed = cried

However if the suffix you want to add starts with an ‘i', you keep the original ‘y’ so that you don’t end up with a double ‘i’. For example: cry + ing = crying

Watch out!

These rules are true most of the time but there are always exceptions to spellings in the English language. For example, skiing.

Practise

You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Have a go at this suffixes quiz. Can you get all five questions correct?

Activity 2

Add a suffix to each word in the list, making sure to spell it correctly.

Choose from the suffixes: -er, -ing, -est, -ed.

Try to use each suffix at least once.

  1. Laugh
  2. Short
  3. Tall
  1. Help
  2. Hop
  3. Slip
  1. Shop
  2. Chat

Top tip! Remember spelling rules 1 and 2.

  • For words ending in two consonants, just add the suffix to the root word.

  • For words that end in a short vowel sound followed by a consonant, you need to double the last letter then add the suffix.

Activity 3

Add a suffix to each word in the list, making sure to spell it correctly.

Choose from the suffixes: -er, -ing, -est, -ed.

  1. Shine
  2. Joke
  3. Happy
  1. Like
  2. Funny
  3. Worry
  1. Cute
  2. Try

Top tip! Remember spelling rules 3 and 4.

  • For words ending in a consonant followed by an ’e’, you need to drop the ‘e’ before you add the suffix.

  • For words that end in a consonant and a ‘y’, change the ‘y’ to an ‘i’ and then add the suffix. However if the suffix you want to add starts with an ‘i', keep the original ‘y’.

Activity 4

Now you are a super speller, try this activity!

Read each sentence carefully then add a suffix to the word in brackets so that it makes sense in the sentence.

Choose from the suffixes: -er, -ing, -est, -ed.

Think carefully about the four spelling rules.

  1. I am (plan) to go on a walk at the weekend.

  2. I (walk) for miles yesterday.

  3. Sally was busy (write) in her diary.

  4. Kim (carry) the shopping in from the car.

  5. Number 4 always have the (bright) Christmas lights on the street.

  6. When I am older, I want to be an Olympic (swim).

  7. I got told off for (spy) on my sister.

  8. The new sofa was much (wide) then the last one.

Where next?

In this lesson you have correctly used the suffixes -er, -ing, -est, -ed and -y.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you with comprehension.

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