Suffix: List of 26 Important Suffixes in English for ESL Students

In this article, we’ll learn some common suffixes in English with meaning and example sentences for ESL Learners.


Suffixes are the one or more syllables or elements added to the root or stem of a word to alter the meaning or indicate the intended part of speech.

Below is the useful list of suffixes plus meaning and examples you should know.

Noun Suffixes

1. -er

  • Meaning: A person
  • Words: helper, teacher, preacher, dancer
  • Example sentence: You’d better go and explain to the teacher.

2. -or

  • Meaning: A person who is something
  • Words: distributor, investigator, translator, conductor
  • Example sentence: The eastern district distributor road is part of the relief road system around the city of Leicester.

3. -ment

  • Meaning: The action or result of
  • Words: movement, retirement, abandonment, establishment
  • Example sentence: His work as a historian brought him into conflict with the political establishment.

4. -ness

  • Meaning: A state or quality
  • Words: fondness, awareness, kindness, darkness
  • Example sentence: The novel displayed Rolfe’s fondness for neologism, verbal sumptuousness, and quirky spelling in its best light.

5. –ion

  • Meaning: A process, state, or result
  • Words: decorationcelebration, opinion, decision, revision
  • Example sentence: We announced a decision formally recognizing the new government.

6. –age

  • Meaning: A process, action, or result
  • Words: wreckage, breakage, passage
  • Example sentence: Investigators are searching the wreckage of the plane to try and find the cause of the tragedy.

7. –ance

  • Meaning: An action or state
  • Words: importancehindrance, tenancy
  • Example sentence: Psychological and sociological studies were emphasizing the importance of the family.

8. -ee

  • Meaning: A person
  • Words: refereeassigneegrantee, lessee
  • Example sentence: Every buyer, lessee, mortgagee of registered land should search shortly before completion.

9. -ence

  • Meaning: An action or state
  • Words: difference, preference, existence, reference
  • Example sentence: The difference between the internet and reality is so incredible.

10. –ery

  • Meaning: A type or place of work
  • Words: bakery, brewery, creamery, machinery, slavery
  • Example sentence: She followed her nose, turning into a passage which led to the back of a small bakery.

11. –ess

  • Meaning: Makes a feminine form
  • Words: waitress, actress
  • Example sentence: The manager of the restaurant has trained the waitress to serve correctly at the table.

12. -ism

  • Meaning: A belief or condition
  • Words: Judaism, tourism, racism, socialism, optimism, realism, criticism 
  • Example sentence: His comments were misinterpreted as a criticism of the project.

Adjective Suffixes

1. -able

  • Meaning: Able to be
  • Words: inflatablepreventable, adaptable, predictable
  • Example sentence: The inflatable cushion not only has a simple structure and low cost, but also is safe, and can bring great interest to children.

2. -ant

  • Meaning: Inclined to or tending to
  • Words: vigilant, defiant, brilliant, reliant
  • Example sentence: He warned the public to be vigilant and report anything suspicious.

3. -ful

  • Meaning: Full of or notable of
  • Words: grateful, beautifulwonderful, fanciful
  • Example sentence: We would be grateful for any information you can give us.

4. -ous

  • Meaning: Having qualities of
  • Words: joyoushumorous, fabulous
  • Example sentence: Her fabulous recipes will delight anyone who loves chocolate.

5. -less

  • Meaning: Without
  • Words: hopeless, faultless, fearless, restless
  • Example sentence: He has been very restless all day and he awoke nearly all last night.

6. -ible

  • Meaning: Ability
  • Words: flexibleaccessiblecollapsible, credible
  • Example sentence: Our plans need to be flexible enough to cater to the needs of everyone.

7. -like

  • Meaning: Similar to, like
  • Words: lifelike, ladylike, childlike
  • Example sentence: I hate to be blunt, Frankie, but she just didn’t strike me as being very ladylike.

8. -some

  • Meaning: A tendency to
  • Words: quarrelsome, bothersome, troublesome, awesome
  • Example sentence: The boy is quarrelsome and ready to fight at the drop of a hat.

9. -ish

  • Meaning: A little
  • Words: greenish, stylish, reddish, foolish, childish
  • Example sentence: This silk scarf is the perfect accessory for stylish summer evenings.

Verb Suffixes

1. -en

  • Meaning: Become
  • Words: soften, fasten, lengthen, strengthen
  • Example sentence: The new proposals were intended to soften the impact of the reformed tax system.

2. –ing

  • Meaning: Verb form/present participle of an action
  • Words: laughing, swimming, driving, writing
  • Example sentence: It is difficult for us to refrain from laughing when we are seeing a comedy.

Adverb Suffixes

1. -ly

  • Meaning: In a manner
  • Words: quickly, slowly, easily, lovely
  • Example sentence: She had a lovely face.

2. -ward

  • Meaning: Shows direction
  • Words: forward, backward, toward, upward
  • Example sentence: We look forward to, our future.

3. -ways

  • Meaning: Shows direction
  • Words: sideways, edgeways, lengthways, slantways
  • Example sentence: The car skidded and slewed sideways.

Learn more about common prefixes in English.

Common Suffixes | Infographic

List of Suffixes

Last Updated on February 21, 2023

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