General Rules for Suffixes or Word Endings


 A suffix is added to the end of a root, which is either a whole word or part of a word. The suffix changes its meaning and its part of speech.


Rules: The following rules are general and there are many exceptions to them.  Some have been given but do not need to be taught in the lower levels.


Adding suffixes that start with a vowel (e.g., ed, ing, able, ous, er,)


If there is a vowel and then a consonant at the end of a word, double the consonant.


win + ing = winning, hop + ing = hopping, hop + er = hopper, hop + ed = hopped, batted, shovelled, labelled, etc

Where words end in ‘y’, change the ‘y to ‘i’ and add the suffix.

happy + est = happiest, carry + ed = carried, sunny + er = sunnier, reply + ed = replied,  lazy + est + laziest, etc


Exceptions: reply +ing = ing


When a word ends in a silent e, drop the e if the suffix begins with a vowel.

ride – riding; make – making, use – using, nerve – nervous, like + ed = liked, coming, etc

Adding suffixes that start with a consonant

Where a suffix starts with a consonant, just add it. 

ness, less, ment, ful, ly, etc


sad + ness = sadness       sickness, sick + ness = sickness, goodness, etc
sleep + less = sleepless, helpless, etc

govern + ment = government, excite + ment = excitement, judgement, etc

sad + ly = sadly, wise + ly = wisely, etc.


In most cases the silent ‘e’ is retained.

Exceptions: awful, argument, wisdom, wholly, happiness, bodily, etc.


Where the suffix ‘full’ is added, just drop the final ‘l’.

help + full = helpful, hope + full = hopeful, harmful, playful, etc.