Derivational Suffix:What,How,When,Where To Use,Structure,Several Facts

This article will explain what a derivational suffix is, and give you an introduction as to where, when, and how they may be used. 

A suffix refers to an individual letter or a group of letters that are attached to the ends of words to turn them into new words. For instance, “-ing” is a suffix that can change a root word like “bring” to the new word “bringing.”

Meanwhile, a derivational suffix is a suffix that ends up changing the meaning of a word entirely. However, the meaning of the new word is “derived” from the original word. For instance, “preach” can become “preacher” and “hate” can become “hateful.” 

When to use derivational suffix? 

A derivational suffix can be very helpful to use when you want to change the grammatical class of a word from one form to another. For instance, the noun “danger” can be turned into the adjective “dangerous” through the addition of  the suffix “-ous.”

Using derivational suffixes is also helpful in the creation of brand new words. For instance, “reactionary” is a word that comes from the root word “reaction”—but the addition of the suffix “-ary” completely changes the meaning of the original word. 

derivational suffix
Derivational Suffix

Why use derivational suffixes? 

Derivational suffixes are helpful because they allow us to create new words with unique meanings that have been derived from their root words. 

How to use a derivational suffix? 

There are many derivational suffixes to choose from. To use them, you must simply add them to the end of the root word to change its meaning and to create a completely new word. For instance, the derivational suffix “-age” can be added to the word “store” to create the new word “storage.” Similarly, the addition of the suffix “-ive” can change the word “mass” to “massive.”

Derivational suffix examples 

We can’t list all the derivational suffixes in existence because there are simply too many of them. However, the table below lists some of them: 

Suffix Root Word New Word 
-ableRelate (verb) Change (noun/verb)Obtain (verb) Relatable (adjective)Changeable (adjective)Obtainable (adjective) 
-age Patron (noun) Break (verb) Bag (noun) Patronage (noun) Breakage (noun) Baggage (noun) 
-alArrive (verb)Behaviour (noun)Environment (noun)Arrival (noun) Behavioural (adjective)Environmental (adjective)   
-arLie (verb) Burgle (verb) Beg (verb) Liar (noun) Burglar (noun) Beggar (noun) 
-aryRevolution (noun) Diction (noun) Station (noun) Revolutionary (adjective/noun)
Dictionary (noun) Stationary (adjective) 
-ateOrigin (noun) Fortune (noun) Active (adjective) Originate (verb) Fortunate (adjective) Activate (verb) 
-ationImagine (verb) Emancipate (verb) Elate (verb) Imagination (noun) Emancipation (noun)  Elation (noun) 
-eeInterviewed (verb) Employed (verb) Trained (verb) Interviewee (noun) Employee (noun) Trainee (noun) 
-enBright (adjective) Straight (adjective) Wood (noun) Brighten (verb) Straighten (verb) Wooden (adjective) 
-enceDepend (verb) Differ (verb) Depend (verb) Dependence (noun) Difference (noun) Dependence (noun) 
-erTeach (verb) Preach (verb) Learn (verb) Teacher (noun) Preacher (noun) Learner (noun) 
-essLion (noun) Hunter (noun) God (noun) Lioness (noun) Huntress (noun) Goddess (noun) 
-estEarly (adverb/adjective) Kind (adjective)Tall (adjective) Earliest (adjective)Kindest (adjective)Tallest (adjective)
-etteKitchen (noun) Cigar (noun) Statue (noun)Kitchenette (noun) Cigarette (noun)Statuette (noun) 
-fulCare (noun) Pain (noun) Fear (noun) Careful (adjective) Painful (adjective) Fearful (adjective) 
-hoodNeighbour (noun)Boy (noun)Priest (noun)Neighbourhood (noun)Boyhood (noun)Priesthood (noun)
-icationBeautify (verb) Complexify (verb) Electrify (verb) Beautification (noun) Complexification (noun) Electrification (noun) 
-ingThink (verb) Speak (verb) Breathe (verb) Thinking (noun) Speaking (noun) Breathe (noun) 
-ismPerfection (noun)Human (noun)Race (noun)Perfectionism (noun)Humanism (noun)Racism (noun)
-istArt (noun) Strategy (noun) Caricature (noun) Artist (noun) Strategist (noun) Caricaturist (noun) 
-iseUnion (noun)  Idol (noun) Legal (noun) Unionise (verb) Idolise (verb) Legalise (verb) 
-lessState (noun) Breath (noun) Fear (noun) Stateless (adjective)Breathless (adjective)Fearless (adjective)
-likeGod (noun)Life (noun) Lady (noun)Godlike (adjective)Lifelike (adjective)Ladylike (adjective)
-lyFriend (noun) Glad (adjective)Love (noun) Friendly (adjective)Gladly (adjective)Lovely (adjective)
-mentAtone (verb) Treat (verb) Bereave (verb) Atonement (noun)Treatment (noun)Bereavement (noun)
-ness Together (adverb) Weird (adjective) Smart (adjective) Togetherness (adverb) Weirdness (noun) Smartness (noun) 
-orRealty (noun) Act (noun) Create (verb) Realtor (noun) Actor (noun) Creator (noun) 
-ousDanger (noun) Adventure (noun) Gluten (noun) Dangerous (adjective) Adventurous (adjective) Glutenous (adjective) 
-ship Friend (noun) Relation(noun) Mentor (noun) Friendship (noun) Relationship (noun) Mentorship (noun) 
-tionRelate (verb)Absorb (verb) Prevent (verb) Relation (noun) Absorption (noun) Prevention (noun) 

In conclusion, remember that there are many derivational suffixes out there that can be used to either change the class of the root word or to create a brand new word from it. Therefore, if you can guess the root word of a word you haven’t seen before—you can also make an attempt to guess its meaning.

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