A root word stands on its own as a word, but you can make new words from it by adding beginnings (prefixes) and endings (suffixes).
For example, ' comfort ' is a root word. By adding the prefix 'dis' and the suffix 'able' you can make new words such as 'dis comfort ' and ' comfort able'.
Adding suffixes to words can change or add to their meaning, but most importantly they show how a word will be used in a sentence and what part of speech ( e.g. noun, verb, adjective) the word belongs to.
NB : Adding a suffix to some root words will change the spelling of the new word. There are some spelling rules to help you learn why and when this happens. For more information see factsheets 2 and 3 on suffix spelling rules.
Suffix spelling rules - double letters
Usually when you add a suffix to a root word the spelling of both stays the same: e.g. care + ful = careful But there are several important groups of words where the spelling of the root word changes when you add a suffix. Sometimes the spelling changes because of the 'Doubling' rules . As always, there are exceptions to these 4 rules, but they are a good starting guide:
non-denial, nonsense not Non- Outrun, outlive more, to a greater degree Out- apolitical, atheist, anarchy, anonymous, apathy, aphasia, anemia not- without a-, an- Aside, adjust, allocate, attend to, toward, in addition, by a-, ac-, af-, ag-, anti-war,anti-learning against Anti- overpopulation , over-consumption more than normal, too much Over- Misread, mispell wrongly Mis- EXAMPLES MEANING PREFIX
Poetess, godess Female -ess Fortitude, certitude State of -tude sagacity State of being -ity Dentist ,artist Dealer, doer -ist monotheism,socialism Doctrine ( belief) -ism Difference, conference Action, state of quality -ence -ation Assistance, allowance Action, process state -ance, -ancy EXAMPLES MEANING SUFFIXES (Noun)
Carelessness, uselessness State of -ness Justice, malice Condition, state, quality -ice Employee, nominee,, refugee One who receives the action -ee Kingdom, freedom,wisdom, thralldom quality, realm, office -dom neighbourhood, motherhood order, quality -hood Salvage, forage,storage Act, state of, collection of -age ( normally added to a root (French word) Lemonade, blockade Result of an action -ade EXAMPLES MEANING SUFFIXES (Noun)
Japanese, Vietnamese Native of -ese Adolescent, convalescent In the process of -escent * sometimes noun suffix Silken , frozen , oaken, wooden…but (widen, shorten) Made of, make -en * sometimes verb suffix Scientific, specific Making, causing -fic Metallic, heroic, poetic Nature of, like -ic American, Martian Native of, pertaining to -an, -ian Sensual, gradual, manual, natural Relating to -al Capable, agreeable, visible Able, can do -able, -ible EXAMPLES MEANING SUFFIXES (Adjectives)
Asteroid, tabloid, Like ( suggets flawed or partial resemblance) -oid Mindless, worthless, guileless Without -less Feminine, masculine, medicine Having the nature or characteristic of - ine * sometimes a noun suffix Fluid, fluoride, torrid Something connected to -id, -ide * sometimes a noun suffix EXAMPLES MEANING SUFFIXES (Adjectives)
In the not-too-distant past farm animals were able to live (0) NATURAL lives in what we would now term NATURE 'free-range' conditions. Such farming methods however, were not able to supply the rapidly growing (1) ...POPULATE of the world and the increasing demands on food (2) ... In order to cope with this rising demand, factory CONSUME farming methods were introduced along with the (3) ... DEVELOP of genetically engineered (4) ... hormones, which GROW resulted in a massive increase in food (5) ...PRODUCE
However, these developments in the use of factory farming and drug (6) ... have led to a widespread TREAT feeling that animals are being caused a lot of distress and that the quality of the food itself suffers as a consequence. Certainly, many people (7) ... with the idea AGREE of keeping animals in one building for their entire (8) ... EXIST and argue that more emphasis should be given to (9) ... ALTERNATE farming methods. A growing number of people are choosing to eat organic food, supporting farmers who use free-range methods, a system which has proved to be both (10) ... and more humane ECONOMY