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What are commonly used suffixes?

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Quick Answer

Some common suffixes include "-ness," which communicates a state of being by changing adjectives such as "clever" and "full" to the nouns "cleverness" and "fullness; and "-ize," which implies a process of becoming, as "civil" becomes "civilize" and "idol" makes "idolize." The suffix "-er" communicates the concept of more, turning "green" into "greener" and "fast" into "faster." When added to the end of a word, a suffix forms a new word, and usually changes the original word's part of speech.

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Full Answer

Many other suffixes abound, such as "-ship," which conveys occupation of a position. For instance, "steward" changes to "stewardship," “scholar” to “scholarship” and "guardian" to "guardianship." The "-esque" suffix evokes a sense of reminiscence, using the root "picture," for instance, to create the adjective "picturesque." Often, "-esque" is tacked on to proper nouns for comparative purposes. Referring to a movie with an old-fashioned feel as "Capra-esque," for example, because it hearkens back to Frank Capra-directed classics such as "It's a Wonderful Life."

The suffix "-ish" serves a comparative purpose and indicates specific shared qualities. A "fiend," for example, has traits seen as "fiendish," a clown usually behaves in a manner considered "clownish" and an overly masculine female might be described as "mannish."

Other frequent suffixes include "-ify," meaning make or become, in examples such as "terrify," "edify" and "vilify"; "-ism," to communicate an ideology or belief, such as "capitalism," "atheism" and "socialism"; and "-less," meaning being without, seen in words such as "mindless," "heartless" and "defenseless."

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