With derivational suffixes, the new word has a new meaning, and is usually a different part of speech. But the new meaning is related to the old meaning - it is "derived" from the old meaning.

We can add more than one suffix, as in this example:

promote (verb) + ation → promotion (noun) + al → promotional (adjective)

Here are some of the more common suffixes

Noun suffixes

Suffix Meaning Example
-al action, result of action

arrival, denial


condition or result

disappointment, argument
-ist person or object that does a specified action Marxist, communist
-ism doctrine, act, practice, condition Marxism, communism

state or quality

equality, cruelty
-ness state, condition, quality kindness, happiness, weakness
-ee receiver, performer nominee, employee, trainee
-dom condition of, state stardom, boredom, kingdom
-age action or process bondage, postage, orphanage
-ance/-ence action, state, quality or process independence, reliance
-hood state, condition, or quality

neighbourhood, childhood, motherhood

-er/-or person or thing that does something writer, member, collector
-ship state or condition of, skill of membership, citizenship
-sion/-tion/-xion state or quality population, depression, tension
-ry state, condition, or quality housewifery, pleasantry, robbery
-acy state or quality adequacy, democracy, supremacy
-ess female actress, goddess, waitress


Adjective suffixes

Suffix Meaning Example
-en material golden, wooden, silken
-ese nationality Chinese, Japanese
-able/-ible capable of being  audible, edible, drinkable
-ful having, giving, notable for  forgetful, skilful, hopeful


nationality Iraqi, Pakistani, Yemeni
-al having the form or character of formal, thermal, brutal
-ic having the form or character of poetic, classic

having the nature of

productive, informative, active


having the character of childish, newish, Spanish


without hopeless, helpless, homeless
-ian relating to Canadian, utopian, pediatrician

marked by, having

hungry, rainy, windy
-ly in the manner of monthly, yearly, fluently
-ous full of adventurous, famous, courageous
-esque in a manner of or resembling picturesque, grotesque


Verb suffixes

Suffix Meaning Example
-en to cause to become lengthen, soften, harden
-ise/-ize cause, treat, become fantasise, antagonise, popularise
-ate kind of state complicate, obstinate, affectionate
-ify cause specify, clarify, identify


Adverb suffixes

Suffix Meaning Example
-wise in relation to otherwise, clockwise, likewise
-ly  related to or quality calmly, easily, quickly
-ward(s) direction downwards, towards, afterwards

 The meaning of English prefixes