What Are Suffixes? - Examples & Definition

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  • 0:05 Definition of Suffixes
  • 1:23 Examples of Suffixes
  • 2:53 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Ryan Bing
A suffix is an important part of language found at the end of many words. Suffixes can be the key to figuring out the meaning of a complex word. Let's take a look at suffixes and how they can work to determine a word's meaning or even part of speech.

Definition of Suffixes

Consider the word 'boys.' It may seem like a very simple word, but it can actually be broken down into two parts. There is the main word, or root word 'boy'; then there is the suffix, or ending part '-s.'

The root word 'boy' provides the main meaning of the word, and the suffix '-s' modifies the meaning of the root word by making it plural. It's important to note that a suffix always comes at the end of a word. This is just one example, but it's a good example of how suffixes and root words work together to make meaning.

So, a suffix follows a root word, and the suffix modifies the meaning of the root word. It's important to note that suffixes usually don't radically alter the meaning of a word; they just modify it.

One thing a suffix can do is indicate a word's part of speech. Part of speech means how a word is used in a sentence. For example, a noun is a part of speech that describes people, places, things, and ideas. A verb is a part of speech that describes an action.

Certain suffixes can take a verb and change it into a noun when added to the end of the root word. Suffixes can also indicate number, whether a word is singular or plural, or they can indicate the tense of a verb, as when adding '-ed' makes a verb past tense.

Examples of Suffixes

Complicated words can often be broken down into parts. If you can understand the meaning of each part, you can figure out the meaning of the word. Suffixes are a key component of this process.

Let's start by looking at a very basic example:

'hat' vs. 'hats'

You will notice when the suffix '-s' is added to the end of the word 'hat' to make 'hats,' the meaning of the word changes from singular to plural. Instead of talking about one hat, we are now talking about several hats.

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