Suffixes are the basic building blocks of a language that help the learner determine meaning of unknown vocabulary words when they come across them in texts, conversations or listening activities. Suffixes are an important part of learning vocabulary and they help the learners use common vocabulary words appropriately. Suffixes are letters added to the end of a root word to change its meaning or function.
Suffixes introduce changes in grammatical form of various parts of speech. The noun ‘fruit’ can be changed to an adjective ‘fruitful’ by adding suffix ‘-ful.’ Similarly, by adding the suffix ‘-ly’ to the adjective ‘powerful’ we transform the word into an adverb, ‘powerfully.’ The verb ‘punish’ becomes a noun ‘punishment’ on the addition of the suffix ‘-ment.’ The noun ‘nation’ changes into an adjective ‘national’ with the suffix ‘-al,’ and by adding another suffix ‘-ize’ to this adjective, we change it to the verb ‘nationalize.’
The meaning of certain words changes completely when suffixes are added to them. Such suffixes usually denote an occupation. For example: the verb ‘teach’ is transformed into the occupation ‘teacher’ with the suffix ‘-er,’ and the noun ‘art’ is transformed into the occupation ‘artist’ with the suffix ‘-ist.’