Suffixes: Spelling Review Study Guide (page 2)
Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:
It's true that when you look at words as nothing more than collections of vowels and consonants, it can be a little difficult to see the patterns. Certainly, memorizing the common vowel and consonant combinations can help you spell a large number of words, but these "rules" can only teach you a small part of the bigger picture. Your knowledge of the digraph mb, for instance, only comes in handy when you encounter words that end in an m sound.
Well, don't fret. Now that we're done looking at the sometimes overwhelming world of vowels and consonants, we can start to look at how parts of speech behave. And once we get into the different parts of speech, the rules become much more regular and easy to remember. In this chapter, you'll learn how words interact with suffix endings. But first, let's see how much you already know.
PARTS OF SPEECH
Before we learn how endings work, we should do a quick refresher on the parts of speech to which endings can be added.
When we're talking about endings, we're really talking about a few different things.
- Plural endings: A singular noun is one person, place, thing, or idea, while a plural noun shows more than one person, place, thing, or idea. Cougar is singular, cougars is plural. Nouns are the only part of speech that have a plural ending. Plurals generally end in -s or -es, but there are some plurals that do not end in either. Plural endings will be discussed in Chapter 7.
- Conjugation endings: Verbs are conjugated when they change tense. For example, walk is a verb in the present tense (i.e., I walk to school). Walked is a verb in the past tense (i.e., I walked to school), while will walk is the future tense (i.e., I will walkto school). There are other tenses, including the present continuous (I am walking), the past perfect (I had walkedto the store before dinner), and the past perfect continuous (I had been walkingfor ten minutes when I arrived at the store). We'll examine verb conjugations in greater detail in Chapter 8.
- Suffix endings: Technically, all letters added to the end of words are suffixes, including plural endings and conjugation endings. For the purpose of this book, though, we're going to think of suffix endings as endings that change a word from one part of speech to the other. For example, the word teach is a verb. Add the suffix ending -er to it, and it becomes a noun: teacher
As you saw in the part of speech table, suffixes are categorized by the types of speech they represent. The suffix ending -ment is a noun ending. This means, if you see the suffix -ment on a word, that word will be a noun. This ending can only be added to verbs. To state something means to say it; the word state is a verb. A statement is something that is said; the word statement is a noun. So, in other words, the suffix turns the verb into a noun. In Appendix D you will find a list of the most common suffixes divided by the part of speech they represent.
There are six essential rules for adding suffix endings, and they are all pretty consistent. Learn these rules well; some of them will also help you later, when you are learning how to make singular nouns into plurals and conjugate verbs.
Suffix Rule #1: Consonant or Silent e + Consonant
If a suffix begins with a consonant, it can usually be attached to a base word that ends in a consonant or a silent e with no change to the base word or the suffix.
- wise + -ly = wisely
- mechanic + -al = mechanical
- good + -ness = goodness
As with any good rule, there are always exceptions. A few words that end in silent e drop the e when adding suffix. For example, acknowledge + -ment = acknowledgment. Other common examples are argument, awful, duly, judgment, ninth, truly, wholly, and wisdom.
Suffix Rule #2: Silent e + Vowel
If a base word ends in a silent e and the suffix begins with a vowel, drop the silent e when adding the suffix.
- type + -ist = typist
- drive + -able = drivable
- fortune + -ate = fortunate
The exception to this rule occurs when the suffixes -able or -ous are added to words that end in g + silent e or c + silent e. The silent e remains in these words as a reminder that the g and c sounds are soft.
- courage + -ous = courageous
- notice + -able = noticeable
- outrage + -ous = outrageous
FUEL FOR THOUGHT
ADJECTIVES MODIFY NOUNSor pronouns. Words like nice, pretty, and large are all adjectives. Adverbs modify everything else: verbs, adjectives, other adverbs, clauses, and sentences. Adverbs answer the questions "How?" "Why?" "When?" "Where?" "In what way?" "How much?" "How often?" "Under what condition?" and "To what degree?" Words like excitedly, today, and very are all adverbs.
When adverbs modify verbs or adjectives, they often end in the suffix -ly. For example: "I walked slowly," "She chews noisily," or "We are extremely bored." You can't automatically assume that every word ending in -ly is an adverb; for example, friendly, lonely, and lovely are all adjectives.
Adverbs that end in -ly can be formed by adding -ly to adjectives (like comfortableor poor), present participles (-ing words like surprising or trusting), or past participles (-ed words like assured or embarrassed). There are a few special rules that pertain to suffixes ending in -ly:
- When the base word ends in -able or -ible, drop the final e and replace it with a -y.
- terrible + -ly = terribly
- arguable + -ly = arguably
- When the base word ends in -ic, add -ally.
- idiotic + -ly = idiotically
- emphatic + -ly = emphatically
Suffix Rule #3: When to change -y to an i
When base words end in a consonant + -y combination, change the -y to an i when adding suffixes. If the base word ends in a vowel + -y combination, keep the final -y.
Examples of words that end in consonant + -y combinations:
- beauty + -ful = beautiful
- busy + -ness= business
- marry + -age = marriage
Examples of words that end in vowel + -y combinations:
- destroy + -er = destroyer
- pay + -ment = payment
- buoy + -ant = buoyant
There is one very common exception to this rule: Something that happens every day happens daily, not dayly.
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