Suffix

 

 

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In grammar, a suffix (also postfix, ending) is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns or adjectives, and verb endings, which form the conjugation of verbs. Particularly in the study of Semitic languages, a prefix is called a afformative, as they can alter the form of the words to which they are fixed.

 

Suffixes can carry grammatical information (inflectional suffixes), or lexical information (derivational suffixes). An inflectional suffix is sometimes called a desinence.

 

Some examples from English:

Girls, where the suffix -s marks the plural.

He makes, where suffix -s marks the third person singular present tense.

It closed, where the suffix -ed marks the past tense.

 

Many synthetic languages—Czech, German, Finnish, Latin, Hungarian, Russian, etc.—use a large number of endings.

 

Suffixes used in English frequently have Greek, French or Latin origins.

 

 

Inflectional suffixes

 

Inflection changes grammatical properties of a word within its syntactic category. In the example:

The weather forecaster said it would clear today, but it hasn't cleared at all.

the suffix -ed inflects the root-word clear to indicate past tense.

 

Some inflectional suffixes in present day English:

·        -s third person singular present

·        -ed past tense

·        -ing progressive/continuous

·        -en past participle

·        -s plural

·        -en plural (irregular)

·        -er comparative

·        -est superlative

·        -n't negative

 

 

 

Derivational suffixes

 

In the example:

"The weather forecaster said it would be clear today, but I can't see clearly at all"

 

the suffix -ly modifies the root-word clear from an adjective into an adverb. Derivation can also form a semantically distinct word within the same syntactic category. In this example:

"The weather forecaster said it would be a clear day today, but I think it's more like clearish!"

the suffix -ish modifies the root-word clear, changing its meaning to "clear, but not very clear".

 

Some derivational suffixes in present day English:

·        -ize/-ise

·        -fy

·        -ly

·        -able/-ible

·        -ful

·        -ness

·        -less

·        -ism

·        -ment

·        -ist

·        -al

 

 

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