Grammar Tip: Suffixes Which Form Noun From Adjectives or Verbs

A suffix is anything affixed at the end of a word, to form another type from it. There are several suffixes we will see now which form nouns: –ness, –ment, –ity, –tion, –ion, –sion, –ance, –ence. Here we will see some of them with explanations.

All these suffixes are used with various adjectives or verbs to form their noun counterparts. Make a note that these words are not standalone. They have to couple with another word to get a meaning.

–Ment

This suffix forms nouns related to action, process, cause or effect of an action, etc. Though –ment usually forms noun form from verbs, occasionally adjectives can have this suffix, as in the last example below.

Arrange—arrangement
Refresh—refreshment
Employ—employment
Replace—replacement
Merry—merriment

–Ness

This suffix is usually added to adjectives. However, it cannot be applied to every adjective. It usually indicates a state or quality.

Happy—happiness
Sad—sadness
Dark—darkness
Kind—kindness
Weak—weakness


The word witness is on the contrary, an exception to the use of –ness.

–Ity

This suffix is used to form nouns from adjectives just as –ness. It also expresses a state or condition, a degree or measure of condition, etc.

Possible—possibility
Complex—complexity
Pure—purity
Major—majority
Superior—superiority
Humane—humanity
Insane—insanity


–Ance, –Ence

These suffixes form nouns from adjectives and occasionally from verbs. They mostly indicate quality or action.

Silent—silence
Absent—absence
Important—importance
Arrogant—arrogance
Relevant—relevance
Assistant—assistance
Penance (v)—penance
Dependant—dependence


–Ancy and –Ency are similar to these suffixes.

–Ship and –Hood

Indicates various relationships, statuses, ranks, states, etc. Normally forms nouns from other nouns.

Relation—relationship
Member—membership
Bachelor—bachelorhood
Child—childhood
Chairman—chairmanship
Fellow—fellowship
Citizen—citizenship
Mother—motherhood
Friend—friendship


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Copyright © Lenin Nair 2008

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