Word Formation in English

Vocabulary building

  • -tion/-sion = Action (demonstration, expansion, admission, exploration, authorization)
  • -ment = action or its result (punishment, argument, development, enlargement, unemployment)
  • -al = Action or its result (denial, refusal, trial, renewal, proposal)
  • -ance/-ence = Action or result (dependence, attendance, acceptance, interference)

Suffixes

Noun Suffixes

  • -ship = State or condition (friendship, citizenship, leadership, authorship, membership)
  • -cy = state or condition (bankruptcy, constancy, decency, accuracy, normalcy)
  • -ry/-ery = Action, condition, occupation (slavery, foolery, dentistry, cookery, chemistry)
  • -ility/-ity/-ty = state or condition (ability, simplicity, cruelty, readability, visibility, stability)
  • - er = profession, purposeful device, origin of persons (banker, bookseller, container, locker, Londoner)
  • -ee = sb affected by s th/sb (employee, chatee, interviewee, evaqcuee)
  • -ant/-ent = sb who carries out (servant, inhabitant, informant, solvent)
  • -ing = result (building, clothing, painting)
  • -ify = to make, to cause (simplify, prettify, classify, exemplify, justify)
  • -ize/-ise = to make, to treat in the way of (civilize, organize, Americanize, legalize, nationalize, popularize)
  • -en = to make, to make become (shorten, blacken, darken, harden, weaken, widen, sadden, deafen, deepen)
  • -ate = to add or provide with (urinate, ventilate, dehydrate, duplicate, differentiate)

 

Verb Suffixes

  • -able/-ible = sth that is/can be (drinkable , available, breakable, portable, reliable, responsible, audible)
  • -al = of the nature/origin of (natural, tridal, accidental, musical, criminal, educational, editorial, continental)
  • -en = materials (wooden, woolen, golden/gold)
  • -ese/-an/-ian/-ish = origin (Japanese, Portuguese, British, Turkish, German, Russian)

Adjective Suffixes [1]

  • -ful = full of, of the nature of (doubtful, powerful, careful, useful, helpful, spoonful, handful, tactful)
  • -ic = of the nature of (comic, domestic, aristocratic, dramatic, phonetic, systematic, energetic)
  • -ical = of the nature of (economical, biological, comical, historical)
  • -ing = sth experienced like (amazing, amusing, shocking)

Adjective Suffixes [2]

  • -less = devoid of (homeless, endless, careless, spotless, thoughtless, jobless, nameless)
  • -ly = periodic occurrence (daily, monthly, yearly, quarterly)
  • -like = behaving like (childlike, gentlemanlike, godlike)
  • -ward = in the direction of (homeward, eastward, onward, backward, forward)
  • -y = of the nature of (funny, rusty, bony, nervy, catchy, sticky, headachy, classy)

Adjective Suffixes [3]

  • a- = not, lacking in, not affected by (amoral, atheist, asymmetry, asexual, apolitical)
  • dis- = not, absolute opposite (disloyal, distrust, disabled, dislike, disagree, disadvantage)
  • non- = lacking in (non – fiction, non-political, non-neutral)

 

Prefixes

Negative prefixes [1]

  • un- = opposite (unhappy, unfair, unreal, unexpected, unproductive) Before words of French origin:
  • in – (insane, injustice, intolerance, inconvenient)
  • il - = before I – (illegal, illogical)
  • im - = before P – (imperfect, impatient, improbable, immture)
  • ir - = before r - (irregular, irresponsible, irreplaceable, irrelevant)

Negative prefixes [2]

  • Economic – deal with economy
  • Economical – less wasteful
  • Economically is the adverb form of both words
  • Historical – took place in history, it is from the past
  • Historic – has significance in the history (event, person)
  • Historically is the adverb form of both words

Beware the differences

  • Alternate = /ɔ : 1 ‘ t3 : (r) nət/ adj. following by turns, one after the other, a substitute or second, every other in a series
  • Alernately is the adverb form
  • Alternate / ‘ɔːltə (r) neɪt/ = verb related to the adjective = to go back and forth
  • Alternative = adj. /ɔ : 1 ‘t3 : (r) nətIV/, noun /ɔ : 1 ‘t3 : (r) nətIV/, refers to be able to be used instead of sth, the other choice
  • Alternatively is the adverb form
  • Bad = adjectives, describes nouns or pronouns, often used with verbs like look, feel, sound, or to be.
    Example:
    Incorrect: She felt badly about missing the date.
    Correct: She felt bad about missing the date.
  • Badly = adverb, describes verbs and should be used with all verbs other than linking verbs. It usually answers the question “How?”
    Example:
    Incorrect: Mudville played bad last night.
    Correct: Mudville played badly last night.
  • Continual = repeated again and again
  • Continuous = uninterrupted
  • It was continually interrupted by the telephone.
  • It rained continuously for forty-eight hours.
  • Different from X Different than?
  • Different from is standard English – proper use
  • Different than is nonstandard – improper use
  • Special = adj. = particular, designed for a particular purpose
  • Specially = adv. = particularly, for a particular purpose
  • Especial = adj. = exceptional, noteworthy, particular
  • Especially = adv. = exceptionally, in a noteworthy manner, or particularly
    Example:
    In the sense of particular or particularly – synonyms
    Stressing the exceptional quality = especial/especially
    Stressing the distinctive purpose of something = special/specially
    This program has specially designed macros for word processors. X He did especially well in All-Star Game
  • Farther = length or distance = comparative form of far when referring to distance
  • Further = to a greater degree, additional, additionally. It refers to time or amount = comparative form of far when meaning much
    Example:
    London is farther north than Juneau. (distance)
    This plan requires further study. (additional study, refers to amount)
    According to my timetable, we should be further along. (time)
  • Good = adj. = describes nouns or pronouns, used also with verbs like look, feel, sound, taste, or be to describe the subject
    Example:
    Incorrect: The coffee tasted well this morning.
    Correct: The coffee tasted good this morning.
    Correct: The pitcher is looking good today.
  • Well = adv. = describes verbs (sometimes adjectives), used with most other verbs
  • Well as an adj. means healthy
    Example:
    Correct: He pitches well.
    Incorrect: I do not feel very good.
    Correct: I do not feel very well. (healthy)
  • Number of Amount?
  • Use the word amount with quantities that cannot be counted and number with quantities that could be counted one-by-one.
  • He had a small amount of ammunition left.
  • He had a small number of bullets left.
  • Perspective = noun = point of view, especially the ability to see the whole of something (in art- the ability to draw three dimensional objects using two dimensional ones)
    The prefix per-means completely
  • Prospective = adj. = future or potential
    The prefix pro – means forward
  • Prospect = noun form
    The Latin root of both words, -spect-, means to see. So perspective literally means seeing completely and prospective means seeing ahead.
  • Quote = verb = to repeat the words of a writer or speaker
  • Quotation = noun = words quoted, the act of quoting
  • Quotation marks = punctuation marks used to highlight a written quotation
    Example:
    Correct: He quoted Shakespeare frequently.
    Incorrect: We listened to a long quote from the government report.
    Correct: We listened to a long quotation from the government report.
    Incorrect: You need to put this part in quotes.
    Correct: You need to put this part in quotation marks.
  • Raise = to make higher, to build, to nurture and cause to grow. It is normally transitive, that is, the action is done to something or someone else. It is a regular verb.
  • Rise = to get up, become elevated. It is never transitive. The past tense is rose; the past participle, risen.
    Example:
    They raised the barn in two days.
    He was raised by his grandparents.
    The sun rises and sets every day.
  • Real = adjective, modifies only nouns or pronouns
  • Really = adverb, modifies verbs, adjectives, or other adverbs
  • Correct: He stayed at hotels with real class.
    (Class is a noun. The adjective modifies it.)
  • Incorrect: He stayed at a real classy hotel.
    (Classy is an adjective. It should be modified by an adverb.)
  • Correct: He stayed at a really classy hotel.
    (The adjective classy is modified by the adverb.)
  • Sure = adjective, modifies nouns or pronouns
  • Surely = adverb, modifies verbs, adjectives, or adverbs
  • Correct: It is a sure thing.
    (Thing is a noun. An adjective modifies it.)
  • Incorrect: It is sure hot outside.
    (Hot is an adjective. It should be modified by an adverb.)
  • Correct: It is surely hot outside.
    (Hot is an adjective. An adverb modifies it.)
  • Borrow = from someone
  • Lend = to someone
    Example:
    Can I borrow your bike, please?
    I can lend you my bike if you want.
  • Bring = to carry to a nearer place from a more distant one
  • Take = to carry to a more distant place from a nearer one
    Example:
    Bring that file over here.
    Take this package to the post office.
  • Learn = to educate oneself
  • Teach = to educate others
    Example:
    I am a student and I am learning about adjectives.
    She is teaching us how to use adjectives.
  • Try And or Try To?
  • Try and followed by a verb is nonstandard = improper use
  • Always use try to
    Example:

    Incorrect: Try and do it again.
    Correct: Try to do it again.
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