In linguistics, a suffix (also sometimes called a postfix or 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 suffix is called an afformative, as they can alter the form of the words to which they are fixed. In Indo-European studies, a distinction is made between suffixes and endings (see Proto-Indo-European root).
Some examples in European languages:
- 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.
- De beaux jours, where the suffix -x marks the plural.
- Elle est passablement jolie, where the suffix -e marks the feminine form of the adjective.
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
In the example:
- "The weather forecaster said it would be clear today, but I can't see clearly at all"
- "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:
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