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Suffixes that Describe

Suffixes are word endings. Sometimes a suffix is several letters long, sometimes only one. Suffixes tell us more about a word; they help refine it or change it. Some suffixes tell us about the role of a word in a sentence: whether the word refers to a doer, a state of being, an action, or a description.

Some suffixes indicate that a word describes something. If we change talk to talkative, then a talkative person is someone who talks a lot. If we change respond to responsive, then a responsive politician is one who responds to our requests or opinions. Many other suffixes, like -ive, say “like the root.” (One exception is -less, which indicates “lack of.” Colorless indicates lack of color; careless indicates lack of caution; guiltless indicates innocence, or having no guilt.)


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