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Spelling words with suffixes

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Suffixes are the groups of letters added to the end of a word.

That is:

base word + suffix = new word

The principle with suffixes is the same as with prefixes. You add the whole suffix to the whole base word.

For example:

throw ing = throwing

slow ly = slowly

resource ful = resourceful

However, there are three exceptions to this principle.


Recommended Further Reading

To drop the 'e' or not to drop the 'e'?

Luckily, there is a simple rule to help you remember this:

If the suffix begins with a vowel, you can drop the 'e' at the end of the base word. A 'y' is considered to be a vowel in this context.

For example:

fine + ed = fined

fire + ing = firing

lose + er = loser

laze + y = lazy

reserve + ation = reservation

But if the suffix begins with a consonant, you keep the 'e'.

For example:

hope + fully - hopefully

move + ment - movement

Exception - base words ending in ce or ge and the suffix is ous or able = keep the e!

For example:

enforce + able = enforceable

manage + able = manageable

trace + able = traceable

outrage + ous = outrageous


Doubling up

This is when you double the last letter of the base word before you add the suffix.

For example:

big + est = biggest

run + ing - running

There are three instances when doubling up should occur. These are easy to follow using the CVC rule. The CVC rule refers to base words that end in a consonant-vowel-consonant combination.

For example:

swim (ends in CVC)

warm (ends in VCC therefore not CVC)

The CVC rule and words with one syllable

If a one syllable word ends in a CVC combination you should double the last consonant when adding a suffix which begins with a vowel.

For example:

big + er = bigger

swim + ing = swimming

The CVC rule and words with more than one syllable

The basic principle of the CVC rule applies to longer words. If the base word ends in CVC and you're adding a suffix that begins with a vowel, you need to double the last consonant of the base word.

For example:

commit + ing = committing


Exception - when you do not emphasise the last syllable of the base word once the suffix has been added, do not double the last consonant!

Don't panic! This is simpler than it sounds:

If you have a base word of more than one syllable which ends in a CVC combination, and you are adding a suffix that begins with a vowel, you normally double the last consonant of the base word.

For example:

confer + ing = conferring

In the word 'conferring' all of the syllables are pronounced; con-fer-ring so the last consonant of the base word is doubled

However;

If there is no accent on the last syllable of the base word once the suffix has been added, the last consonant of the base word is not doubled.

For example:

confer + ence = conference

In the word 'conference' there is no emphasis on the last syllable on the base word (confer) once the suffix has been added. Instead the word is pronounced 'con-frence'. Therefore there is no accent on the syllable 'fer'. In this situation, you do not double the last consonant of the base word.


Base words that end in Y

Sometimes when adding a suffix to a word ending in 'y', you will have to change the 'y' to an 'i'.

This happens when the 'y' is proceeded by a consonant, or with any base word ending in 'y' if you are adding the suffix 'ing'.

For example:

study +ed = studied

busy + est = busiest

study + ing = studying

If a base word ends in 'y' and the 'y' is preceded by a vowel, the 'y' remains.

For example

destroy + ed = destroyed

destroy + ing = destroying

Activity: Practicing suffixes - 10 minutes

1. In your notes, write out the correct spelling of the new words that would be created by adding together the base words and suffixs shown below.

2. Use the rules explained above to help with this activity.

3. Compare your answers to the one shown below.

4. If you got any of the answers wrong, review the rules explained above.

base words suffixes new word
fabricate ing fabricating
spite ful
courage ous
sturdy est
replace able
beauty ful
jog er
treat ment
talk ing
equip ment
enjoy ing
adopt able
manage able
differ ence
How did you do?

When you have finished this activity, you can check your answers here.

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