In linguistics, a suffix (also sometimes termed 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. In Indo-European studies, a distinction is made between suffixes and endings (see Proto-Indo-European root). A word-final segment that is somewhere between a free morpheme and a bound morpheme is known as a suffixoid or a semi-suffix (e.g. English -like or German -freundlich 'friendly').
Suffixes can carry grammatical information (inflectional suffixes) or lexical information (derivational/lexical suffixes). An inflectional suffix is sometimes called a desinence or a grammatical suffix.
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 the grammatical properties of a word within its syntactic category. In the example:
- I was hoping the cloth wouldn't fade, but it has faded quite a bit.
the suffix -ed inflects the root-word fade to indicate past tense.
Inflectional suffixes do not change the word class of the word after inflection. Inflectional suffixes in modern English include:
- -s third person singular present
- -ed past tense
- -t past tense
- -ing progressive/continuous
- -en past participle
- -s plural
- -en plural (irregular)
- -er comparative
- -est superlative
- -n't negative
Derivational suffixes can be divided into two categories, namely class-changing derivation and class-maintaining derivation. Derivational suffixes in modern English include:
- -ise/-ize (usually changes nouns into verbs)
- -fy (usually changes nouns into verbs)
- -ly (usually changes adjectives into adverbs)
- -ful (usually changes nouns into adjectives)
- -able/-ible (usually changes verbs into adjectives)
- -hood (usually class-maintaining, with the word class remaining a noun)
- -ess (usually class-maintaining, with the word class remaining a noun)
- -ness (usually changes adjectives into nouns)
- -less (usually changes nouns into adjectives)
- -ism (usually class-maintaining, with the word class remaining a noun)
- -ment (usually changes verbs into nouns)
- -ist (usually class-maintaining, with the word class remaining a noun)
- -al (usually changes nouns into adjectives)
- -ish (usually changes nouns into adjectives/ class-maintaining, with the word class remaining an adjective)
- -tion (usually changes verbs into noun)
- -logy/-ology (usually class-maintaining, with the word class remaining a noun)
- Kremer, Marion. 1997. Person reference and gender in translation: a contrastive investigation of English and German. Tübingen: Gunter Narr, p. 69, note 11.
- Marchand, Hans. 1969. The categories and types of present-day English word-formation: A synchronic-diachronic approach. Munich: Beck, pp. 356 ff.
- The Free Online Dictionary
- https://books.google.bg/books?id=rZ373puhVz8C&pg=PA70&lpg=PA70&dq=%22grammatical+suffix%22&source=bl&ots=lsMptHaY6D&sig=7AKDE98cHdrHhP6nNL6a7qXR64Y&hl=bg&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiE2_fC4KDNAhXMtBQKHd-MBkMQ6AEIITAB#v=onepage&q=%22grammatical%20suffix%22&f=false Mead, Jonathan. Proceedings of the 11th West Coast Conference on Formal Linguistics. 1993. Center for the Study of Language (CSLI).
- Jackson and Amvela(2000): Word, Meaning and Vocabulary- An Introduction to Modern English Lexicology. London, Athenaeum Press, p.83
- Jackson and Amvela(2000): Word, Meaning and Vocabulary- An Introduction to Modern English Lexicology. London, Athenaeum Press, p.88