Noun Suffixes – People

Suffixes Used for People

Negative prefixes and suffix forms

A suffix is used at the end of a word when we often use them to change the type of word.  Understanding when to use suffixes correctly is an important part of the Part 3 Use of English word formation exercise. Here we look at noun suffixes.

One of the easiest ways to look at this group of noun suffixes is to put them into categories. For this group we are only referring to people and we can talk about the person a suffix refers to and we’ll look at some examples here.    

Noun Suffixes

Although they are noun suffixes when we use these suffixes we talk about what people do.  This means the type of work or job they do. 

For example

  • Act – or  is a person who acts. 
           
  • Music -ian is person who plays music.  
      

People Suffixes

While this is quite a small group, it is important to learn where they are used in English. Some languages may also have suffixes that are similar to English but they are used differently. It might be useful to consider how your language talks about jobs like this to see if there are any similarities to English. 

It is also a good idea to organise your own lists of people suffix examples as we have done here. So, you could organise words that end in -ian or -ist and so on.

  • -er, -ar, -or
  • -ant
  • -ian
  • -ist
  • -ee
  • -eer
  • -ess 

reader, scholar, actor 
assistant
musician
scientist
employee
engineer
princess

In another post we look at general noun suffixes as well.

Noun Suffixes for People

Choose the correct noun suffix for each of the following sentences.

EXAMPLE
read, teach, drive, keep

  1. -er
  2. -ist
  3. -eer
  4. -ian

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