Verb & Adverb Suffixes

Prefix and Suffix Types

Negative prefixes and suffix forms

We use a prefix at the beginning of the word to change the meaning and a suffix at the end of a word when we often use them to change the type of word.  Understanding when to use prefixes and suffixes correctly are an important part of doing the word formation exercise , which is Part 3 in the Use of English exam.

To complete this series of posts on word building we’ll look at verb and adverb suffixes.

 You can find a list of other posts on prefixes and suffixes on the First Exam Corner page.  

Adverb Suffixes

Adverbs are the simplest types of words to form. To create many adverbs we  add -ly to an adjective form.  

For example

  • Quick -ly  We just add -ly to the adjective.
  • Careful -ly  We now have two ‘l’s  but only with the adverb.
  • Happi -ly   We need to change the form of the adjective first so y->i.

Verb Suffixes

This is a small group of suffixes that refer to verb forms. 

  • -ate
  • -en
  • -ise/-ize
  • -fy


Verb Suffixes using -en

The meaning of the suffix -en is to “make” and we  use adjectives or nouns +en to create new verbs.

For example

bright -> brighten

dark -> darken 

Note: We can also use en as a prefix. For example the verb ensure means to make sure. 

Here are some further examples

  • sweet
  • light
  • deep
  • red
  • white
  • deaf

In this group of adjectives we use the noun form to create the new verb  

  • strong -> strength -> strengthen
  • long -> length -> lengthen
  • high -> height -> heighten

Verb Suffixes

Test your understanding of how we use verb suffixes.
For each of the following questions choose the correct verb form.


As everyone in the class turned to look at him, Alan felt his face _______________.

A redder
B reddening
C red
D redly

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