Author: British Council | Published on 1 March 2023
Stage 1: Present examples
Write these sentences on the board.
Ask: “What do you notice about the sentences?”
The children are friendly.
They play lovely games.
Thabo is a helpful friend.
Vusi listens to beautiful music.
Peter is a funny boy.
Martha is a noisy child.
John sometimes plays dangerous games.
He wants to be a famous football player.
Elizabeth doesn’t like childish games.
She likes to wear stylish clothes.
To help learners, you could:
Underline the suffixes -ly, -ful, -y, -ous and -ish
Ask: “What are the root words? Did the root word change when you added the suffix?”
Stage 2: Take feedback
Check understanding. Ask learners to give feedback on what they noticed from the examples. Some key points could include:
- A suffix is a group of letters which is added after a word.
- They modify the words to which they are attached.
- They may change the root word into a new part of speech e.g change a noun to an adjective.
Common suffixes which form adjectives are:
-ly e.g. They play lovely games.
-ful e.g. Vusi listens to beautiful music.
-y e.g. Martha is a noisy child
-ous e.g. John sometimes plays dangerous games.
-ish e.g. Elizabeth doesn’t like childish games.
The root word may change when the suffix is added:
- When words end with a vowel, the vowel may be dropped before the suffix is added e.g. noise - noisy
- When words end with y, the vowel is changed to i before the suffix is added e.g. beauty - beautiful
- When words contain a short vowel sound, the last consonant is doubled before adding the suffix e.g. fun – funny
- When words end with a silent e. the e is dropped before adding the suffix e.g. fame – famous, style – stylish
Some other suffixes which change a noun to an adjective are -able, -al, -ary, -less, and -like
Stage 3: Use the grammar
Learners work in small groups.
Give each group one suffix to look for. They search for their suffix in a text. They make a list of the found words and then discuss what the words mean and how the suffix changed the meaning of the root word.
Make a spinner out of recycled card with different suffixes written on each segment,
[picture like the one below]
Write a list of root words on the board. Learners spin the spinner. They use the suffix it lands on and select a root word to make a new word. They make a sentence with the new word.
“What changed?” dictation
Think of root words which change when a suffix is added e.g. noise (noisy), style (stylish), anger (angry), fame (famous), etc.
Call out one of the words containing a suffix e.g. noisy. The learners write it down and then say what changed in the root word e.g. the e was dropped.
Extend the activity by getting learners to write both the root word and the new word.