Adjective Suffixes | Grammar Quizzes (2022)

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Make adjectives from other word forms

Adjective Suffixes | Grammar Quizzes (1)

This evening, we saw a spectacular sunset. The sky reflected colors from violet to red. As the high clouds moved overhead, they created an awesome light show of changing colors.

Gradually, the colors faded to gray, and the spectacle ended in the darkness of the night sky. Bright, little stars appeared. The moon rose above the mountains with a yellowish-orange glow.

Noun Form → Adjective Form


Someadjectives are formed from nouns, others from verbs and some entered our language as adjectives.The word forms come from Middle English, Latin, Greek and other languages. There are no simple rules for adding suffixes, but there are common patterns. Below, a noun occurs as the complement to the verb. The noun after be specifies the noun.


The sky was a spectacle.

("specifying be")

The sky was filled with colors.

(Eng-Br) colour

The color was red. (identifies the color)

We noticed its brightness / darkness.

We felt awe. (a feeling of inspiration and respect)


Adding a suffix to a noun form is one way to form an adjective. A suffix is apart added to the end of a word to mark the word form. Below, an adjective occurs as (1) the complement to the predicate (It is __ , It seems __, It appears ___) or (2) the modifier to the noun (a) ___noun. The adjective after be describes the noun.


It was spectacular

("ascriptive be")

It was a spectacular sky.

It was colorful.

It was a colorful sky.

The sky was red.

It looked reddish. (somewhat red)

The red sky was beautiful.

The reddish-brown soil was dry.

The stars were bright.

The night was dark.

It was a bright star.

It was a dark night.

It was awesome.

It was an awesome sky.

¹It + be + adjective (predicate adjective or predicate complement) See Specifying vs. Ascriptive "be".

complement (N) – in grammar, it is a word, phrase or clause that is expected or required to complete the meaning of some other element in the clause

glow (N) – shine, giving off brightness The glow of candles filled the room.

gradually (Adv) – changing or moving in small degrees, bit by bit; Your face gradually changes as it ages.

reflect (V) – give back (light) A mirror reflects your image.

rose (V) – went up, the appearance on the horizon of the moon or the sun; (rise, rose, risen) See Rise vs. Raise.

spectacle (N) – anything striking or impressive to see

soil (N) – dirt, earth Pineapples grow well in reddish-brown soil.

NPnoun phrase; Nnoun; Detdeterminer; AdjPadjective phrase; Adj – adjective

Also see Noun Suffixes | Word Forms | Adverb Suffixes | Negative Adjective Prefixes | Color Modifiers | Dimension Adjectives

Common Adjective Suffixes I (Noun → Adjective)


-AL relating to

accident – accidental

region – regional

brute – brutal

person – personal

region – regional

universe –universal

-ARY relating to quality or place

custom – customary

compliment – complimentary

moment – momentary

honor – honorary

caution – cautionary

diet – dietary

-FUL full of

beauty – beautiful

skill – skillful

wonder – wonderful

success – successful

awe – awful

delight – delightful

-IC having the nature of; caused by

athlete – athletic

photograph – photographic

base – basic

science – scientific

history – historic

rhythm– rhythmic

-ICAL having the nature of

magic – magical

practice – practical

logic – logical

statistic – statistical

history – historical

alphabet – alphabetical

-ISH origin, nature

fool – foolish

sheep – sheepish

child – childish

pink– pinkish

self – selfish

girl – girlish

-LESS without

power – powerless

use – useless

friend – friendless

home – homeless

worth – worthless

penny – penniless

-LIKE like

like – lifelike

child – childlike

lady – ladylike

bird – birdlike

war – warlike

spring – springlike

-LY like

friend – friendly

day – daily

cost – costly

order – orderly

month – monthly

coward – cowardly

-OUS quality, nature

poison – poisonous

courtesy – courteous

danger – dangerous

mystery – mysterious

nerve – nervous

victory – victorious

-Y like

rain– rainy

mess – messy

fun – funny

dirt – dirty

dirt – dirty

spot – spotty

Adjectivalization – in linguistics, the forming of words from other categories, nouns and verbs, by suffixation. (Huddleston 1706)

Pop-Q "historic / historical"

See Noun Forms for: -al, -ance, -ence, -ery, -tion, -sion, -sure, -ment, -age, -ing, -ery, -ness, -ity, -ism, -th, -ty -y

See Negative Prefixes for : a-, dis-, il-, in-, im-, ir-, non-, un-.

Verbs to Adjectives

Verb Form → Adjective Form


Another way to form an adjective is to add a suffix to a verb form. The suffix is thepart added to the end of a word (e.g., able, ible, ent, ant, ive, ing, ed, en)


They create ideas.

She is expecting a baby.

They don't permit smoking here.

They urge us to come immediately.

Today's news interests me.


An adjective occurs (1) after a be verb as a predicate complement, also called "predicate adjective", or (2) before a noun (a strange story) (3) or infrequently after a noun (something strange).


They are creative.

They have creative minds.

She is an expectant mother.

We congratulated the expectant mother.

Smoking is permissible. allowed

Smoking is a permissible activity.

The matter is urgent.

This urgent matter needs your attention.

The news is interesting.

I am interested.

We have interesting news.

I am an interested reader.

Also see Modifiers ending in -ed / -ing

Common Adjective Suffixes II (Verb → Adjective)


-ABLE able, can do

agree – agreeable

pass – passable

expand – expandable

remark – remarkable

laugh – laughable

pay – payable

-IBLE able, can do

access – accessible

flex – flexible

force – forcible

permit – permissible

sense – sensible

force – forcible

-ANT performing agent

please – pleasant

resist – resistant

rely – reliant

vacate – vacant

ignore – ignorant

comply – compliant

-ENT performing agent

excel – excellent

urge – urgent

depend – dependent

differ – different

confide – confident

equal – equivalent

-IVE causing effect

attract – attractive

posses – possessive

create – creative

prevent – preventive

select – selective

destruct – destructive

-ING causing effect

amuse – amusing

relax –relaxing

excite – exciting


confuse – confusing

amaze – amusing

-ED receiving effect

amuse – amused

relax – relaxed

excite – excited

surprise – surprised

confuse – confused

overwhelm – overwhelmed

-EN receiving effect

freeze – frozen

braze – brazen

lighten– lightened

shorten – shortened

darken – darkened

widen – widened

Also see Word Forms.

Similar But Different

Adjective Suffixes with Different (Antithetical) Meanings



It was an awesome movie. having a great quality, inspiring

It was an awful movie. having a terrible quality


It was childish behavior (behavior). having immature behavior, negative

It was childlike behavior. qualities likea child, positive


We are confident about winning. sure [L.confidere]

The message is confidential. private [L. confident]


It is a crisp day, today. cool and dry

It is a crispy cracker. thin and crunchy (makes a pleasant sound)


We have two dependent children. needing someone for care

We have two dependable children. having a nature of completing promises


We had a fun time at the movies. amusing

We saw a funny movie.causing laughter


He is a healthy ninety-year-old man. possesses or enjoys good health; not sick

He eats healthful or healthy food, and he exercises everyday. food that promotes good health; wholesome, curative


The laughing child was playing. having a good nature

The laughable car was powered with tequila.impossible to be serious about


She has light hair. a natural quality

She has lightened hair. an unnatural/changed quality



He is a loving son. having a quality of giving love

He is a lovable son. having a nature of attracting love


She is reliant on money from her parents. having need of

She is reliable. a nature of being trustworthy, predictable


He is selective a bout what he eats. having a quality of being choosy

They are selling selected items. particular, carefully chosen

Select people can live there. a small number, exclusive, wealthy


He is a sensible person. reasonable [sensible]

He is a sensitive person. easily irritated or hurt [L. sensitivus]


The company is responsive to customers' needs. acting quickly, sympathetically

The company is responsible for product safety. answerable, accountable


The general made a tactical advance. military move [L. tacticus]

He is a tactful politician. having skills handling situations [L. tactus] tact (N) – skill in dealing with difficult or delicate situations


Your food is tasty. having a good taste

You are a tasteful dresser. having good judgment for fashion, design or social etiquette


He isa worthy competitor. having good value, character

He is a worthless competitor. having no value or importance

antithetical (Adj) — directly opposed or contrasted; opposite.

Suffixes -ic versus -ical

Adjectives -ic and -ical


There is no particular way to know whether a word will use the -ic or the -ical ending. The suffix -ic comes from French -ique, or Greek -ikos.and means having the nature of, or causing something.

academic, algebraic, arithmetic, artistic, athletic, catholic, domestic, dramatic, egoistic, emphatic, energetic, fantastic, geometric, strategic, linguistic, majestic, neurotic, pathetic, pedagogic, phonetic, public, semantic, syntactic, systematic, tragic

He buys classic cars. traditional, old style

His comic verse filled books. artistic comedy

His economic theory was proved unsound. of the science of economics

An electric motor powered the car. a particular machine

We had a fantastic trip. extremely good, attractive, or enjoyable

That was a/an historic moment. recorded in past history

The hysteric / hysterical woman was out of control. unable to control your behavior or emotions

The little girl played with a magic wand. of a mysterious source

He was a medic in the military. intern or doctor

He wrote in a poetic speech. imaginative, having the quality of poetry, like poetry

It's not politic to ask such questions wise


The -ical form is often added to a word that already has a final -ic. Such adjectives often have a different or an additional meaning from the more basic -ic form.

alphabetical, alphanumerical, archaeological, biblical, biological, chemical, chronological, critical, cynical, ethical, grammatical, fanatical, illogical, logical, mathematical, mechanical, medical, musical, pedagogical, physical, radical, surgical tactical, topical

We listen to classical music. from a cultural (sometimes Greek, Roman, European) source, or 18thC.

His comical verse entertained audiences. funny

He chose an economical car. inexpensive to use

Electrical equipment makes our work easier. general, mass

The dragon had fantastical powers. strange, unreal, magical

This is a/an historical moment. worthy of being recorded in history

The movie was hysterical.very funny, causing uncontrollable laughter

It was a magical experience. mysterious, wonderful, exciting

He did medical research. related to medicine

He wrote in a poetical manner. having the form of poetry

It was a political question. concerning government and politics

Errors and Solutions

Error and Solution


His answer was logic, but I didn't agree with him.

How can I tell if a word is an adjective or a noun?

My dad likes to listento classic music on the car radio.
Use this to refer to traditional music (not Bach and Beethoven)

Do you know where I can buy an economic car?

Hal is a tasty dresser.

It was a chilly, crispy day.

Don't shout at my son. He's a very sensible person.


His answer was logical, but I didn't agree with him.

Tip: If you want to know if a word is an adjective, place "very" before the word:

It's very logical. / *It's very logic.

My dad likes to listen to classical music on the car radio.
This book is a classic. enjoyed by generations
Use "classical music" to refer to Beethoven, Bach, Haydn, etc.

Do you know where I can buy an economical car? (money saving, affordable, gas saving?)

Hal is a tasteful dresser.
Use tasty for food. Use tasteful for fashion sense (dresses appropriately, has good fashion judgment).

It was a chilly, crisp day. (dry, low humidity)

He's a very sensitive person. (easily hurt)

Adjective Suffixes | Grammar Quizzes (2)Pop-Q "Historical"

Works Cited

  • Corpus of Contemporary American English (COCA). Brigham Young U, 2013,
  • Frank, Marcella. Modern English: Exercises for Non-native Speakers. Part I, Prentice-Hall, 1972.
  • "List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 16 Aug. 2016,,_suffixes_and_prefixes.
  • "Spectacular Sunset." By C. Sevastopoulos, digital phtograph, own work, 6 Aug 2008.
  • Swan, Michael. Practical English Usage. 3rd ed., Oxford UP, 2005.

Cutting Back

Adjective Suffixes | Grammar Quizzes (3)

Read for Errors

In difficult economical times, people tend to become more practical in their daily lives. That is to say, they cut back on unnecessary activities and keep what is most logic. For example, people who are used to eating out on a daily basismay decide to eat at home a few more nights each week. Or they may choose to socialize by having people over for a home-cook dinner. Another method of saving is cutting down on visits to person care services.People may wait an extra week for haircuts or drop extra services such as pedicures and manicures. Vacations to exotic or far-away places become "stay-cations". Instead, people take car trips to less costing destinations. Memberships to sports clubs are seen as luxuries, while memberships to gyms viewed as more basically. Clothing purchases become more practical. Matching shoes to outfits is a thing of the past—unfashionable.

Whatdoes not change is surprised. People continue buying their children toysand takingthem to amusement parks. People continue purchasing the latest technologic inventions in televisions, computers, tablets and phones. This is logical because they still need entertainment and these are in-house options. People buy gourmet foods in their supermarkets, and they buy fancy-like kitchen equipment such as small electric panini grills, coffee makers with capsules, and soda makers. This is their reward for being thrifty. In short, in tough times, people change their big out-of-house luxuries to little in-house luxuries.Parents set aside their comfortable for their children's needs. Big showy expenses arein poor taste. Small, in-home expenses are in good taste.

be used to — have a habit of (doing something)

cut back, cut down (V) – have less, use less, spend less

cut out, drop (V) – do without, stop having

eat in (V) – eat at home

eat out (V) – eat at a restaurant

exotic (Adj) – foreign, unusual, interesting

expenses(N) — the spending of money

frugal (Adj) – thrifty, saving money, not wasteful

gourmet (Adj) – very good or special food

have someone over (V) – invite a person to your home

in-house (Adj) – used inside the home or made inside the business

in poor taste – judged as unsuitable, unfavorable behavior

luxury (N) – a comfort or pleasure often atextra cost; extra special

options (N) – possible choices or selections

pedicures, manicures (N) – services for the care of finger and toe nails

seen / viewed (V–passive) – are regarded, how people judge them

socialize (V) — spend time with friends

tend (V) — be likely to do something; a natural inclination

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