suffix – Grammar Party (2022)

Table of Contents
Bibliophile. Logophile. Discophile. These are three words that describe me. Lover of books. Lover of words. Lover of “gramophone records.” When you add the suffix –phile to the end of a word, that’s what it denotes, a “lover of <insert whatever you love here>.” (That’s not all –phile means, but the rest is all sciencey, so we’ll talk about that after the cooler stuff.) Here are more –phile words. Which ones describe you? (All definitions are from Oxford English Dictionary Online.) Anglophile:a supporter or admirer of England (or Britain), its people, customs, etc. astrophile: a lover of the stars audiophile: a devotee of high-fidelity reproduction of sound bibliophile: a lover of books; a book-fancier cinephile: a film lover or enthusiast; a film buff discophile: an enthusiast for and collector of gramophone records enophile: a lover of wine Francophile: fond of or having great admiration for France or the French hippophile: a lover of horses Japanophile: a lover of Japan or the Japanese logophile: a lover of words. necrophile: a person affected by necrophilia; one who is fascinated by death or dead bodies technophile: a person who likes or readily adopts technology theophile: one who loves God pedophile: an adult who is sexually attracted to children xenophile: fond of or attracted by foreign things or people videophile: one who is very keen on watching television or video recordings If you’re a necrophile who’s reading this post: Hey, how are you doing? I think it’s great that you are interested in learning more about grammar and vocabulary and linguistics and all the other neat stuff we talk about on Grammar Party. You know, I try not to judge. And if you’re a Russophile, I think that’s okay, too. I mean, the Cold War is over. And, I have to admit, I think it’s cool that Vladimir Putin takes all those shirtless photos of himself on horses, and he beats up sharks or whatever. You’re also welcome to join in the conversation. But this next part is where I might lose some of you. This is the sciencey part I mentioned earlier. (Don’t worry. There’s other great stuff at the end.) Other meaning of –phile The suffix –phile is also used in biology and chemistry. This is how the Oxford English Dictionary describes it: forming nouns and adjectives with the sense “(a thing) having an affinity for a certain substance or class of substances, a particular kind of environment, etc., denoted by the first element.” For example, the word halophile means (according to the OED) “an organism which grows in or can tolerate saline conditions.” Likewise, acidophile means (also according to the OED) “of a cell or cellular component: staining readily with an acid dye.” Yeah, sciencey stuff. But you get the drift. -philia and –philic The suffixes –philia and –philic are related to –phile. Philia is actually also a noun which means “amity, affection, friendship; fondness, liking,” coming from the ancient Greek word for “friendship.” (Thanks again to the OED for that one.) When you add –philia as a suffix, it means “love of <something.>” So, for instance, logophilia means “love of words.” And horolophilia means “a love of timepieces.” (Horloge is French for clock.) And, since we seem to be on some kind of roll with this one, necrophilia means “a love of dead bodies.” Meanwhile, the suffix –philic means “liking/loving.” You can add it to the end of a word to make an adjective. As an example, for our friends of the dead, we could say, “He has necrophilic desires.” Okay, that’s enough with that talk. You get the idea. Feel free to comment about while kind of –phile you are. And, as always, if you want more word nerdy stuff, you can follow me on twitter with the handle @GrammarParty. Happy trails.

July 21, 2020July 21, 2020 / Erin Servais / 41 Comments

suffix – Grammar Party (1)

Ever wonder what those prefixes and suffixes we link up to words actually mean? Native English speakers use these letters that go before and after words all day long, usually without a thought to their definitions. But we do use them for a reason: they alter the meaning of the word.

For instance, if someone is being careless, a native English speaker would be quick to say, “Hey, stop acting carelessly,” without hesitating to recall that the suffix –ly means “in the matter of.”

But, oh those poor English learners. It takes time to memorize all of our prefixes and suffixes and learn which to attach to what word. (A unicycle is quite different from a tricycle, you know.) It also doesn’t help that English, being that it is the bastard child of multiple European languages, adopted its prefixes and suffixes from Latin, Greek, and Old French.

But, alas, here we are.

To brush up on your skills, below is a collection of prefixes and suffixes and their meanings.

PrefixMeaningExample
a-notatypical
anti-againstantifascist
bi-twobiannual
counter-against, oppositecounterfeit
de-remove, reversederegulate
dis-opposite, reverse, notdisagree
extra-beyond, outsideextraterrestrial
fore-beforeforefather
in-notinvisible
inter-betweenintermingle
mal-badmaltreatment
mis-not, wrongmiscomprehend
neo-newneoconservative
non-notnonstarter
over-excessiveoverspend
post-afterpostscript
pre-beforeprecolonial
proto-first, primitiveprototype
re-repeatreread
sub-undersubmarine
tele-distantteleport
trans-acrosstranscontinental
tri-threetricycle
un-remove, reverseuntie
uni-oneunilateral
SuffixMeaningExample
-ablecapable ofinflatable
-anttype of personassistant
-athonlong-lastingmarathon
-cidekillinginfanticide
-domstate of beingfreedom
-erdoer of an actionworker
-erytype of workbakery
-essfemale ofheiress
-esquereminiscent ofpicturesque
-ettesmall version ofkitchenette
-festindulgence inchatfest
-fyto makeelectrify
-hoodstate, qualitychildhood
-ibleabilityreliable
-isha littlesqueamish
-ismcondition or doctrinefeminism
-isttype of personflorist
-lesswithoutpenniless
-lyin a manner ofquickly
-ousfull ofjoyous
-washchanging the appearance ofwhitewash

Erin Servais is the founder ofDot and Dash, LLC, an author-services company focusing on women writers and offering a range of editing, coaching, and social media packages.

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September 25, 2017February 18, 2020 / Erin Servais / 6 Comments

One of the ways we use the suffix –ful is to explain how much of something exists somewhere. Or, as my go-to dictionary, Merriam-Webster, puts it:

suffix – Grammar Party (3)

This means in our question of “Is it handfull or handful?” the answer is handfulwith one L.

However, as you can see in the dictionary’s example, handful isn’t the only use of this suffix. Basically, anything that can hold something can get the –ful suffix.

For example:

roomful can hold people
bucketful can hold apples
eyeful can hold beautiful visions
oceanful can hold fish
glassful can hold juice
pocketful can hold tiny treasures
spaceshipful can hold aliens

You get the gist. Now here’s how they work in sentences:

The kitten held out a pawful of jewels to its human.
Frida unleashed a brainful of magical powers onto the bad guys.
The lizard discovered a desertful of hot sand and rocks to enjoy.

Now go forth and use your –ful suffix with vigor.

Erin Servais is founder of Dot and Dash, LLC, and author services company that can turn your writing from phlegm to gem. Learn how you can hire her today.

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suffix – Grammar Party (5)

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April 26, 2012April 23, 2021 / Erin Servais / 5 Comments

Realization. Industrialization. Immobilization. We use words ending in the suffix -ization so frequently that many native English speakers might not know what –ization even means and how adding it changes the meaning of a word.

-ization: action, process, or result of making
Merriam-Webster

When we add –ization to the words realize, industrial, and immobile (like we did at the beginning of this post), here’s how their meanings change:

realization: the action of realizing; the state of being realized
Merriam-Webster

Example: This house is the realization of years of planning and building.
In other words: Years of planning and building realized the end product of this house.

industrialization: to make industrial
Merriam-Webster

Example: The industrialization of countries is a major factor in improving economic viability.
In other words: Making countries industrialized is a major factor in improving economic viability.

immobilization: to make immobile
Merriam-Webster

Example: The immobilization of her broken leg aided in its healing.
In other words: Immobilizing her broken leg aided in its healing.

List of –ization words

actualizationmaximization
alphabetizationmodernization
Americanizationnationalization
brutalizationnormalization
capitalizationoptimization
categorizationorganization
colonizationpersonalization
commercializationrandomization
decentralizationrevitalization
deodorizationsanitization
equalizationsymbolization
externalizationsummarization
fossilizationterrorization
generalizationtraumatization
globalizationunionization
hospitalizationutilization
initializationvandalization
legalizationvaporization
liberalizationvisualization
magnetizationwinterization

You can find a longer list of –ization words here.

Alternatives to –ization
Recently, I saw the word professionalization, and I thought, “What an ugly word.” Adding –ization to words often turns them into five syllable plus tongue twisters.

If you also feel that the suffix –ization lacks a certain elegance, there are ways to avoid adding it to the word you’d like to use. For instance, there are many times when you can rewrite a sentence so you simply use the root word.

Here are some examples:

Original: The popularization of vampire movies is astounding.
Rewrite: It’s astounding how popular vampire movies are.

Original: The revitalization of downtown is important.
Rewrite: It is important that we revitalize downtown.

Original: We must achieve optimization of our skills.
Rewrite: We must optimize our skills.

What do you think?
Do you like using –ization words? Or do you find them to be overly complicated? What are your methods to avoid using –ization words? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Erin Servais is the founder ofDot and Dash, LLC, an author-services company focusing on women writers and offering a range of editing, coaching, and social media packages.

Sign up for theDot and Dash newsletterto get writing tips and tricks and exclusive deals.

Follow Dot and Dash on social media.
Twitter:@GrammarParty
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March 9, 2012 / Erin Servais / 8 Comments

Lesson: learning the suffix -phile and other awesomeness

suffix – Grammar Party (6)

If you find this photo strangely attractive, you might just be a Russophile.

Bibliophile. Logophile. Discophile. These are three words that describe me. Lover of books. Lover of words. Lover of “gramophone records.” When you add the suffix –phile to the end of a word, that’s what it denotes, a “lover of <insert whatever you love here>.” (That’s not all –phile means, but the rest is all sciencey, so we’ll talk about that after the cooler stuff.)

Here are more –phile words. Which ones describe you? (All definitions are from Oxford English Dictionary Online.)

Anglophile:a supporter or admirer of England (or Britain), its people, customs, etc.

astrophile: a lover of the stars

audiophile: a devotee of high-fidelity reproduction of sound

bibliophile: a lover of books; a book-fancier

cinephile: a film lover or enthusiast; a film buff

discophile: an enthusiast for and collector of gramophone records

enophile: a lover of wine

Francophile: fond of or having great admiration for France or the French

hippophile: a lover of horses

Japanophile: a lover of Japan or the Japanese

logophile: a lover of words.

necrophile: a person affected by necrophilia; one who is fascinated by death or dead bodies

technophile: a person who likes or readily adopts technology

theophile: one who loves God

pedophile: an adult who is sexually attracted to children

Russophile: friendly to, or favoring, Russia (or the former Soviet Union), its people, customs

xenophile: fond of or attracted by foreign things or people

videophile: one who is very keen on watching television or video recordings

If you’re a necrophile who’s reading this post: Hey, how are you doing? I think it’s great that you are interested in learning more about grammar and vocabulary and linguistics and all the other neat stuff we talk about on Grammar Party. You know, I try not to judge. And if you’re a Russophile, I think that’s okay, too. I mean, the Cold War is over. And, I have to admit, I think it’s cool that Vladimir Putin takes all those shirtless photos of himself on horses, and he beats up sharks or whatever. You’re also welcome to join in the conversation. But this next part is where I might lose some of you. This is the sciencey part I mentioned earlier. (Don’t worry. There’s other great stuff at the end.)

Other meaning of –phile

The suffix –phile is also used in biology and chemistry. This is how the Oxford English Dictionary describes it: forming nouns and adjectives with the sense “(a thing) having an affinity for a certain substance or class of substances, a particular kind of environment, etc., denoted by the first element.”

For example, the word halophile means (according to the OED) “an organism which grows in or can tolerate saline conditions.” Likewise, acidophile means (also according to the OED) “of a cell or cellular component: staining readily with an acid dye.” Yeah, sciencey stuff. But you get the drift.

-philia and –philic

The suffixes –philia and –philic are related to –phile. Philia is actually also a noun which means “amity, affection, friendship; fondness, liking,” coming from the ancient Greek word for “friendship.” (Thanks again to the OED for that one.) When you add –philia as a suffix, it means “love of <something.>” So, for instance, logophilia means “love of words.” And horolophilia means “a love of timepieces.” (Horloge is French for clock.) And, since we seem to be on some kind of roll with this one, necrophilia means “a love of dead bodies.”

Meanwhile, the suffix –philic means “liking/loving.” You can add it to the end of a word to make an adjective. As an example, for our friends of the dead, we could say, “He has necrophilic desires.” Okay, that’s enough with that talk. You get the idea.

Feel free to comment about while kind of –phile you are. And, as always, if you want more word nerdy stuff, you can follow me on twitter with the handle @GrammarParty. Happy trails.

suffix – Grammar Party (7)

Welcome back for our final installment from the horizontal language department. Previously we discussed the em dash and the en dash. Today we will learn about the shortest in the dash-like family, the hyphen.

Hyphen basics
Hyphens link:

  • a prefix or a suffix to a word; and
  • two or more words together

Hyphens linking prefixes and suffixes
One of the most difficult questions when it comes to this topic is whether to hyphenate. In general, there is a movement away from hyphenation when it comes to prefixes and suffixes.

Think about the words bicycle and misinformed. If we added a hyphen before these prefixes, the words would look like this: bi-cycle and mis-informed. However, due to the trend away from hyphenation, these words now look wrong to us with their hyphens.

Still, there are times when we include hyphens with prefixes and suffixes. Today, one of the hyphen’s main purposes is to help with ease of reading. A general rule is to hyphenate when a lack of a hyphen would cause confusion or when it is not a familiar word without the hyphen.

For example, think of the word recreation. Recreation, without the hyphen, means exercise or play. Re-creation, with the hyphen, means to create something again. The words have two different meanings depending on whether you use a hyphen. The same idea goes with recover and re-cover.

For the second part of the rule, let’s consider my obsession with collecting R2D2 figurines. (Stay with me.) If someone broke into my apartment and stole all of my R2D2 toys, I would be R2D2-less. However, I would not be R2D2less because, well, that word just looks strange. Think also about someone who just quit smoking. They would now be tobacco-free. They wouldn’t be tobaccofree. In both these instances, you need the hyphen because these words are not familiar without them.

Unfortunately, there are few definitive rules when it comes to using hyphens with prefixes and suffixes. However, The Chicago Manual of Style’s chapter seven has a handy list of hyphenated and unhyphenated words.

Hyphens linking two or more words together
This use of hyphens thankfully has more definitive rules.

1. Compound modifiers with nouns: Compound modifiers are two or more words that work together to describe a noun. Think about half-full jar (Half-full is the compound modifier.) and closed-lipped smile (Closed-lipped is the compound modifier.). When these come before a noun, they are usually always hyphenated.

Here are more examples:

red-and-white dress
seven-year-old boy
three-time champion
well-read man
thirty-year reign
second-best option

However, if your modifier includes a word ending in –ly, it does not take a hyphen, such as in these examples:

highly paid executive
amazingly hilarious movie
humorously dull person
finally pursued goal

2. Omission of part of a hyphenated expression: This also has to do with compound modifiers. Let’s start with an example. Say you have a five-year plan (Note the hyphen.) and a ten-year plan. (Five-year and ten-year are the compound modifiers.) If you wanted to write about both of these plans at the same time, you could write my five-year plan and my ten-year plan. Or you could combine the two to write my five- and ten-year plans. Here, we took out the first year, but we still need the hyphen.

Here are more examples:

twenty- and thirty-year payment plans
first- and second-year students
Minneapolis- or St. Paul-bound passengers
fur- and gut-covered man

Final note
As you can tell, the rules (and sometimes the lack thereof) for hyphens are complicated. I have touched on basics here, but there are many exceptions depending on the word. I recommend further investigation if you are researching a specific case. Like I mentioned before, chapter seven of The Chicago Manual of Style breaks down case-by-case scenarios in better detail. You can also try that old trick of checking the dictionary.

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