Word formation ( Part 1)

Hello everyone and happy November!!

In our last post we talked about linkers and cohesive devices and I promised you some examples. Here they are:


  1. Despite not feeling well, Helen went to the cinema.
  2. I study English whereas my brother studies French
  3. Although I like bananas I prefer blueberries.


  1. Provided you study hard, you’ll pass the exam
  2. As long as you pay for the fuel I’ll drive you there.
  3. Unless I have a lot of homework, I’ll go out with you


  1. I like broccoli as well as lettuce


  1. I’m studying in order to get my degree
  2. I’ll go to bed early so I wake up rested in the morning.


  1. I couldn’t go out because it was raining
  2. I couldn’t go out because of the rain

Are they similar to yours? Feel free to send us your sentences or ask any questions in the comment section below! 😉

Today, we are going to talk about word formation, a great tool for any English language student and an important part of the Use of English exam paper for FC and above (you can check our “exam countdown” tips for this paper here.

Basically, we form new words by adding prefixes and suffixes to a root word. For example, let’s take the verb “pay”, depending on the prefixes and/or suffixes we add we can form nouns, adjectives or even more verbs! Take a look:

Noun: Payment

Adjective: paid, unpaid, payable.

Verbs: repay, underpay, overpay, etc.

Notice the prefixes and suffixes highlighted, those are the ones giving our root word a new meaning. Throughout the following posts we’ll take a look at all of them and today we’re starting with the formation of nouns.

As we can see in the word ‘payment’ we use the suffix -ment to form a noun from a verb but, what other suffixes can we use to form nouns?

We can use these suffixes to form a noun from a verb:

  • -(t)ion / -ation / -ition (react → reaction / exclame → exclamation / transit → transition)
  • -sion (extend → extension)
  • -er / -or (paint → painter / act → actor)
  • -ee (employ →  employee)
  • -ance / -ence (attend → attendance / differ →  difference)

If we want to form a noun from an adjective we can use the following suffixes:

  • -ness (restless →  restlessness)
  • -ity (real → reality)

* Note that we can also use the suffixes -ance and -ence to for this category. For example:

  • impertinent → impertinence
  • dominant →  dominance


Let’s practise! Can you form nouns from the following words? Remember to think of the meaning of the words formed.

For example: Compete → Competition (event) / Competitor (person)

  1. Recommend
  2. Create
  3. Protective
  4. Aggresive
  5. Train
  6. Educate
  7. Complete
  8. Agree
  9. Continue
  10. Reliable


As usual, you’ll get the answers next week when we’ll also take a look at prefixes and suffixes for adjective formation, keep your eyes peeled! 🙂



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