Word formation (Part 2)

Hello everyone!

How’s December treating you? In the last post we started taking a look at word formation and we had some nouns to form, how did you manage? Let’s take a look!

  1. Recommend – Recommendation
  2. Create – Creator, creation
  3. Protective – Protector, protection
  4. Aggressive – Aggression / aggressor
  5. Train – Trainer, training
  6. Educate – Education / educator
  7. Complete – Completion
  8. Agree – Agreement
  9. Continue – Continuation / continuity
  10. Reliable – Reliability

Today we’re taking a look at the formation of adjectives. For that we need to think about the following suffixes: -ing, -ed, -ive, -ful, -less, -able, -ible, -ic, -al, -ful, -less.

But we’ll also need to use negative prefixes, such as im-, un-, in-, il-, ir- , dis- or mis-.

Depending on the word we are forming the adjective from we’ll use one suffix or another. Take a look at the following examples:

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

Poison → poisonous

Ambition → Ambitious

Pain → painful / painless

Moment → momentary

Magic → magical

  • If we are forming an adjective from a verb we can use:

Remark → remarkable

Access → accessible

Resist → resistant 

Attract → attractive

Surprise → surprising / surprised


Regarding prefixes, there aren’t many rules in English but we can use the following when we want to form the opposite of an adjective:

  • il- if the adjective starts wih “l”. For example: legal → illegal
  • im- if the adjective starts with “m” or “p”. For example: mature → immature , patient → impatient
  • ir- if the adjective starts with “r”. For example: regular → irregular

Note that there are exceptions to these rules! For example: loyal → disloyal

Amongst the negative prefixes above there’s one that has a slightly different meaning. Compare the following words and their meanings:

disappear: not appear

immature: not mature

misspell: spell something incorrectly

misunderstand: understand something incorrectly

Remember! When we add the prefix “mis-“ we are saying we’ve done something incorrectly, not that we haven’t done it!


Now, let’s practise!

Form as many adjectives as possible from the following words:

  1. Amuse
  2. Amaze
  3. Flex
  4. Possess
  5. Practice
  6. Magic
  7. Danger
  8. Honor
  9. Accident
  10. Success


Try to avoid checking a dictionary! We’ll see the answers in our next, very special, post!

Happy December! 🙂

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