Adding Suffixes to Form Nouns
-ness (nouns from adjectives)
-ness is one of many noun suffixes. It is used to make nouns from adjectives, although not every adjective can be modified in this way. Here are some common adjectives whose noun forms are made by adding -ness:
Note the spelling change to adjectives that end in -y:
- Everybody deserves happiness in their job. To be happy is a basic human right.
- There was a lot of sadness in the office when people learned of his illness.
- The company president’s readiness to have a personal word with everybody at the work party was much appreciated.
- His tidiness in his office makes him a very easy person to work with.
-ity (nouns from adjectives)
-ity is another noun suffix that is formed from adjectives. Here are some adjectives whose noun forms are made in this way:
Note the spelling changes that occur in these conversions:
- Everything was possible, but the possibility of Jason returning home from work in a good mood was remote.
- I was given a great deal of responsibility in my new job.
- It was a complex operation but such complexities are common in cardiac surgery.
- Her behavior was hilarious but hilarity is not easily tolerated in a hospital.
-tion / -sion (nouns from verbs)
-tion, or, less frequently -sion (both pronounced with a ‘sh’ sound on the initial letter) are noun suffixes that are used to make nouns from verbs. Here are some common verbs whose noun forms are made by adding -tion:
Note that adjustments that are necessary to the spelling in each case:
- He admitted he had lied and this admission landed him in court.
- The dress will have to be altered and I’m going to have the alteration done professionally.
- I decided to confess to the robbery. The decision was easy. My description was in all the newspapers. And I had been on the run for three weeks.
Investigate the following adjectives and determine what suffix they need to become a noun. Then, choose the correct noun to complete the sentences.
1. The ___________ of paper in the office began to worry the teachers who had to print exams for tomorrow’s class.
2. John’s ___________ after his surgery was no surprise to his family. They knew it would be a couple months until he had his full strength back.
3. After Jessica messed up at work and cost the company $3,000, she knew the ___________ of her getting fired was high.
4. Bob knew he needed a vacation when he couldn’t do simple _____________ of 30 x 2 without a calculator.
5. New ____________ indicates that people’s _______________ is increasing. Some think it’s because there are so many things to worry about and not enough time to remember and process them.
Answers from Last Tidbit
- I know you are tired and disappointed, but don’t take it out on me. It’s not my fault you had such a horrible day at work.
- I take my hat off to you for finishing that project with such a tight deadline. You really impressed us all. Congratulations!
- I couldn’t believe how beautiful the view is from our new office! It took my breath away!
- Don’t take your nice office for granted. I’ve heard they may be reorganizing our workspaces so you may not have this view for much longer.
- Angela’s discovered that the best philosophy at work is to take it as it comes. Little by little, she’ll eventually get all her work done.