Want to expand your English vocabulary? Prefixes and suffixes are powerful shortcuts to achieving your goal. A prefix is a group of letters added to the beginning of a word, and a suffix is a group of letters added to the end of a word. Both prefixes and suffixes (known collectively as affixes) can reveal or modify the meaning of a word.

The two suffixes shown below are particularly impressive! They can be added to hundreds of everyday adjectives and nouns to create advanced verbs and nouns. Here’s what to do. Don’t try to learn all the words. Understand the principle, and highlight the words you’re most likely to need. Then, start using them while speaking or writing. Including such precise words in your IELTS/TOEFL/PTE exam, professional resume, job interview, client meeting, or business email can dramatically increase your chances of academic and professional success.

1. Verb Suffix: -ize (US) or -ise (UK)

  • makes a word into a verb
  • usually means to make

2. Compound Noun Suffix: -ization (US) or -isation (UK)

  • makes a word into a noun
  • usually refers to the act of making or a state of being


We must make the hotel more modern.
We need to modernize the hotel.
The modernization of the hotel is essential.

actual actualize actualization
alphabet alphabetize alphabetization
authority authorize authorization
capital capitalize capitalization
category categorize categorization
character characterize characterization
civil civilize civilization
colony colonize colonization
commercial commercialize commercialization
computer computerize computerization
concept conceptualize conceptualization
criminal criminalize criminalization
crystal crystalize crystallization
department departmentalize departmentalization
democracy democratize democratization
demon demonize demonization
economy economize economization
emotional emotionalize emotionalization
energy energize energization
equal equalize equalization
external externalize externalization
familiar familiarize familiarization
fertile fertilize fertilization
fiction fictionalize fictionalization
final finalize finalization
formal formalize formalization
fraternity fraternize fraternization
general generalize generalization
glamour glamorize glamorization
global globalize globalization
hospital hospitalize hospitalization
human humanize humanization
hypnosis hypnotize hypnotization
ideal idealize idealization
idol idolize idolization
illegal illegalize illegalization
immune immunize immunization
incentive incentivize incentivization
individual individualize individualization
initial initialize initialization
institution institutionalize institutionalization
intellectual intellectualize intellectualization
internal internalize internalization
international internationalize internationalization
italics italicize italicization
jeopardy jeopardize jeopardization
legal legalize legalization
legitimate legitimatize legitimization
liberal liberalize liberalization
local localize localization
magnet magnetize magnetization
margin marginalize marginalization
mechanics mechanize mechanization
memory memorize memorization
minimum minimize minimization
miniature miniaturize miniaturization
maximum maximize maximization
mobile mobilize mobilization
modern modernize modernization
moisture moisturize moisturization
monopoly monopolize monopolization
monetary monetize monetization
notary notarize motorization
national nationalize nationalization
normal normalize normalization
notary notarize notarization
organized organize organization
optimal optimize optimization
patron patronize patronization
penal penalize penalization
personal personalize personalization
polar polarize polarization
political politicize politicization
popular popularize popularization
priority prioritize prioritization
private privatize privatization
rational rationalize rationalization
random randomize randomization
scandal scandalize scandalization
secular secularize secularization
sensitive sensitize sensitization
serial serialize serialization
sexual sexualize sexualization
social socialize socialization
special specialize specialization
stable stabilize stabilization
sterile sterilize sterilization
subsidy subsidize subsidization
symbol symbolize symbolization
terror terrorize terrorization
tranquil tranquilize tranquilization
trauma traumatize traumatization
union unionize unionization
urban urbanize urbanization
vandal vandalize vandalization
verbal verbalize verbalization
victim victimize victimization
visual visualize visualization
vital vitalize vitalization
western westernize westernization

Note: American spelling has been used in the examples and chart above.

engVid quiz

Test your understanding of this English lesson

Test your understanding of the English lesson by answering these questions. You will get the answers and your score at the end of the quiz.
Change the word "authority" to a noun, to complete this sentence.
I'm still waiting to receive __________ of my work visa.

Create a verb and a noun from the word "computer".

When you __________, you refer to things in general.

When you __________, you spend time with people.

If you talk and don't give others a chance to talk, you __________ the conversation.

__________ was a popular way to learn many years ago.

The two countries are trying to __________ relations. After a difficult period, they want things to go back to the way they were.

Our English teacher said it would help to _________ the words into verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs. She was right!

The internet has __________ the world.

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