Want to expand your English vocabulary? Here’s a vocabulary trick to take one word, and turn it into many more.

The six suffixes (word endings) shown in the charts below are powerful shortcuts that can multiply your vocabulary easily and quickly. Using such vocabulary in everyday conversations, business email, or exams like the IELTS or TOEFL will definitely take your English to a higher level.

Structure
Base Word Adjective Adverb Noun
power powerful powerfully powerfulness
powerless powerlessly powerlessness
Adjective Suffix
-ful to be full of a certain quality He’s a careful driver.
-less to be without a certain quality He’s a careless driver.
Adverb Suffix
-fully to do something with a certain quality He drives carefully.
-lessly to do something without a certain quality He drives carelessly.
Noun Suffix
-fullness to have the presence of a quality His driving is characterized by carefulness.
-lessness to have the absence of a quality His driving is characterized by carelessness.


Some base words take all six suffixes:

Base Word Adjective Adverb Noun
care careful carefully carefulness
careless carelessly carelessness
faith faithful faithfully faithfulness
faithless faithlessly faithlessness
fear fearful fearfully fearfulness
fearless fearlessly fearlessness
grace graceful gracefully gracefulness
graceless gracelessly gracelessness
harm harmful harmfully harmfulness
harmless harmlessly harmlessness
help helpful helpfully helpfulness
helpless helplessly helplessness
hope hopeful hopefully hopefulness
hopeless hopelessly hopelessness
joy joyful joyfully joyfulness
joyless joylessly joylessness
meaning meaningful meaningfully meaningfulness
meaningless meaninglessly meaninglessness
mercy merciful mercifully mercifulness
merciless mercilessly mercilessness
pain painful painfully painfulness
painless painlessly painlessness
power powerful powerfully powerfulness
powerless powerlessly powerlessness
rest restful restfully restfulness
restless restlessly restlessness
shame shameful shamefully shamefulness
shameless shamelessly shamelessness
tact tactful tactfully tactfulness
tactless tactlessly tactlessness
taste tasteful tastefully tastefulness
tasteless tastelessly tastelessness
thank thankful thankfully thankfulness
thankless thanklessly thanklessness
thought thoughtful thoughtfully thoughtfulness
thoughtless thoughtlessly thoughtlessness
use useful usefully usefulness
useless uselessly uselessness


Some base words take only the -ful and -fully suffixes:

Base Word Adjective Adverb
beauty beautiful beautifully
bliss blissful blissfully
cheer cheerful cheerfully
delight delightful delightfully
disgrace disgraceful disgracefully
dread dreadful dreadfully
duty dutiful dutifully
fate fateful fatefully
force forceful forcefully
hate hateful hatefully
peace peaceful peacefully
play playful playfully
respect respectful respectfully
right rightful rightfully
sin sinful sinfully
skill skillful skillfully
success successful successfully
truth truthful truthfully
wonder wonderful wonderfully
youth youthful youthfully


Some base words take only the -less, -lessly, or -lessness suffixes:

Base Word Adjective Adverb Noun
aim aimless aimlessly aimlessness
breath breathless breathlessly breathlessness
effort effortless effortlessly effortlessness
heart heartless heartlessly heartlessness
life lifeless lifelessly lifelessness
motion motionless motionlessly motionlessness
sense senseless senselessly senselessness
sleep sleepless sleeplessly sleeplessness
weight weightless weightlessly weightlessness
worth worthless worthlessly worthlessness


Some base words take only the -less suffix:

Base Word Adjective
age ageless
back backless
bone boneless
bottom bottomless
child childless
collar collarless
cord cordless
direction directionless
face faceless
father fatherless
flaw flawless
home homeless
job jobless
limit limitless
mother motherless
name nameless
regard regardless
self selfless
sense senseless
sleeve sleeveless
speech speechless
stain stainless
word wordless

The more often you use such vocabulary, the more easily it will become part of your regular vocabulary. Correct repetition is the key to mastering any language, including English.

engVid quiz
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.
How can you say "full of care" in one word?

How can you describe a food with no taste?

How do you describe a life filled with meaning?

Can you say both "sleepful" and "sleepless"?

How do you describe a phone with no cord?

Which of the following words is a noun?

How could you describe a cake with no eggs?

Which of the following is NOT an adverb?

Which is the following is NOT an adjective?


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