-ness (nouns from adjectives)

-ness is a noun suffix. 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:

happy sad weak good ready tidy forgetful

Note the spelling change to adjectives that end in -y:

  • People deserve happiness in their life.  It is a basic human right to be happy.

  • A lot of sadness invaded the office when people learned of their boss's illness.

  • His readiness to have a personal word with everybody at the reception was much highlighted.

  • He is such a forgetful person. Such forgetfulness cannot be excused.

  • If you want to work for such an organisation, you are expected to maintain a high standard of tidiness in your appearance.
-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:

admit alter inform decide describe multiply

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 informed the police that I had seen one of the robbers in Margate and this information led to the arrest of the gang.

  • I decided to give myself up. The decision was easy. My description was in all the newspapers. And I had been on the run for three weeks.

  • Multiplication is the easiest part of arithmetic - much easier than addition, subtraction or division.
-ment (nouns from verbs and adjectives)

-ment is another suffix that is used to make nouns from verbs and occasionally from adjectives:

enjoy replace appoint arrange merry
  • Everyone was quite merry by now. Such merriment had to do with the proximity of the Holiday Seasons.
  • Enjoyment is the most important thing in a person's life and you simply don't know how to enjoy yourselves people!

  • You will need to replace the broken toilet and unfortunately replacements cost 3,000 dollars.

  • I don't know if I will be appointed to the position, but I have an appointment to see the manager this morning.

  • I had arranged to be there early so that all the arrangements would be in place by the time Yuan arrived.

-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:

possible probable responsible complex hilarious scarce

Note the spelling changes that occur in these conversions:

  • Everything was possible, but the probability, or even possibility, of the committee saving the company 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 this business.

  • Her behaviour was hilarious but hilarity is not easily tolerated in a school like this.

  • The scarcity of water was massive; however, all natural resources were scarce.
more restrictive noun suffixes (nouns from nouns)

-ship (abstract nouns denoting different kinds of relationships)

relationship friendship partnership membership
  • His friendship with Carole slowly turned into a relationship.

  • I'm going to go into partnership with SIP and that will automatically give me membership of the golf club.

-hood (abstract nouns denoting different kinds of 'families')

childhood motherhood neighbourhood priesthood
  • Childhood and motherhood/fatherhood are two very important stages in our lives.

  • The neighbourhood was extremely quiet and the priesthood was attractive to many in this peaceful environment
-ance / -ence (nouns from adjectives and verbs)

-ance and -ence are suffixes that are used to make nouns from adjectives and sometimes from verbs:

absent silent independent important annoy appear exist

  • The importance of independence for teenagers should not be underestimated.

  • I can understand your annoyance - I'd be furious if she ever treated me like that.

  • His appearance did not permit him to be admitted.

  • His existence as a writer was threatened when people stopped buying his books.