Suffixes that make stressed syllables MOVE!



Do you know what a suffix is? It's a word ending, like -ing, -ed, -ness, or -ful. Some suffixes in English do something strange--they cause the word stress (also called the accent) to move to a different syllable. You may have noticed this moving word stress in words like:


eCOnomy and ecoNOmic

PHOtograph, phoTOgraphy and photoGRAPHic

POlitics and poLItical


Do you see how the stress moved to a different place? That's because of the suffixes at the end of these words: -ic, -graphy, and -ical. Here's another example:


GRAduate and graduAtion


This one has the suffix -ion.


Here's one of the suffix patterns. This is a list of suffixes that cause the word stress to move from its normal place to the syllable right before the suffix:


-ial

-ic

-ical

-ient

-ify

-ion/-ian/-an (different spellings of the same ending)

-ious

-itive/-ative

-itude

-ity

-ive


Try a quick quiz:

Where is the stressed syllable in these words? Make sure you look for the syllable before the suffix--note that sometimes the suffix is more than one syllable. The answers are at the bottom of this page.

  1. in-for-ma-tion

  2. sus-pi-cious

  3. ar-gu-men-ta-tive

  4. e-co-no-mi-cal

  5. cre-a-ti-vi-ty


Let's practice one of the most common suffixes, the -ion/-ian/-an suffix. The word stress is always on the syllable right before the suffix. Try pronouncing these (the bolded letters are the stressed syllable):


education

invitation

emotion

passion

question

solution

nation

administration

musician

beautician

recession

companion

relation

station

confusion

cooperation

Italian

European

Mediterranean

congratulations

promotion

direction

attention


I hope that helps! At some point I'll post some other suffix patterns. Make sure you subscribe to my free email list (at www.queenofexcellentenglish.com) so you'll get my latest lessons on word stress.


Best,

Sigrid :)


ANSWERS 1. ma 2. pi 3. ta 4. no 5. ti


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