The Miller Analogies Test (MAT) is all about word analogies. Understanding a word’s definition is often critical to success on the MAT. Word roots, prefixes, and suffixes can all be life preservers if the tough vocabulary in an analogy makes you feel like you’re floundering.

Knowing your roots, prefixes, and suffixes isn’t a cure-all because the English language likes to break its own rules now and then, but it can help you through some tough questions when you just can’t recall the word’s dictionary definition. Here you’ll focus on learning common suffixes.

The opposite of a prefix is a suffix, which is letters attached to the end of a word that alter its definition. For example, the suffix –ology means “the study of.” The word biology means “the study of life.”

Like word roots and prefixes, suffixes don’t automatically make a word mean what their definitions normally indicate. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try to use them to help figure out words, especially if you can’t otherwise define the words.

The following list gets you up to speed on many common suffixes.

  • -ABLE: Being doable; dissolvable: able to be dissolved

  • -ACY: State; normalcy: condition of being normal

  • -AL: Relating to; musical: relating to music

  • -ANT: Performs an action; reactant: part of a chemical reaction

  • -ARY: Associated with; adversary: enemy

  • -ATE: Make; decimate: destroy

  • -DOM: State of being; serfdom: the state of being a serf

  • -EN: Become; sharpen: become sharp

  • -ENCE: Quality of: prevalence: being prevalent

  • -ER: Someone who; painter: one who paints

  • -ESQUE: Similar to; statuesque: like a statue

  • -FUL: Full of; vengeful: full of vengeance

  • -HOOD: A state of being; adulthood: the time being an adult

  • -IAN: Relating to; magician: someone who performs magic tricks

  • -IC: Pertaining to; rhythmic: relating to rhythms

  • -IFY: Make; beautify: to make beautiful

  • -ILE: Relating to; futile: pointless

  • -ISH: Similar; boyish: like a boy

  • -ISM: System; socialism: capital owned by government

  • -IST: One who uses; machinist: someone who works with machines

  • -IVE: Having quality of; talkative: talking a lot

  • -IZE: Forms verbs; harmonize: to play in harmony with

  • -LESS: Lacking; jobless: without a job

  • -LY: Makes adjectives or adverbs from nouns; beastly: like a beast

  • -MENT: Makes nouns from verbs; punishment: penalty

  • -NESS: Makes nouns from adjectives; thoughtfulness: being thoughtful

  • -OR: Someone who; collector: one who collects

  • -OSE: Abounding in; religiose: very religious

  • -OUS: Relating to; poisonous: being full of poison

  • -SHIP: Relationship held; friendship: relationship between friends

  • -TION: Result of a verb; translation: result of being translated

  • -TUDE: Makes nouns from adjectives; gratitude: thankfulness

  • -TY: Quality of; scarcity: being

  • -Y: Quality of; shiny: something that shines

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Vince Kotchian is a full-time standardized test tutor specializing in the MAT, SSAT, ISEE, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. He teaches a GRE prep course at the University of California, San Diego, and has an extensive understanding of analogies and the MAT.

Edwin Kotchian is a MAT tutor and freelance writer who has contributed to a variety of test-prep material.

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