Silly Suffixes

Contributor: Ryann Maginn. Lesson ID: 12349

Many animals need tails to be complete and add meaning to life. Some words need tails as well. Those tails are called "suffixes," and they give words new meaning. You will truly be thankful for this!


Comprehension, Grammar

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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  • Why do we add certain endings to words such as /y/ or /less/?
  • Do they serve a purpose?

They certainly do!

  • What are suffixes?

Suffixes are letters or groups of letters added to the end of base or root words. These endings change the meaning of words, and sometimes change the overall spelling of the root word. Different words have rules according to the last few letters of word about how to add the suffix.

In this lesson, you will learn how the suffixes "–y," "-ly," "-ful," and "–less" are defined, and how they change the meaning of words when added.

Below you will find the individual definitions for the four suffixes:


  • meaning "made up of" or "characterized"
  • gooey

Rules for "-y"

  • Most words can simply add the "y" ending (dough + y = doughy).
  • If a word ends consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) + "y," you must double the last consonant before the y (fog + y = foggy).
  • If a word ends in "e," you must first drop the e and then add y (spice + y = spicy).


  • meaning "in what manner"
  • badly

Rules for "-ly"

  • For words ending in a consonant, simply add ly (slow + ly = slowly).
  • Words ending in "l" must be doubled (cool + ly = coolly).
  • Words ending in "e" remain the same and simply add ly (ex: love + ly = lovely).
  • If a word ends in a consonant + "le", we change the e to a "y" (gentle + y = gently).
  • If a word ends in "y," we change the y to an "i" and add "ly" (happy + ly = happily).


  • meaning "full of"
  • thankful

Rules for "-ful"

  • If the word ends in a consonant + "y," change the y to an "i," then add "-ful" (beauty + ful = beautiful).
  • If the base word ends in a vowel + "y," simply add "ful" (play + ful = playful).
  • All other words can simply add –ful to the end.


  • meaning "without"
  • fearless

Rules for "-less"

  • If a word ends in a consonant, add "-less" (mind + less = mindless).
  • If a word ends with a consonant + "y", change the y to an "i" and add "-less" (penny + less = penniless).
  • When a word ends with a vowel + "y", we keep the y and add "–less" (toy + less = toyless).
  • When a word ends in a silent "e", the e remains and we add "-less" (care + less = careless).

That's a lot of rules, so make sure you understand them so you can move on to the Got It? section for some practice!

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