Why We All Love A Happy Ending

For all the would-be linguists out there, here’s a little something for you. Did you know that English is a West Germanic language brought over to our fair isle in the fifth or sixth century, by invaders from an area that is now geographically Germany and the Netherlands? Well, now you do!

English: the mongrel language

It would be an understatement to say that English is a bit of a mishmash of a language, with influences reaching far and wide, and such a rich diversity that our orthography is quite confusing, both for native and non-native speakers alike. There are some clues in how our words end, our suffixes if you will, that give clues as to their origin. Here we take a look at some of the most common suffixes, where they come from, and how they are used.

“Look at the wreckage that is my life.”
Ending: age
Meaning/use: Use this one if you want to form mass or abstract nouns from various parts of speech.
Origin: French, Latin
Examples in English: coverage, spoilage, wreckage

“She was in complete servitude to the TV show Supernatural, unable to distinguish reality from fiction.”
Ending: itude
Meaning: This one describes the state of something.
Origin: French, Latin
Examples in English: gratitude, plentitude, servitude


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“Lord Of The Rings might be considered one of the greatests triumphs of literature the world has ever seen.”
Ending: ure
Meaning: This is an abstract noun of action and result.
Origin: French, Latin
Examples in English: pressure, legislature, literature

“Her apparent ease at dealing with people who had never heard of Game Of Thrones was something of a masquerade.”
Ending: ade
Meaning: This suffix is found in nouns and denotes action, process, or a person/persons acting
Origin: French, Latin
Examples in English: renegade, masquerade, blockade

“The sheer brilliance of his appearance out of the blue was one of the most happy circumstances of her life.”
Ending: ance
Meaning: Use this ending when you want to form nouns from verbs.
Origin: French, Latin
Examples in English: brilliance, appearance, circumstance

“We all have a fixation with how many likes and reblogs we get on Tumblr.”
Ending: ation
Meaning/use: This one converts verbs into nouns.
Origin: Latin
Examples in English: fixation, realisation, vindication

“I can completely justify my attachment to Archive Of Our Own.”
Ending: fy/ify
Meaning: This is used when you need to make or cause something to become.
Origin: Latin
Examples in English: justify, testify, vilify


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“I look at **insert fictional character here** and find myself totally corruptible.”
Ending: able/ible
Meaning: This ending shows that something is capable, or worthy of something.
Origin: Latin
Examples in English: breakable, corruptible, incorrigible

“You should always approach showing your disapproval of someone else’s OTP with subtlety and a sense of frailty.”

Ending: ity
Meaning/use: This one forms nouns from adjectives.
Origin: Latin
Examples in English: subtlety, frailty, eccentricity

“Perhaps we should seek counsel for our obsession with Netflix.”
Ending: sel
Meaning: This one creates a noun from a verb.
Origin: Dutch, German
Examples in English: counsel, accounsel, enchisel

“When I grow up, I want to be a novelist, or a pianist, but never a realist.”
Ending: ist
Meaning: This one describes a person who practices or is concerned with something.
Origin: Greek, Latin
Examples in English: pianist, novelist, realist


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“She felt a great sense of contentment marathoning Star Wars all weekend long.”
Ending: ment
Meaning/Use: This one forms nouns from verbs.
Origin: French, Latin
Examples in English: Amendment, banishment, contentment

“The hiatus between the last X Files film and the new season has been dismal.”
Ending: mal
Meaning: A combining word that means ‘bad’.
Origin: French
Examples in English: dismal, abnormal, abysmal

“Is it wrong to take a photograph of celebrities trying to eat their dinner at Yo Sushi?”
Ending: graph
Meaning: This one is used in a combining form to mean drawn or written.
Origin: Greek
Examples: telegraph, monograph, photograph

“I choose to suspend disbelief about what happened in The Force Awakens. You know what I’m talking about.”
Ending: end
Meaning: This one uses nouns formed describing patients or receivers of actions.
Origin: German
Examples: Dividend, apprehend, suspend

Of course, of course there are exceptions, being the glorious language that is English, and we can use the example of the noble vegetable to demonstrate. The word vegetable ends in the Latin able, yet a vegetable isn’t ‘capable’ or ‘worthy of’ being anything but a vegetable. And surely we can be a vegetable by vegetating for our Star Wars marathon but…it’s all a bit confusing, isn’t it?

Are you interested in finding out more about the history behind a language? Or helping us be less confused? Perhaps you’re learning a language yourself and struggling with your own prefixes, suffixes and roots. Want some help? Or maybe just some company? Why don’t you contact us and see how we can assist.