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14.2: Lesson Twenty-six

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The Suffixes -ic and -al

1. The suffixes -ic and -al can be used to turn nouns into adjectives. Nouns are words that name persons, places, or things and make sense in this blank:

The ________ seemed okay.

Adjectives are words that modify or describe nouns and make sense in this blank:

It's a very ________ thing.

For instance, prophet is a noun that names a kind of person; it fits in the noun sentence: “The prophet seemed okay”. But if we add the suffix -ic to it, we get prophetic, an adjective that describes nouns and that fits into the adjective sentence: “It's a very prophetic thing.”

Person is also a noun: “The person seemed okay.” But if we add the suffix -al, we get the adjective personal: “It's a very personal thing.”

2. Combine the nouns and suffixes below to make adjectives:

Noun Suffix Adjective
athlete ic athletic
occasion al
profession al
patriot ic
nation al
rhythm ic
echo ic
accident al
education al
artist ic

3. Now try it the other way around: Each of the following adjectives consists of a noun and either the suffix -ic or the suffix -al. Analyze each adjective into its noun and suffix. Watch for final <e>'s that have been deleted:

Adjective Noun Suffix
enthusiastic enthusiast ic
democratic
universal
normal
natural
personal
rhythmic
agricultural
heroic
original

4. Sometimes the suffix -ic is added to a stem, often a bound stem, to make a noun or an adjective: crit + ic = critic. Then the noun will add on the suffix -al to make an adjective critic + al = critical.

Here are some more that follow this pattern:

Adjective Stem Suffix #1 Suffix #2
critical crit ic al
mechanical
medical
electrical
chemical
historical
technical
identical
musical
practical

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Feb 23, 2012

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