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15.10: More Practice with -ity

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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More Practice with -ity

1. The Suffix -ity Rule. The vowel right in front of the suffix -ity always be short, even in VCV strings.

2. The suffix -ity is added to adjectives to turn them into nouns. Analyze each of the following nouns into an adjective plus -ity showing any changes:

Noun = Adjective + Suffix
liberality = liberal + ity
productivity = productive + ity
intensity = intense + ity
electricity = electric + ity
publicity = public + ity
mentality = mental + ity
captivity = captive + ity
reality = real + ity

3. Now try some the other way around. Combine the adjectives with -ity to form nouns, showing any changes:

Adjective + Suffix = Noun
sublime + ity = sublimity
productive + ity = productivity
rational + ity = rationality
serene + ity = serenity
personal + ity = personality
grave + ity = gravity
extreme + ity = extremity
public + ity = publicity
local + ity = locality
divine + ity = divinity

4. In Items 2 and 3 above there are sixteen different words that have have short vowels at the head of a VCV string right in front of the suffix -ity. List the sixteen words below:


5. The suffix -ity can also be added to bound stems to form nouns. Analyze each of the following nouns into bound stem plus suffix. They all combine by simple addition:

Noun = Bound stem + -ity
dignity = dign + ity
humility = humil + ity
ability = abli + ity
eternity = etern + ity
quantity = quant + ity
quality = qual + ity
charity = char + ity
sanctity = sanct + ity
necessity = necess + ity
capacity = capac + ity
velocity = veloc + ity
celebrity = celebr + ity

6. Six of the twelve words in 5 have short vowels at the head of a VCV string that is right in front of the suffix -ity. List the six below:


Word Blocks. Sort the words in the blocks of the pyramids into the two rows of blocks under each pyramid and you will make two words: The first word will be an adjective. The second word will be a noun made of the first word plus the suffix -ity. When you add the suffix -ity in the second word, the stress will shift to the vowel right in front of the suffix. Mark the stress in each word you make:


Word One: Adjective that means “slow to learn; not intelligent”:


Word Two: Adjective + ity = Noun that means “the condition of being slow to learn and not intelligent”:



Word One: Adjective meaning “known by all or most people; open”:


Word Two: Adjective + ity = Noun meaning “information that brings something to the attention of many people”:


Teaching Notes.

1. The main point of this lesson is to reinforce the idea that the Suffix -ity Rule preempts, or overrules, the VCV pattern. Another point that is illustrated here, however, and that you may want to point out to the students, is that the Suffix -ity Rule also stipulates that the vowel in front of the suffix -ity will always be stressed — stressed and short. That stipulation explains the stress shift in pairs like mental and mentality In mental the stress is on the <e>, me´ntal, but when the suffix -ity is added, the stress shifts to the vowel right in front of the -ity, the <a>: menta´lity. You might ask the students to find other instances of stress shifting in this lesson. Instances are the following: liberal/liberality, stupid/stupidity, public/publicity (which also involves the shift from hard to soft <c>), mental/mentality, feminine/femininity, final/finality, rational/rationality, local/locality, solemn/solemnity.

Item 4: You may find it useful to point out to the students that some of the bound bases here are close relatives to some free bases: humil with humble, abil with able, clar with clear, simplic with simple.

Item 5: In charity the <a> spells a sound that in some dialects will sound more like [e] than [a]. In either case it is short. Most dictionaries show it as [a]; Webster's Third International shows both [a] and [e]. For more on the effects the sound [r] has on vowels immediately in front of it, see AES, pp. 307-26.

Word Blocks. The Word Blocks gives the students a chance to work with words that contain the suffix -ity and that undergo the stress shift discussed above.

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Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
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Jul 07, 2015
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