1. You've seen that the suffix -ity regularly has a stressed short vowel in front of it. You've also seen that -ity is added to adjectives and bound stems to make nouns. Analyze each of the following nouns into stem plus suffix, showing any changes that took place. In the Stem column write “Adjective” if the stem is an adjective or “Bound” if it is a bound stem.
Analysis: Stem + Suffix
productive + ity
necess + ity
qual + ity
dign + ity
extreme + ity
complex + ity
humil + ity
capac + ity
quant + ity
public + ity
2. The suffix -ity has two other forms that are used in certain settings: -ety and -ty. Underline the forms -ity, -ety, and -ty in the following words:
3. Sort the twenty-four words into these three groups:
Words with ...
4. You know that -ity always has a stressed short vowel right in front of it. Is the vowel right in front of -ty stressed or unstressed? unstressed. Is the vowel right in front of -ety long or short? long. Is it stressed or unstressed? stressed.
5. What are the main differences between words in which we use -ity and those in which we use -ty? In words with -ity the vowel just before the -ity is stressed and short; in words with -ty the vowel just before the -ty is unstressed.
6. Here are the analyses of the words above with -ety:
anxiety = anxi + ety
propriety = propri + ety
notoriety = notori + ety
society = soci + ety
gaiety = gay + i + ety
variety = vary + i + ety
7. What are the main differences between words in which we use -ity and those in which we use -ety? In words with -ity the vowel just before the -ity is stressed and short; in words with -ety the vowel just before the -ety is stressed and long and always spelled <i>.
Item 1. Extreme, complex, and public have all acquired noun meanings as well as their original adjective meanings.
Items 6-7. Notice that all of the stems that take -ety end in <i>. Thus, the use of -ety rather than -ity enforces the contraint against <ii> in English: ∗anxiity, ∗propriity, etc. For more on the constraint against <ii> see AES, pp. 81-82.