Skip Navigation

9.20: The Suffix -ness

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
Turn In

The Suffix -ness

1. Earlier you saw that one of the suffixes spelled -er adds the meaning “one that does” and changes verbs into nouns: The word teach is a verb; the word teacher is a noun that means “one who teaches.” Another suffix that changes words into nouns is -ness. The suffix -ness changes adjectives into nouns.

2. An adjective is a word that describes or identifies a noun. Any word is an adjective if it will fit into this blank and make sense:

The very_____________thing seemed okay.

Four of the following words are adjectives and will fit into the blank in the sentence. Find the four and fill in the blanks in the four sentences:

\begin{align*} &\text{elephant} && \text{smooth} && \text{stubborn} && \text{inject} && \text{exact} && \text{bright}\end{align*}

The very smooth one seemed okay.

The very stubborn one seemed okay.

The very exact one seemed okay.

The very bright one seemed okay.

3. The four words you found that fit into the adjective-blank should have been smooth, stubborn, exact, and bright. Now compare these pairs of words:

\begin{align*} &\text{smooth} && \text{smoothness}\\ & \text{stubborn} && \text{stubbornness}\\ & \text{exact} && \text{exactness}\\ & \text{bright} && \text{brightness}\end{align*}

You've seen that the four words in the left column are all adjectives. The four words in the right column are all nouns. A noun is the name of something. Any word that can fit into this blank and make sense is a noun:

Their_____________surprised us.

Try putting the four words from the right column into the blanks in the sentences below, and see whether or not they make sense there and are nouns:

Their smoothness surprised us.

Their stubbornness surprised us.

Their exactness surprised us.

Their brightness surprised us.

4. Each of these four nouns consists of a shorter adjective plus the suffix -ness. Analyze them to show this:

Noun = Adjective + Suffix
smoothness = smooth + ness
stubbornness = stubborn + ness
exactness = exact + ness
brightness = bright + ness

5. Change each of the following adjectives into a noun by adding the suffix -ness to each one:

Adjective + Suffix = Noun
complete + ness = completeness
feeble + ness = feebleness
crabb\begin{align*}\cancel{y}\end{align*}+i + ness = crabbiness
elaborate + ness = elaborateness
suitable + ness = suitableness
goldlen + ness = goldenness
direct + ness = directness

Teaching Notes.

Item 3. Be sure the students get the <nn> in stubbornness : one <'n> at the end of stubborn , one at the beginning of -ness.

The suffix -ness has almost exactly the same function and meaning as the suffix -ity. Though in some cases nouns with -ness and those with -ity have developed quite distinct meanings, most often it is very difficult to see any difference at all. Some examples: civilness, civility; subjectiveness, subjectivity; effectiveness, effectivity; realness, reality; saneness, sanity; pureness, purity; falseness, falsity; laxness, laxity; publicness, publicity. Some examples involving spelling differences: suitableness, suitability; nobleness, nobility; humbleness, humility; enormousness, enormity. Students will study the suffix -ity in Book 8.

Notes/Highlights Having trouble? Report an issue.

Color Highlighted Text Notes
Show More

Image Attributions

Show Hide Details
1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
Date Created:
Feb 23, 2012
Last Modified:
Jul 07, 2015
Files can only be attached to the latest version of section
Please wait...
Please wait...
Image Detail
Sizes: Medium | Original