Learning patterns of pronunciation in words that share the same suffix (word ending) can help you pronounce even unfamiliar words correctly. This, of course, can make you a better reader and communicator. Since there are so many words in English that end in -ity and -ety, let’s take a look at the rule that can help you pronounce them all correctly. This will help you both expand your vocabulary and make yourself better understood.
Words with the -ITY suffix
There are dozens of nouns in English that end in -ity, a suffix that denotes quality or condition. Here are just a few of the more common ones. Try saying these out loud, making sure to stress the syllable that comes before the -ity. Keep in mind that since the -ity is not stressed, the i should sound like a schwa. What’s more, since the t falls between 2 vowel sounds, it will be pronounced as a flap t:
- absurdity ability activity adaptability
- ambiguity amenity anonymity artificiality
- capability commodity community complexity
- immensity probability productivity propensity
- indivisibility prosperity inferiority rarity
- Ingenuity reality continuity agility
Words with the -ETY suffix
There are not many English words that end in -ety, but here are a few that have been borrowed from Old French. The same syllable stress pattern applies: stress the syllable that comes before the -ety.
- anxiety gaiety nicety
- piety society variety
Now that you’ve mastered how to pronounce words that end in -ity and -ety, try some other suffixes! To learn more about patterns of syllable stress and vowel sounds in words that share the same suffix, check out these articles:
For more on syllable stress, check out this article and video. To get your specific pronunciation issues addressed and practice English, join SpeakUp, a dynamic program that engages you in authentic conversations on relevant topics and provides you with feedback from a professional and experienced English teacher. The first week is free for you to try it out!