Oftentimes, you hear books proclaim the wonder and magic of roots. Learn mal- and ben- and suddenly the English language will open up before you. Well, don’t be deceived. Learning roots will only take so far; more often than not, you will misidentify a word, thinking that it conforms to a certain root when it actually doesn’t.
But today I’m not here to bring bad news, but good news. There is a wonder and magic to knowing suffixes. That’s right. Not the beginning of the words (where or so called friend the root lies) but the very end of the word. When a change comes to an end of a word that change does not change part of speech, only meaning: you know noun, verb, and adjective.
Below are a few common SAT vocabulary words. I’ll define them for you and then change the end of the word to get a new word. Of course the word will mean the same thing, only the part of speech will change.
Profound (adj.) – relating to a thought or statement that shows great insight
Garrulous (adj.) – talkative
Error (n.) – a mistake
Changing the Suffix:
That’s right: these are the exact same words, only the part of speech has changed.
A philosopher is known for his or her profundity.
Excessive garrulity may get you kicked out of class.
It would be erroneous to think learning word roots will always help you on the SAT.
Understanding suffixes is a great way to learn words if you’re struggling with how to memorize SAT vocabulary.
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About Chris Lele
Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 10 million views. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!
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