A suffix is a part of a word that’s placed at the end of a base word and often transforms it into a new part of speech. Some of the most common suffixes include ed, ing, est. Check out our top recommendations for suffix games and activities for ESL, along with worksheets, lesson plans and more.
Suffixes Activities and Games: Top 15
Are you ready to check out the best suffix games and activities? Then let’s get to it! Here’s how to teach suffixes in a fun way.
#1: Suffix Connect 4
You probably already know the game Connect 4, right? The goal is to get four in a row. But, you can also use it for English classes too.
Make up a board on a piece of paper with some base words that lend themselves well to suffixes being added. Or, you may want to limit it specifically to verbs that can be changed into nouns. Then, in order to get that square, a student has to use a suffix to make a new word. For more advanced level students, they may have to use that new word in a sentence.
The first student to get four in a row is the winner.
#2: Dictogloss Suffix Activity
A challenging activity that you can try out with your students is dictogloss. The way it works is that you can find (or write) a passage filled with lots of the target suffixes (past tense verbs with ed, or continuous verbs with ing for example).
Then, put student into pairs and read it out at a slightly faster pace than normal. They have to take notes as they’re listening and then work together to recreate what they hear, either by speaking or writing. Read it out again, slightly faster and students can add to what they already have.
Finally, they can compare with the original and then find all examples of the target suffix. Learn more about it here:
#3: ESL Suffix Videos
I sometimes think that my students get tired of hearing me talk! Maybe it’s the same for you? If that’s the case, you may want to consider some videos on YouTube. Sometimes I use the ones where it’s a teacher giving a lesson. Or, in other cases, people are having a conversation using the target vocabulary or grammar concept.
There are millions of videos on YouTube and a ton of ones that are specific to teaching English so you’re sure to find what you’re looking for. Here’s just one quick example:
#4: Hot Potato Game
I love to use the hot potato game when teaching kids because it’s fun and brings some energy and excitement into my classroom. The better news is that you can use it for teaching just about anything, including suffixes.
The way it works is that students pass around an object of some kind and when the timer or music goes off, the person holding it has to do something. In this case, students may have to make a sentence using a suffix after being shown a flashcard.
You can check out more details about this fun ESL game here: Hot Potato.
#5: Listening for One Specific Thing (Suffixes!)
In most ESL textbooks, suffixes are introduced through a reading or dialogue of some kind. However, you may also want to consider using a listening exercise. There are a ton of things you can do with them, but in this case, you may want to have students listen for one specific thing.
For example, students may have to listen for all the past tense verbs that end with ed. Or, the continuous verbs with ing. Check out some more ideas here: ESL Listening Activities.
#6: Suffix Songs and Chants
When teaching kids, you may want to consider bringing some songs and chants into your classroom. If you’re not musically inclined, we have some good news for you! There are a ton of great resources on YouTube. Here’s just one example:
#7: Vocabulary Review Suffix Game
If your lesson is focused on a specific kind of suffix, then you may want to consider doing this flip-chart vocabulary review game. The way it works is that you can write a bunch of the target words on a flip-chart or big notebook of some kind.
The first team sends up a captain and you stand behind them. Then, you show the word to their team and they have to give hints to their captain who has to guess what it is. Find out all the details you need to know here:
#8: The Memory Circle Suffix Activity
This is a fun memory game that can be used for almost any grammar point. The way it works is that the first student says a sentence with the target word (something with a suffix). Then, the second student says that first original sentence and adds their own.
The game continues until the last person is standing or time is up! Do you want to try it out? Learn more here: ESL Memory Circle.
I love to use flashcards in my TEFL classes. They’re super versatile and can be used for a ton of activities. However, one of the simplest things you can do is show students a card and they have to make a word with a suffix and then spell it.
For example, if you’re working on the past tense with beginners, show them a card with a picture of someone doing something (jump). Then, they have to say “jumped” and spell out the word correctly.
Do you want to see some more ideas about how to use them in your classes? Check it out here: ESL Flashcard Activities.
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 85 Pages - 02/02/2020 (Publication Date)
#10: Suffix Vocabulary Auction
This activity is designed mostly for working on full sentence structure but can be easily adapted for suffixes. In this case, you’d want to have a nice mix of base words and then word endings. Students have to bid on ones they think can combine to make new words. Plus, you can have a trading time where students can interact with other teams.
Do you want to give this fun ESL game a go? See all the details here: ESL Vocabulary Auction.
#11: Flyswatter ESL Suffix Game
A fun way to review suffixes with your English learners is to write a bunch of them on the board. Then, divide the class into two teams and one student from each team comes up to the whiteboard and grabs a flyswatter.
Say the beginning of the word and the first student to slap an appropriate suffix that would fit with the word gets a chance to make a sentence. If correct, they get a point for their team.
#12: Suffix Board Game
In real life, I love to play board games which is why I like to use them in my classes too. They’re fun, interactive and student-centred and lend themselves well to any grammar point, including this one.
In this case, fill up the board with various suffixes. Then, when a student lands on that square, they have to make a word using that suffix and then use that word in a sentence. It’s challenging, fun and your students will love it! Learn how to make your own games:
#13: The Suffix Game
#14: Guessing Suffix Game
This is a quick activity that I use for a variety of topics, including jobs, famous people, sports, foods, etc. It can also be used with words that end with a suffix.
Put a bunch of pictures on a PowerPoint slide that covers the target grammar or vocabulary. In this case, words that end with a suffix. Then, students have to take turns describing one of them to their partner who has to guess what their partner is describing. Try it out:
#15: Taboo Suffixes Game
I’m sure you’ve played the party game Taboo before. You have to describe a word without using a set of related words. It’s challenging, so I’ve adapted it for my English learners to make it slightly easier.
In this case, use words that end in a suffix and have students describe the words to the people in their group who have to guess what it is. Check it out:
How to Teach Suffixes
If you need a bit of a primer on English suffixes, worry no more! We have all the information you need to know in our easily digested guide.
3 Most Common Types of Suffixes
There are three common types of suffixes in English.
- S/ES which indicate plurals
- ED which indicates the past tense for regular verbs
- ING which is added to verbs in order to show that something is happening at the present time
Consonant vs Vowel Suffixes
In order to understand how to use a suffix correctly, students need to understand the difference between one that starts with a vowel and one that uses a consonant.
Some common consonant suffixes include: ly, ness, ful, ment, less.
Common vowel suffixes include: es, ing, ed, age, ish.
Rules for Adding Suffixes
There are a few rules to know about how to add a suffix to a word.
Add a consonant suffix directly to the word with no change. For example: limit + less = limitless.
You have to pay closer attention when adding a vowel suffix and check the base word carefully.
If the base word ends in two consonants, just add the suffix. For example: jump + ing = jumping.
It the base word has 1 syllable, 1 short vowel, and 1 final consonant, then double the final consonant. For example: win + ing = winning.
If the base word ends with a silent e, drop the e before adding the suffix. For example: smile + ing = smiling.
If the base words ends in a y and is more than one consonant, change the y to an. For example: crazy + ness = craziness.
Teaching Suffixes Worksheets
An easy way to make your life easier is to print off these worksheets when teaching suffixes instead of making your own! Seriously. It’ll save you a ton of time so why not, right? Here are some of our top picks:
Online Practice for Suffixes
If your students need some extra practice with this important vocabulary and grammar concept, direct them to the following online games, quizzes and practice exercises:
ESL Sufixes Lesson Plans
Do you want some lesson plans that you can just print and use? Of course, all teachers do! It can be a huge time-saver to not have to plan lessons entirely from scratch. Here are some of our top recommendations for ESL suffix lesson plans:
Did you Like these Suffixes Activities?
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 56 Pages - 10/27/2015 (Publication Date) - CreateSpace Independent...
Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to love this book over on Amazon: 39 ESL Vocabulary Activities for Teenagers and Adults. The key to better English classes is a variety of engaging, interesting and student-centred ESL activities and this book will help you do that in style.
You can get these vocab activities for ESL in both digital and print formats. Why not keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office to use as a handy reference guide when doing some lesson plans? Or, consider bringing the digital version with you to your favourite coffee shop on a phone or tablet for some lesson planning on the go.
Yes, it really is that easy to have English classes. Check out the book for yourself over on Amazon, but only if you want a serious dose of ESL teaching awesome in your life:
Have your Say about these Suffix Games and Activities
What do you think about these activities, worksheets and lesson plans for teaching suffixes? Did you try out some of the ideas from this list or do you have another recommendation for us? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think. We’d love to hear from you.
Also be sure to give this article a share on Twitter, Pinterest or Facebook. It’ll help other busy teachers, like yourself find this useful resource for teaching ESL suffixes.
Last update on 2020-12-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API