I have seen the variants of different adjectives with different suffices being used in a sentence. Some of them are as:


The opera was seen by a small and highly select audience.
He joined his select team of young Intelligence operatives.
I am highly selective about my food.

Some other examples I have come across are:

The modulation frequency is kept high.
The modulating frequency is kept high.

My pursuing year is 4th year.
My persuasion year is 4th year.

I find these gerund adjectives and their variants with ion suffix very confusing.

closed as too broad by laugh, Nathan Tuggy, Lamplighter, JavaLatte, kiamlaluno Dec 26 '17 at 13:44

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

  • 1
    Are you sure about "pursuing" and "persuasion"? Where have you come across this? – laugh Dec 23 '17 at 14:05
  • @laugh I have not really come across persuasion. I just found the gerund adjective pursuing a bit confusing and suggested an alternative. See it seems as if "pursuing year" has "pursuing" as a verb as in cutting wood, cutting is a verb and not an adjective. – Anubhav Singh Dec 23 '17 at 14:28
  • But it seems the confusion clears when I insert an article as cutting a wood. – Anubhav Singh Dec 23 '17 at 14:29
  • 1
    I guess you mean suffixes, but your question is very, very broad. A suffix is not an addition to an adjective. It is an "addition" to a word root. By the way, my pursuing year there doesn't make sense. My pursuing year?? An ensuing year, yes. One learns nouns and adjectives separately. You cannot always predict them so easily. – Lambie Dec 23 '17 at 15:14
  • 1
    By the way, selective and select are two different adjectives. – Lambie Dec 23 '17 at 15:22

The short answer is that the suffix often changes the meaning and usage of the adjective, but not necessarily in any predictable way. For example, consider all the adjectives built from "sense":

  • sensual
  • sensuous
  • sensitive
  • sensational
  • senseless
  • sensible
  • sensory
  • sensorial
  • sensualized
  • sensualistic
  • sensationalized

While all of these are related, the meaning of each is somewhat different, and can only be learned from context. "Sensual" and "sensuous", for example, are slightly different in a way that many native speakers might not know:

Sensual (adj): relating to or consisting in the gratification of the senses or the indulgence of appetite

Sensuous (adj): of or relating to the senses or sensible objects, having strong sensory appeal

Some suffixes have consistent meaning, for example "-ized" generally means "became like" or "make like"

It is a sensational headline (it's a headline designed to arouse strong sensations)

It is a sensationalized headline (it's been made sensational by someone or something)

However this doesn't account for nuance. For example "idealized" suggests a false or unrealistic ideal.

She was an ideal leader (she represented the best qualities of a leader)

She was an idealized leader (she was believed to be an ideal leader, but this was more wishful thinking than reality)

So the solution is to read a lot to learn the meaning of adjectives like these in context, and pick up the patterns.

It's much too broad a question to list the meanings of every possible adjective suffix. Many of your examples are not correct -- modulation is a noun, pursuing year is not idiomatic, persuasion is a noun, and pursuing and persuasion are not related -- but if you have questions about any specific suffix, that we could probably answer.

List of common adjective suffixes and their meanings

  • If I would rather ask about the difference between select and selective both being used as adjectives. – Anubhav Singh Dec 24 '17 at 17:03
  • Also I would like you to suggest a proper adjective for the word modulate for the above examples. – Anubhav Singh Dec 24 '17 at 17:09
  • Sadly, it seems "select" and "selective" simply have different meanings, unrelated to the suffix. Select means "having a unique, noteworthy quality" while selective means "picky". Meanwhile distinct means "easily distinguished from others" with distinctive as a near synonym, applied to a particular characteristic of a person or thing. The "-ive" suffix tells us little. – Andrew Dec 24 '17 at 18:10

Suffix -ion is mostly seen in nouns not adjectives. For example, regulation(noun) purification(noun), etc.

'Selective' is an adjective in your question; moreover, other sentences in your examples are grammatically incorrect such as, 'select' supposedly selected(verb, past tense) in highly select team.

Second example is not correct in terms of grammar, should be ->he has joined a/the selected team of young-intelligent(adjective) operatives... so on and so forth...

  • 'Selective' is an adjective in your question; moreover, other sentences in your examples are grammatically incorrect such as, 'select' supposedly selected(verb, past tense) in highly select team. I have attached the source, these examples are given in the online Oxford dictionary. So that means Oxford dictionary have put ungrammatical sentences? – Anubhav Singh Dec 24 '17 at 16:59
  • As far as I can understand it, those oxford examples are quoted... an excerpt from something. That I cannot answer simply because British english may mean other things(select) beside from what it is used to be. – John Arvin Dec 24 '17 at 17:59
  • @JohnArvin "A select team of crack troops" is perfectly valid American English, see dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/select under the "American" or "Business" tabs. – Andrew Dec 24 '17 at 18:14

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.