How do you know which suffix to use in order to make a verb be a noun? For example:

Let's look at the verb "admit". The noun is "admission" "achieve" the noun is "achievement" "arrange" the noun is "arrangement"

I think you got the idea. Also happy new year!

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    There are many English suffixes and techniques/rules to change the meaning of words. One particular resource that I've found to be excellent in this regard is www.howtospell.co.uk which is written by a lady called Joanne Rudling. she also has several spelling books which I highly recommend . I think the books are by the same name. good luck and a happy New year to you too. – user242899 Dec 31 '17 at 21:29
  • @user242899 if you're going to link to an online resource, link to the most relevant page/lesson. Otherwise it looks like you're shilling for a website. – Andrew Dec 31 '17 at 21:32
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    Be careful. Sometimes there can be more than one noun (with different meaning) made from a single verb: commit -> commission vs. commit -> committal, etc. – Robusto Dec 31 '17 at 21:46
  • Thanks Andrew. it is certainly not my intention to advertise a website. Just to help the student with a very broad topic. Now I know another meaning for shilling . – user242899 Dec 31 '17 at 23:48
  • @user242899 It's fine to suggest links to helpful resources - just be aware that links get extra scrutiny because we get a lot of spam. It helps to explain explicitly why you're recommending a link for this specific question. For example - "www.howtospell.co.uk has a lessons on how English words are built, including one on building words with suffixes that I think would be helpful. – ColleenV Jan 1 '18 at 13:31

You learn them

Learn "admission" as a separate word from "admit". Learn "achievement" as another word.

Many words don't have a noun form ending with either "ment" or with "ion" and a few with both: (Installment, Installation). This means that you need to learn each one separately. One rule is that, except for "state" most verbs ending in -ate can form a noun -ation.

Then there are other suffixes that form nouns: -al,-ure, -hood, and so on. These all need to be learnt too.


Unlike mathematics, there is no general formula to determine that, even if exists, it will face many exceptions because some words in particular language are from other languages as loan words. This is problem for, I believe, all modern languages.

E.g. opposite of valid is invalid. But if you believe in in- prefix can make antonym then the word (adjective) flammable could cause daily fire blaze. So inflammable is not opposite of flammable.

So while searching suffix types for words you also need to examine those words. Example, difficult is adjective and suffix -y forms noun difficulty. Also, a noun dynasty formed by the same suffix -y is not from adjective but another noun that is dynast.

Reading english articles of different contexts is the good way to be familiar with word derivatives.

Also Oxford Advanced Learners (International Student's Edition) tried to analyse much about derivatives).

You may also learn more from here.

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