20 French Suffixes for Maximizing Your Vocabulary


If you’re searching for a simple method to broaden your French vocabulary, then discovering suffixes ought to be your next action. Similar to cognates and prefixes, French suffixes have the benefit of being mainly currently understood to English speakers. French root words have actually had a deep, long lasting influence on the English language, and both languages share typical impacts from Latin and Greek.

Like English, suffixes inform us what part of speech something is, whether it’s a verb like économ iser or whether it’s the noun type of a verb like économ isation

Despite the resemblances, there are obviously noteworthy distinctions in how suffixes are utilized in French. It is really crucial to pay attention to the gender of nouns in order to identify the suitable French suffix. The expression “Canadian music” in English ends up being la musique canad ienne in French, with a noteworthy suffix at the end of canadien to match the womanly noun, la musique.

In this post we’ll supply an extensive take a look at the distinctions and resemblances in between English and French suffixes, along with a beneficial list of the most crucial ones to understand.

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Why French suffixes are so crucial

A suffix is an ending connected to a word that represents something about its significance. As we discussed in the last area, it can inform us what part of speech something is, whether it’s a things, an individual of a particular occupation or citizenship, or if it displays a quality of some sort.

Like French prefixes, suffixes are morphemes, which suggests that they are the tiniest possible decrease of significance. In the word

l’altru isme (selflessness), the suffix – isme can not be broken down and evaluated any even more. There are different benefits to discovering suffixes. They can be utilized to make a verb out of an existing noun like the word regional iser ( to localize) or industrial iser ( to advertise). They likewise have the benefit of being cognates, or words that are the comparable or very same in spelling and suggesting to words in another language. Perhaps you’ve just recently checked out the approach of


>>French prefixes are just as handy! Here’s 20 French prefixes you should know. 


( existentialism)

or have actually found out about the different kinds of youth

activisme ( advocacy) in France.

Recognizing suffixes not just increases your understanding of French– it can enhance your understanding of English! Due to the fact that there’s a lot crossover in between the 2 languages, you’ll no doubt get a thing or 2 that you can use to English discussion. How do French and english suffixes compare? Suffixes that share significance In some cases, English and french suffixes suggest the very same thing and are utilized the very same method. The suffix -able

, for instance, shows the capability to do something.

C’est crucial que l’eau soit pot able. — It’s crucial that the water be pot able At other times the suffix resembles that of its English translation, such as:

Vincent Cassel est mon act eur préféré.

= Vincent Cassel is my preferred act


comprehensive guide to help you dive into the details In the above example, the French suffix

– eur is comparable enough to its English equivalent “- or” to be comprehended by English speakers (together with the stem “act”). Applying grammatical gender guidelines Grammatical gender is very crucial in French. It’s one of the most significant differentiators in between English and french, and among the trickiest things for speakers of non-romance languages to master. We’ve assembled a Bookmark it for later on– you’re going to require it. To master suffixes however, you’ll just require to understand a little area of guidelines. Below are the fundamentals you require to understand. In the example above ( Vincent Cassel est mon acteur préféré

), we need to take notice of the gender of the individual. If it were an actr ess instead of an act or, we would state:

Juliette Binoche est mon act

rice préférée.= Juliette Binoche is my preferred actr ess

However, French has its own set of gender suffixes that English does not share. When explaining the citizenship of somebody or something we need to constantly keep the gender in mind. J’adore la langue franç aise= I love (adore) the French language. Take the noun

une langue ( language). Due to the fact that this noun it’s customizing is womanly, we require to include an – e to the suffix

– ais

Whereas in the copying: Le gouvernement franç ais a interdit ce produit

The French federal government has actually prohibited this item.

Here,” le gouvernement” is a manly noun and needs the manly suffix – ais (without any included – e).

There are various type of suffixes that serve the very same function– everything depends upon the root word, and you’ll discover that recognizing the proper suffix comes more naturally the more you engage with the language. When speaking of other citizenships, such as somebody or something from Columbia we would state. L’actr ice dans le movie est colomb ienne The suffix for the citizenship of individuals from the nation of la Colombie (Columbia) is

– ien

with an included – ne for womanly people/objects, instead of the formerly discussed – ais

Suffixes that show size There is likewise a class of suffixes that show something that is little, which does not always have an English equivalent. When speaking of a little woman in French, we would state une fillette The suffix – ette

informs us that the woman is little. Whereas in English we would need to utilize the adjective “little” to interact this particular.

>>Want to take a step back into basic French vocabulary? Here’s 100+ must-know phrases. 


La fill


a huit ans

= The little

woman is 8 years of ages. In the following area, we’ll have a look at 20 of the most beneficial suffixes in French that can broaden your vocabulary quick. Must-know French suffixes The following is a list of 20 typical French prefixes together with examples. Please keep in mind the womanly endings in parentheses.

  • 1.– able
  • Meaning: able to, efficient in
  • able: This suffix functions like its English equivalent “able” to explain the state of having the ability to do an action or have a particular quality.


= charming capable

= capable épouvantable= awful. ( une épouvante

  • = a scary) 2. -ail
  • Meaning: utilized to designate an instrument or things
  • – ail: This suffix is a basic classification for any type of instrument, tool, or other things, such as a scarecrow, a fan, or a rudder. The exception to this is vitrail, which rather suggests a stained glass window.

    un éventail = a fan. un gouvernail = a rudder un vitrail = a stained glass window 3. -ain( e) Meaning:

    • designates an individual or things of a citizenship, occupation, continent, or area
    • ain( e): The English suffix of “- can” such as “Mexi
    • can” or “Ameri can

    ” is one equivalent, though the use of that suffix diverts from English when it pertains to words like

    écrivain = author. Understand that in French, citizenships are just capitalized when they describe nouns, not adjectives.

    américain( e) = American écrivain( e) = author mexicain( e) = Mexican

    • 4. -aire Meaning: This suffix shows something which displays a particular quality or association. More seldom, it can supply a location or factor for something. It can likewise show a number.
    • aire:
    • A suffix thick in significance, the different usages of aire consist of: Exhibiting a particular quality like the word
    • rectangulaire ( rectangle-shaped) Containing or forming a particular quality like
    • granulaire (granular) An association with something such as bancaire ( connected with banking. E.g. une carte bancaire

    or “bank card”),

    • The reason/purpose/end outcome for which something is simulated the word humanitaire
    • ( humanitarian) Words that mark a particular number like
    • centenaire( centenary) or the order of importance/chronology of something like
    • primaire (initially, main).
    • Here are numerous more examples:


    = triangular budgétaire

    = monetary égalitaire = egalitarian un( e) fonctionnaire = a functionary (one who operates in administration or civil service) populaire = popular 5. -ais( e)

    • Meaning: Refers to a person/object of a particular citizenship, area, or continent.
    • – ais( e): This suffix has the very same significance as the previous suffix,
    • – ain( e) Some root words take–

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    aise( e)

    and some take -ain( e)

    There’s no quick and tough guideline for this; you’ll master it as you come across more vocabulary! français( e) = French japonais( e) = Japanese

    • polonais( e) = Polish
    • 6. -ard Meaning:
    • displaying a particular quality.– ard: This suffix shows an individual displaying a particular quality. In specific circumstances it can be utilized in a negative or pejorative sense, such as in the word clochard


    pejorative, “homeless individual”). connard = a moron montagnard = one who resides in the mountains, “mountain resident”. un( e) routard( e) = a “backpacker”, one who takes a trip on

    la path ( the roadway). 7. -ation Meaning:

    • This suffix generally shows the noun type of an action, such as the word action
    • itself (action) or feeling


    : Words that utilize this suffix can in some cases be become a verb merely by utilizing a various suffix (such as – iser

    ). la colonisation = colonisation la development = development la libération = libération

    • 8. -eau/elle Meaning
    • : little/small– eau/elle
    • : Both suffixes suggest that which is little or little, though the type one utilizes depends upon the gender of the noun in concern.

    – Eau

    is the manly suffix and -elle

    is womanly. un baleineau =a whale calf une ficelle = a piece of string

    • une ruelle = a little roadway.
    • 9. -er/ier/i ère Meaning
    • : One who does something– er/ier/i ère


    These suffixes show one who takes part in a particular action or occupation. – Ière

    is utilized for womanly nouns. un boulanger = a baker

    • un pompier/une pompière = a firemen
    • un sorcier/une sorcière = a sorcerer
    • 10. erie Meaning

    : a location that offers something


    : This suffix designates a location of business/commerce where a particular item is offered. une boucherie = a butcher une boulangerie = a pastry shop une épicerie

    • = a supermarket 11. -eron/eronne; -eur/euse
    • Meaning: One who does something
    • – eron/eronne (masc./ fem.); -eur/euse

    ( masc./ fem.)

    These suffixes show “one who carries out function X” or “takes part in occupation Y”.

    un/une chanteur/chanteuse= a vocalist un mineur (no womanly variation) = a miner (one who operates in underground mines) un( e) vigneron/vigneronne

    • = wine maker 12. -et/ette
    • Meaning: little/small
    • – et/ette: This suffix shows a smaller sized variation of a noun with the very same masculine/feminine distinction figured out by the noun’s gender.

    – et

    being manly and – ette being womanly. une allumette

    = a match (for fire) un bâtonnet = a (little) stick une miette= a crumb 13. -é Meaning: shows a particular or something that has actually been acted upon/modified by something else, or the previous participle of – er verbs é:

    • This suffix can show a particular such as the act of being buddies l’amitié
    • ( relationship), or the quality of having actually been customized by something such as the word fatigué( e)
    • ( worn out) which shows somebody who is gotten rid of or customized by the belief of la tiredness ( fatigue). Keep in mind how there is an

    – e

    in parentheses to show the womanly ending when explaining womanly nouns. l’amitié

    ( masc.) = relationship. accablé= overloaded parlé( e) =” talked”/” spoke”, previous participle of parler (to speak/talk) 14. -ée Meaning: This suffix has numerous significances, like period (changing the Latin suffix “eum”/”- aeum”), interacting the contents of an offered noun, a complete step of something, or the repercussions of an action. ée: Most words ending in ée are womanly, most especially the classification of words that represent period such as

    matinée ( early morning) journée ( day) and

    soirée ( night), and likewise those words which exhibit the contents of an offered noun like une lignée ( a line of descent) une allée ( a course or aisle). Then there are those (likewise womanly) which represent a complete measurement of something like bouchée ( a mouthful)

    Lastly, however similarly crucial, are the couple of manly nouns ending in ée which function as the French replacement for Latin words ending in – eum/- aeum These are words like un musée ( a museum) and un trophée

    • (” tropaeum” in Latin, “a prize” in English). There are a couple of extraordinary words such as
    • une fée ( a fairy)
    • la marée ( the tide),
    • une mosquée (a mosque) that do not follow any specific guideline, and simply take place to end in
    • ée. Among the words listed below, the one followed by an asterisk

    shows that it comes from this latter classification.

    une année— a year une cuillerée

    = a spoonful une donnée

    • = an offered (truth or piece of information). une épée * = a sword
    • un mausolée = a mausoleum
    • 15. -éen/ éenne; -ien/ienne Meaning

    : Refers to a person/object of a particular citizenship, area, or continent

    – éen/ éenne: This suffix usually equates to the English suffix “- ian” or “- ean”. californien( e)

    = Californian

    • européen( ne) = European indien( ne)
    • = Indian 16.–
    • isation Meaning

    : the noun type of actions ending in the suffix – iser

    – isation: This suffix is the very same as the English suffix “- ization” (U.S.)/ “- isation” (U.K.) in words like “liberalization” or “generalization.”

    l’improvisation ( fem.)= improvisation l’ubérisation ( fem.) = uberization l’urbanisation ( fem.)= urbanization 17.–

    • iser Meaning
    • : shows a verb– iser:
    • Functions the very same method as the English “ise” (U.K.)/ “- ize” (U.S.) in words like “liberal ize

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    ” or “basic

    ize“. Can be changed by the suffix

    – isation in order to render the verb a noun. improviser = to improvise ubériser = to uberize urbaniser = urbanize 18. -isme Meaning: shows a belief, worth, or philosophical system

    • isme
    • : The English equivalent of this suffix is “- ism” and is seen in nouns like le pragmatisme
    • ( pragmatism) and le soufisme

    ( Sufism), though in some cases the English equivalent is

    – ity as in the word

    le christianisme ( Christianity). The majority of the time its nouns are manly. le capitalisme = industrialism l’humanisme

    • = humanism le judaïsme
    • = Judaism 19. -ois( e)
    • Meaning: Refers to an individual’s citizenship, or region/continent of origin

    ois( e): This suffix is utilized for citizenships, however is likewise seen in words like bourgeois

    (bourgeois). chinois( e) = Chinese courtois( e) = respectful, polite; courtly luxembourgeois( e) = Luxembourgian 20. -teur/trice Meaning

    : designates an individual who carries out a particular function teur/trice: This suffix equates to the English “- or” or “- er” and serves the very same function of specifying somebody that does something, be it one that acts (act or), one that drives (driv er/ driver), one that directs a motion picture (direct or), and so on Likewise,–

    • trice is the equivalent of “- ess” (e.g. “actr
    • ess“). There is not constantly a womanly variation. Words like driver
    • ( motorist) and professeur ( teacher) do not utilize the womanly

    – trice

    , even if the individual determines as a lady.

    bite-sized, immersive lessons un( e) acteur/actriceTruAccent = actor/actress

    un driver

= driver/chauffer(*) un( e) réalisateur/ réalisatrice(*) = (*) director (of a motion picture)(*) Expand your French vocabulary with Rosetta Stone(*) You do not require to remember every suffix on this list, however acknowledging them can assist you contextualize words that you may not understand. Plus, they can assist you strengthen your understanding of French grammatical gender guidelines, which can be difficult for more recent students! (*) If you’re into discovering in an enjoyable, engaging environment, Rosetta Stone has whatever you require to take the next action in your French knowing journey. Broaden your French abilities and increase your self-confidence with (*) that prepare you for real-life discussion. You’ll even get instant in-app feedback on your pronunciation with (*), which is developed into every lesson! (*) Written by Micah McCauley(*) Micah McCauley is a present freelance factor to Rosetta Stone with years of experience mentor French to non-native speakers. His profession covers the U.S., France, and China. He is presently a trainee and associate trainer of Francophone and french Studies. He takes pleasure in making up music, taking a trip, and discovering Spanish in his leisure time.(*)


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