Formation of Adjectives from Nouns | Grade 5 | English Grammar
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Word Formation

Concept: Nouns to Adjectives


  • Words can be changed from one part of speech to another by adding or changing the suffix to the main word.
  • The new formed word or adjective will give more information on the noun.
  • The most common suffixes used to form adjectives are -ly, -al, -ary, -ical, ous, -ful, -ish, -ic, -less, -y, -like, -ive,-ative, -eous, -ious, -ent, -ance and -ant. For instance, the noun ‘importance’ can be changed into the adjective ‘important’ by adding the suffix -ant.


  • The beauty of the movie is in the performance of its actors.
  • It is a beautiful movie.

In the above sentence, the root noun beauty has been changed to an adjective beautiful by adding the suffix -ful.

Adding Suffix to a Noun to Make an Adjective

Nouns Suffix Adjectives Examples
commerce al commercial

She is a commerce student.

She would like to work with a commercial establishment.

fame ous famous The restaurant earned its fame with their unique desserts.
This restaurant is famous for its desserts.
pain, duty ful painful , dutiful It is his duty to look after his parents.
He is a dutiful son.
salt, taste y salty , tasty The food tastes good.
The food was filling and tasty too.
Geography ic geographic I like the subject Geography.
The geographic location of Assam is such that it is often prone to earthquakes.
Child ish Childish She often behaves like a child.
Her behaviour seemed very childish.
interest ing interesting The book didn’t fail to interest me.
It is an interesting book to read.
talent ed talented He has an inborn talent for singing.
He is a talented singer.

Make Adjectives from Noun

Certain suffixes can be used to make adjectives from Noun. Let us have a look at them below with its rules:

Adjectives ending with ‘al’

  • Certain suffixes will change a noun into one that modifies another as per the state of being.
  • For example, the suffix ‘-al’ can be used with the noun ‘accident’ to form the adjective ‘accidental,’ which is the state of being in an accident.

Adjectives ending with ‘ous’

  • Adjectives that relate a noun to a quality can be formed by using the suffix ‘-ary’ or ‘-ous’.
  • For example, the adjective ‘poisonous’ is formed from the word ‘poison.’

Adjectives ending with ‘ful’

  • The suffix ‘-ful’ can be added to some nouns to form adjectives that indicate ‘full’ of the quality expressed by the root word. So ‘beauty’ becomes ‘beautiful’, ‘wonder’ becomes ‘wonderful’, skill becomes ‘skilful’.
  • However, some formations have their spellings changed. The ‘-y’ in beauty becomes an ‘-i’ when changed to ‘beautiful.’ The ‘-e’ in ‘awe’ is omitted to form the adjective ‘awful.’

Adjectives ending with ‘ic’, ‘ical’ & ‘ish’

  • Adjectives can also be formed that changes a noun and express a part of its nature. These suffixes include ‘-ical,’ ‘-ic,’ and ‘-ish’.
  • For example the noun ‘photograph’ can be changed into ‘photographic’ by adding the suffix – ic.
  • However, some of these nouns need a spelling change. In ‘base’ and ‘athlete’ the final ‘-e’ is dropped before adding the suffix -ic to form the adjectives ‘basic’ and ‘athletic’. The noun ‘history’ has its ‘-y’ dropped before the ‘-ic’ can be added to make it ‘historic’.

Adjectives ending with ‘ly’

  • The suffixes that indicate how a changed noun is similar to the root word of an adjective are ‘-ly,’ ‘-like,’ and ‘-y.’ Usually no spelling changes occur while using these suffixes.
  • For example nouns like ‘child,’ and ‘rain’, ‘friend,’, ‘wind’ change into ‘childlike,’ ‘friendly,’ and ‘windy’, ‘rainy’.
  • Sometimes, minor spelling changes can take place. Sometimes before adding the suffix ‘-y,’ the last consonant is doubled. So ‘fun’ changes into ‘funny’ and ‘spot’ transforms into ‘spotty.’
  • For nouns like anger, hunger, the e is dropped and the suffix ‘-y,’ is added at the end.

Common Mistakes

  1. If the noun ends with an e, the ‘e’ is dropped, and the suffix used is either -y or -al or -ial to form an adjective.
  2. Examples:

    Finance → Financial

    Finance → Financeial

    Nature → Natural

    Nature → Natural

  3. If the noun ends with the letter ‘y’, it is removed, and the suffix-ic or -ful is usually added in its place.
  4. Example:

    Tragedy → Tragic


  1. Some of the adjectives might have two kinds of suffix endings: -ic or -ical. However, their meanings do vary. So remember that, whenever you come across a pair like identity/identical,historic/historical, economic/economical,classic/classical.
  2. Examples:

    1. identity/identical
    2. Identity – the fact of being what a thing or a person is.

      Did you get your identity card?

      Identical - same or similar.

      Your shirt is identical to mine.

    3. economic/economical
    4. Economic - related to industry, trade, or money

      Sri Lanka is facing a major economic crisis.

      Economical - affordable

      Combo meals are usually very economical.

    5. classic/classical
    6. Historic- important event in history

      I am lucky enough to witness this historic moment.

      Historical -pertaining to history

      Qutab Minar is a historical monument in India.

Look at the mind map for quick reference:

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