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Writing with Suffixes: How to Ate Your Words

Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked at different prefixes to help us improve our vocabularies. Now, we move to the other end of words: suffixes. This week’s suffix, -ate, comes from the Old French -at (we added the e later) or -é(e), or comes directly from the Latin -atus, creating nouns or adjectives. In addition, -ate also comes from the French -er or directly from the Latin -are, creating verbs.

  • aerate, verb: to supply with air or to expose to oxygen.

I’m fortunate that I can get aged wood shavings that provide soil drainage and help aerate the soil, making it much fluffier. —Mother Earth News

  • collegiate, adjective: of or related to college.

The first known cheer came from some Princeton spectators during a Princeton-Rutgers football game—the first collegiate football game ever—in 1869. —The Washington Post 

  • desolate, adjective: deserted or empty; sad, joyless.

With profits from oil and natural gas, the young emir transformed this desolate spit of Persian Gulf real estate into one of the richest countries on Earth. —The Atlantic Monthly

  • maturate, verb: to mature.

As students adjust to the college or university environment and maturate beyond the learning style restrictions of their first year, the development of a repertoire of learning styles becomes important to the student expecting to obtain a degree. —Journal of Instructional Psychology

  • prelate, noun: a high-ranking official, such as a bishop, in the Christian Church.

The bishop has compared himself to another prelate, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, who in 1993 was accused of sexual abuse by a man who later recanted. —The New York Times

A version of this article originally published on August 24, 2011, on The Writing Resource.


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