Being inventive

English speakers love to play with words. Sometimes, we create new words because English doesn’t have the word we want. There are some patterns people use to make new adjectives. These patterns don’t make “official” words. You won’t find the new words in dictionaries, but they can be fun for conversations with friends.

-ish

We use the suffix “-ish” to mean “sort-of” or “more or less.” Sometimes, we use this suffix to make adjectives less strong or kinder. For example:

  • “I thought Tim’s new apartment was nice-ish.”
    • The apartment is ok, but not wonderful.
  • “Do you need a jacket? It’s cold-ish outside.”
    • It’s not very cold, but it’s also not warm.
  • “How are you? You look a little tired-ish.”
    • The person looks tired, but the speaker wants to be polite.

-y

We use the suffix “-y” to mean “like this” or “with this characteristic.” Usually, we use this suffix to create an adjective from a noun. For example:

  • “You like soccer. You should come play. We will have lots of soccer-y fun.”
    • The type of fun will be soccer-related.
  • “Pizza Gourmet was a little too restaurant-y for me. I wanted a home-cooked meal.”
    • This person didn’t want the feeling of a restaurant.
  • “Wow! She didn’t look good on stage. She was way too make-up-y.”
    • The woman had too much make-up on her face.

Remember, these adjectives aren’t actual English words, but they help people casually communicate.

Can you make a new English adjective?

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