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The Suffix -ER: A FREE Morphology Lesson

Cate O'Donnell

3 min read

Nov 29, 2023




Morphology is a powerful tool for teaching older students both decoding longer words and understanding new vocabulary words. We use the suffix -er in two ways. First, we can use the suffix -er to turn a verb into a noun which is the person who does that thing.

teach – teacher

In this lesson, we will focus on using the suffix -er to turn adjectives into comparative adjectives. We use comparative adjectives to compare two things. If we need to compare more than two things, we use superlative adjectives.

suffix er example of taller and shorter

In this lesson, you will teach students many things.

  1. suffixes come at the end of words

  2. suffixes change the meaning of a word

  3. suffixes are not words, but they are units of meaning

  4. we use the suffix -er to turn adjectives into comparative adjectives

  5. sometimes we have to change the spelling at the end of the base word to add the -er suffix

  6. there are some irregular comparative adjectives

It is helpful for students to know the parts of speech as they work on morphology. If your students need to work on parts of speech, I highly recommend this writing program. It teaches writing complete sentences based on parts of speech. If you need to, you can even use these two programs at the same time.

writing complete sentences

Teaching the Suffix -ER

To teach your students about the suffix -er, display the presentation below. You can access the presentation from this website for free. You can also purchase the slideshow for use at school.

This lesson teaches the function of the suffix, but it focuses on spelling because there are so many spelling rules for adding suffixes that begin with a vowel. At the beginning of each lesson, you will share the slide with the basic information and the chart that shows the different spelling patterns. Then, students will practice the spelling patterns using this routine:

  1. You display an adjective from the presentation.

  2. Students write the adjective with the -er suffix in their writing notebooks or on a whiteboard.

  3. You display the adjective with the suffix -er from the presentation (the next slide).

  4. Students check their work and get immediate feedback.

This is a spiral review lesson. Each day, you will teach students one spelling pattern for the suffix -er. Students will practice that pattern and review any past patterns. The complete lesson will take ten days. You also get mixed review for practice later in the year to keep your students fresh.

Here is a review of the spelling rules for the suffix:

For most one-syllable adjectives, simply add "-er":

tall → taller

fast → faster

short → shorter

For one-syllable adjectives ending in "e", just add "-r":

nice → nicer

large → larger

fine → finer

For one-syllable adjectives ending in a single vowel followed by a single consonant, double the final consonant before adding "-er":

big → bigger

hot → hotter

thin → thinner

For two-syllable adjectives ending in "y", change the "y" to "i" and add "-er":

happy → happier

busy → busier

funny → funnier

For adjectives with two or more syllables that do not end in "y", use "more" before the adjective instead of adding "-er":

beautiful → more beautiful

important → more important

expensive → more expensive

Check out this list of words with the suffix. You can use this list to build your own activities for your classroom. You can also get a printable .pdf.

suffix er word list

More Morphology Practice

Do you love this lesson? You can access all of the morphology lessons for FREE on this website! You can also purchase the presentations!

Base Words

The Suffixes -S and -ES

The Suffix -ING

The Suffix -ER for Comparative Adjectives

The Suffix -EST for Superlative Adjectives

The Suffix -ER for Someone Who

The Suffix -ED for Past Tense Verbs



The Prefix DIS- 


The Prefix IN- Meaning Not

The Suffix -FUL Meaning Full Of

The Suffix -LESS Meaning Without

The Suffix -Y Meaning What Something is Like

The Suffix -LY Meaning How an Action is Done

The Prefix UNDER

The Prefix OVER

The Prefix NON

The Prefix PRE

The Prefixes BI/DI

The Prefix TRI

The Prefix QUAD

The Prefix OCT



The Prefix SEMI

The Prefix SUPER

The Prefix MULTI

The Prefix POLY

The Prefix TELE

The Prefix MID

The Prefix MIS

The Prefix INTER

The Prefix DECA/DECI

The Prefix KILO

The Prefix SUB


suffix er

Cate O'Donnell

3 min read

Nov 29, 2023




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