The Complete List of
English Spelling Rules
18: -ious or -eous
this series of lessons, you will learn useful spelling rules
This lesson will give you examples of two common adjective suffixes
in English: -ious
that you can learn when to use each.
a free worksheet + answer key.
You have learned that an adjective
in English describes a
noun. You can often recognize adjectives easily because of their
Two suffixes that always form adjectives are -ious
Unfortunately there are no firm rules to tell you when to use each,
but reviewing the lists below will help you learn when to use each.
1. -ious with a short U sound
Poor Gerald is feeling very anxious
about the presentation.
Click Here for Step-by-Step Rules, Stories and Exercises to Practice All English Tenses
The first thing to remember is that the adjective suffix -ious
is much more common than the ending -eous
And of course, all the
words ending in these two suffixes are
There are two ways to pronounce the -ious
ending. Sometimes the I is silent, so that the entire -ious
ending is pronounced like "us" with a short U sound
Here are some of the most common examples with this pronunciation:
2. -ious with a long E sound and a short U sound
Margaret told me a hilarious
In the second way to pronounce the -ious
ending, the I is not silent. It has a long E sound
, followed by the
, as above. So, the pronunciation of the whole -ious
ending is "ee-us."
Here are some common examples of adjectives with this pronunciation:
3. -eous with a short U sound
Nora's sunflowers are gorgeous
The adjective suffix -eous
is much less common than -ious
However, it can also be pronounced in the same two ways we just saw
Here are the most common adjectives in which the -eous
ending is pronounced like "us":
4. -eous with a long E sound and a short U sound
Karen was very courteous
when she welcomed Ben to the office.
Just like the -ious
can also be pronounced with a long
, than a short
Here are the most common adjectives with this pronunciation for the -eous
So, let's review what we have learned about the adjective suffixes
- The suffix -ious
is much more common than -eous.
- There are no strict rules to tell you when to use each.
- Both these suffixes form adjectives.
- Both suffixes can be pronounced as "us" or as "ee-us." It
is best to learn these adjectives in groups by spelling and
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