Like a human family, a word family does not include all possible members. Just as some families have several sisters but no brothers, word families do not include all of the possible parts of speech.
These word families were chosen because many of my students have needed help with them. Many are false cognates of Spanish.They resemble Spanish words but have different meanings. Several are also useful in medical-care settings.
For the families below, some words have been filled in (using italics), and some have been left blank for you. Fill in the blanks in your head or on paper with the right member of each word family. Use the words already given in italics as examples. If you prefer, you can go to Free Printable Worksheets to download a slightly different version as a printable pdf.
If you have any questions, see List of Suffixes for the different endings that make nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs.
Check your answers below. Then try the interactive practice using these words in sentences.
1. Verb: (to) support
1 A. Noun (Concept): (same as verb): __________
1 B. Noun (Person): (+ -er):____________
1 C. Negative adj.*: ____________
1 D. Adj,from present participle (-ing) form: ____________
To support means to strengthen, uphold, or maintain. It does not mean to endure, as its Spanish false cognate does.
*(Un- is the most common negative prefix. If another negative is needed for one of the words in this exercise, I’ll provide it for you.)
2. Verb: (to) endure
2 A. Adjective of capability : ___________ (You can guess it from the negative below.)
Neg. adj. of capability: unendurable
2 B. Adjective from pres. part. meaning long-lasting: ____________
(Durable and durability are an adjective and a noun of capability also made from the Latin durare, which means 'to last' or 'to harden.' So does the noun 'duration'-- the length of time something lasts.)
3. Verb (to) bear
To bear means to endure (or to carry), and is not related to the large animal with the same name, although spelling and pronunciation are the same.
3 A. Adjective of capability: ____________
3 B. Neg. adj. of capability: _____________
3 C.Neg. adverb of capability:______________
4. Adjective: hard
Hard has two meanings: difficult-- the opposite of easy, or durable and unbreakable-- the opposite of soft.
Verb: (to) harden
Nouns: hardship (a difficult condition to endure), or hardness (a condition of firmness and unbreakability)
4 A. Adj. from past participle: _________
Adv: also hard (Not hardly, which means scarcely or barely.)
5. Verb: (to) assist (means to help)
Noun (Concept): assistance
Noun (Person): assistant
5 A. Adj. from past participle.: ___________
5 B. Neg. adj./past part.: _____________
6. Verb: (to) attend
To attend means to be present at school, work, or another event. It can also mean to care for or wait on someone’s needs.
Nouns (Concept): attendance (being present) or attention (alertness)
Noun (Person): attendant
Adj.: attentive (paying attention to the needs of others)
Neg. adj. from above: inattentive (unattentive is also correct according to the dictionary, but less common.)
2nd Neg. adj-- from past part.: unattended, which means unwatched or uncared for)
6 A. Adverb from first adj above: ___________
Use the same word families to fill in the blanks for the interactive exercise below.(It includes some explanations as well as examples.) Choose the best answer for each question.
For more practice, see Word Formation Examples & Exercises. You might also be interested in 50 Word Roots from Latin. You can see more examples of these word family endings in the English words that come from them-- and guess even more forms.
For example, the English word 'exclude'-- to shut out-- comes from claudere. It has a noun form: 'exclusion,' the adjectives 'exclusive' and 'excluded,' and an adverb 'exclusively' and noun 'exclusivity' made from the adjective. The verb 'recline,' from clinare also has the noun form 'recliner' (a reclinable chair), and adjective forms 'reclining' and 'reclinable.'
After practicing with word family forms, can you guess what those different forms mean and how they are used?