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Writing Style

Word Form (WF)

You can use suffixes to change the form of many English words.

The same root word could be used as a noun, a verb, an adjective, or an adverb when different suffixes are used.
education (noun): Education is an important part of effective patient care.
educate (verb): Nurses educate patients daily.
educational (adjective): Informational brochures are one educational technique used by healthcare organizations.
educationally (adverb): UCQ provides educationally sound programs.
**Notice that the different word forms are used in different places within a sentence.

Using the correct form of a word in a sentence helps your ideas to be clear, your reader to focus on those ideas, and your writing to be easier to read. 

Understanding different word forms will help you understand complex sentences when reading, write more varied sentences, and write more effective paraphrases.

Knowing the part of speech you need to use in a sentence (e.g., noun or verb) and the suffixes used for each part of speech will help you avoid word form errors.


  • Ask yourself if you need a word to name an object, express an action, describe an object, or modify an action or description when deciding what part of speech you need in a sentence. 

name an object = noun
express an action = verb
describe an object = adjective
modify an action or description = adverb

More Information

"Choosing the Correct Word Form," George Mason University Writing Center

"Word Forms," Athabasca University Write Site

"Word Formation Exercises,"