That Little ‘-Ish’ Suffix. Do You Know It?

Have you ever heard someone say, “I’ll be there around 5-ish”?

 Don’t worry, they’re not making a grammar mistake. They’re simply using the versatile ‘-ish‘ suffix!

This little suffix adds a touch of vagueness and charm to our speech, and it leaves room for interpretation. 

It means “about” or “approximately”.

For example, instead of saying “I’ll be there at around 7 o’clock,” you can simply say, “I‘ll be there at 7ish.” This sounds cooler and more casual, and it gives you a little wiggle room in case you’re running late.

But -ish can also be attached to colours, adjectives, nouns and numerals to indicate “close to,” “having something of this quality,” or “round about that time.”

Here are a few examples:

  • Colours: reddish, greenish, blueish
  • Adjectives: loudish, smallish, sweetish
  • Nouns: childish, girlish, amateurish
  • Numerals: fortyish, 1994-ish, 100 million-ish

It is generally only used with short, simple words that are easy to pronounce. 

Try using the -ish suffix in your own speech and see how it sounds. It’s a fun way to add a little personality and charm to your words!

Just be careful not to overuse it, especially in professional settings.


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Foto Christine Sparks

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