This post will be very helpful for anyone studying or teaching English who wants to know how to use the suffix -al. This was a fun post to write, I learned many cool things while doing the research.
The suffix -al is used in adjectives to mean connected with
– social = connect with society
- “It’s been hard to be social during the quarantine but I’m still talking with friends online.”
The suffix -al is used in nouns to mean a process or a state of
- “The store is offering a free trial for 30 days.”
I put together 84 common words that use the suffix -al. Most words are adjectives but you’ll also find a few nouns and some words with origins from older languages. If you want to increase your vocabulary, you’re in the right place!
Spelling Guide for the Suffix -al
I collected a list of common words with the suffix -al and I looked at the different spellings. Here are some patterns that I found. (I don’t want to call them RULES!) There are always exceptions, so be careful.
|If the word ends with the letters N or C |
|addition + al = additional|
education + al = educational
classic + al = classical
|If the word ends with the letter Y|
Change the y to an i and add -cal
|biology + al = biological |
biography + al = biographical
history + al = historical
|*Some letter Y exceptions No pattern|
|controversy + al = controversial|
navy + -al = naval
territory + -al = territorial
|If the word ends with the letters NT|
Just add -al
|environment + al = environmental|
experiment + al = experimental
|If the word ends with the letter E |
Drop the e and add -al
|arrive + al = arrival|
culture + al = cultural
globe + al = global
|If the word ends with the letters CE |
Drop the e and add -ial
|finance + al = financial |
race + al = racial
Some More Exceptions (I didn’t find a pattern)
|crime + al = criminal|
idea + al = ideal
medicine + -al = medical
|minimum + al = minimal |
spirit + al = spiritual
theory + -al = theoretical
If you can find any words with the suffix -al that don’t fit the patterns I found, please let us know in the comments.
Adjectives with the Suffix -al
Every vocabulary word in this list has a link to its Dictionary meaning.
Over 95% of the links will take you to Oxford Learners Dictionaries.com which contains an audio link so that you can hear the correct pronunciation.
A natural example sentence follows each word so you can see how these words are used in English.
- The doctor ordered a few additional tests to make sure.
- This town is about 80% agricultural.
- These supplements are supposed to be beneficial for people who need more energy.
- I was adopted when I was 3 years old and I’ve never met my biological parents.
- This bus will take you downtown to the central terminal. From there it’s easy to get anywhere in the city.
- My uncle really loves classical music. He used to play the piano when he was much younger.
- Rising sea levels will be the hardest on people living in coastal areas.
- This area downtown has been marked for commercial developments. They’re planning to build a new Shopping Center and entertainment complex.
- I don’t think the new law will pass, it’s not constitutional.
- Some of Al’s views are very controversial.
- He has shown signs of criminal behavior in the past so I’m not surprised that he got into trouble last week.
- People are very critical of the changes that the city has made to the downtown area.
- The city tore down some buildings that had significant cultural importance.
- I like to watch documentaries. They’re fun and also educational because you learn about real events.
- My dad is great with anything electrical. He has worked with machines all his life.
- It’s always emotional leaving my family after visiting for a few weeks. I’m happy to get back to Japan but a little sad at the same time.
- We need to take care of environmental issues right away. We can’t wait any longer.
- Dinner was really exceptional. You are an amazing cook Karen.
- I am participating in an experimental drug trial next week. I can earn some money for college.
- My friend is the manager of a bank so I can always count on him for good financial advice.
- I was planning to wear my khaki pants to dinner. I’m not sure if it’s formal or informal so khaki pants seem safe.
- This pair of pants has many pockets so it’s very functional but I don’t really like the style. You know what they say, fashion over function.
- I have a satellite phone that works in all geographical locations.
- The country’s president was crazy and dreamed of global domination.
- The two countries signed a historic peace deal.
- The morning sun was shining, the lake was calm, and the air was cool. It was ideal weather for fishing.
- This smartphone costs double what this other smartphone costs, but they are virtually identical.
- This part of town has been zoned for industrial use. That means only factories can build here, no houses or apartments.
- Elon Musk is one of the most influential people of our generation.
- Many people feel the problems that minorities face are institutional.
- Sometimes it’s nice to just sit down with a friend and have a real intellectual conversation.
- The international panel has a proposal to help maintain the supply of freshwater to the region.
- Your idea seems logical but I’m not sure if we have enough money in our budget.
- Tokyo Disney Sea is a magical place. I have so much fun every time I go there.
- My motorcycle has some mechanical problems right now.
- He was rushed to the hospital for medical attention.
- Andrea is so lazy, she does a minimal amount of work at the office.
- My nephew has just joined a band playing the drums. I always thought he was musical.
- My wife and I went to a national museum last week, they had many Van Gogh pieces on display.
- Earthquakes and hurricanes are natural disasters.
- My dad was a naval Commander when he retired from the military in 2008.
- After the quarantine, everyone was excited to return to a normal life.
- I don’t drink but I will enjoy the occasional glass of wine.
- The city’s professional baseball team will be moving next year. They made an official announcement today.
- The world’s biggest offshore wind farm is now fully operational.
- I just bought an original Volkswagen Beetle from 1945.
- An electrical problem led to a partial blackout in the city last night.
- If you just met someone it’s not polite to ask questions that are too personal.
- It’s also not a good idea to have a political conversation with someone you just met.
- High heel shoes are sexy but they’re not very practical. It must be hard to walk in high heels all day!
- I’m afraid the president is not acting very presidential.
- My boyhood heroes were all professional hockey players.
Boyhood is a word made with the suffix -hood learn more about this suffix at my post > How do you use the suffix -hood? (16 Common Examples)
- Reg was diagnosed with a psychological disorder.
- We should all be working towards racial harmony.
- If we win the regional tournament we qualify for the state championship.
- Cities are usually divided into commercial, industrial, and residential areas.
- He was accused of making unwanted sexual advances toward his female co-workers.
- Parties are fun for me, I like to do anything social.
We sometimes use anti-social to describe someone who doesn’t like to be around other people.
- I would invite Teresa but she’s a little bit anti-social for me.
*Even more about negative prefixes at my blog post here > Learn to use 9 Negative prefixes (Over 225 real examples)
- She felt like she was on the verge of a spiritual awakening.
- Carson is a statistical analyst for a professional basketball team. It seems like a cool job but you have to know a lot of math.
- After the big storm, there was severe structural damage to the school.
- It’s going to take a substantial amount of money to repair.
- I could get technical here but I don’t want to bore everyone.
- The two countries are in a technological race to see who can send people to Mars first. For humans to survive on Mars we will need lots of new technology.
- Hippos are very territorial and will fight strongly to protect their area.
- I was shocked to learn that a famous actor also has a degree in theoretical physics.
- We need to return to our traditional values. Young people today have very little moral guidance.
- I’m happy to vacation somewhere tropical but I wouldn’t want to live there. I like living in a big city.
- In Canada, we have universal healthcare.
- I went to the bar after work and all the usual people were there.
- This weather is unusual for August.
Nouns with the Suffix -al
arrival – arrive + al
- The townspeople all got ready for the storm’s arrival.
denial – deny + -al
- The signs were all there but some people were just in denial.
disposal – dispose + al
- Garbage disposal has been a problem in our city. We need more staff for garbage collection.
proposal – propose + -al
- Hector made a proposal but it was rejected by the partners.
refusal – refuse + al
- Hector blamed it on the partners’ refusal to change the direction of the company.
removal – remove + al
- Trash removal is handled by the city government.
signal – sign + al
*Note – The pronunciation of sign sounds quite different than the pronunciation of signal.
The ‘G’ in the word sign is silent. Sign sounds like fine, mine, or wine.
- Turn right at the stop sign.
The word signal has a strong ‘G’ sound like in the words big, dig, or pig.
- The ship sent a distress signal hoping to get some help.
survival – survive + al
- After the surgery, there is a high rate of survival for someone his age.
trial – try + al
- The store is offering a free trial for 30 days.
Common Words With The Suffix -al Made From Older Languages
annual – happening or done once every year
From late Middle English: from Old French annuel, from late Latin annualis, based on Latin annus ‘year’.
- It’s time for our annual trip to the mountains. My family goes camping every year.
final – being or happening at the end of a series of events, actions, statements, etc.
From Middle English (in the adjectival sense ‘conclusive’): from Old French, or from Latin finalis, from finis ‘end’. Compare with finish.
- This will be our final party before we go off to university next year. Let’s enjoy ourselves!
internal – Internal is not related to the noun or the verb intern. Internal means the inside of something.
From the early 16th cent. (in the sense ‘intrinsic’): from modern Latin internalis, from Latin internus ‘inward, internal’.
- The company will do some internal shuffling after the new president arrives next week.
- My cousin is a doctor of internal medicine.
From late Middle English (in the sense ‘to do with Mosaic law’): from French, or from Latin legalis, from lex, leg- ‘law’. Compare with loyal.
- You should move your car, it’s not legal to park there.
- In Arizona and New York, it’s illegal to own a pet alligator.
local – belonging to or connected with the particular place or area that you are talking about or with the place where you live
From late Middle English: from late Latin localis, from Latin locus ‘place’.
- Whenever I travel, I try to enjoy as much of the local food as I can.
verbal – This is NOT an adjective relating to verbs. It means relating to words.
- All teachers must have good verbal skills.
- A large part of communication is non-verbal. We say a lot with our body language whenever we communicate with others.”
Verbal becomes the verb verbalize when you add the suffix -ize. It means: to put your ideas or thoughts into words.
- He’s a smart guy but he has trouble trying to verbalize his ideas.
How To Use The Suffix -ize (List, Definitions, 48 Examples)
visual – of or connected with seeing or sight
From late Middle English (originally describing a beam imagined to proceed from the eye and make vision possible): from late Latin visualis, from Latin visus ‘sight’, from videre ‘to see’. Compare vision.
- After the accident, Dennis had some visual impairments due to an injury to his eye.
The Suffix -al PDF Download
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For a super deep dive into the suffix -al visit https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/-al
Learn more about PREFIXES and SUFFIXES at the great posts below.