The Suffix -ship (31 Example Sentences PLUS Video)

I love to teach suffixes that are also stand-alone words. The suffix -ship is a great example because most of my students know this word already. I put this post together for ESL students and teachers. Use this vocabulary puzzle piece to increase your vocabulary.

The suffix -ship is used in nouns to show…
① the position or quality of
“Our friendship goes back many years.”
② status or place
“Jamal just got his Canadian citizenship.”
③ capability 
“He is still doing an apprenticeship.”
④ category or class
“My gym membership expires in May.”

I looked at hundreds of words that end with the suffix -ship and chose the most common words for this post.

Ship – Meaning

A ship is a large boat that carries people or goods by sea.

*I didn’t include words like battleship or airship in the prefix example list. Those are both types of vehicles (large) that don’t fit the pattern of this post.

Ship can also be a verb that means to send or transport somebody/something
People or things can be sent in any kind of vehicle, not only ships.

  • It costs more to ship things by air (in a plane) than by sea (in a ship) but it’s faster.

The Suffix -ship – Meaning

The suffix -ship in nouns

the state or quality of

​the status or office of

​skill or ability as

​the group of

ship_2 suffix – 

The Suffix -ship・Examples

  1. apprenticeship – a period of time working as an apprentice; a job as an apprentice [a young person who works for an employer for a fixed period of time in order to learn the particular skills needed in their job]
  • Eric is starting his electrical apprenticeship this spring. 
  1. authorship – [uncountable] the identity of the person who wrote something, especially a book
  • Some people question the authorship of some of his earlier books. 
  1. censorship – the act or policy of censoring [to remove the parts of a book, film, etc. that are considered to be offensive or a political threat]
  • Universities should be a place of learning and discovery. They should not engage in censorship
  1. championship – a competition to find the best player or team in a particular sport
  • My uncle played in the national basketball championship when he was younger. 
  1. citizenship – the legal right to belong to a particular country
  • In Canada, new immigrants start the road to citizenship every day. 
  1. courtship – [countable, uncountable] (old-fashioned) the time when two people have a romantic relationship before they get married
  • Many birds sing a song of courtship in order to find a romantic partner. 
  1. craftsmanship – the level of skill shown by somebody in making something beautiful with their hands
  • The furniture in the store showed great craftsmanship and was of high quality. 
  1. dealership – a business that buys and sells products, especially cars, for a particular company; the position of being a dealer who can buy and sell something
  • Mark just got a job at the Tesla dealership downtown. 
  1. dictatorship – [countable, uncountable] government by a dictator [a political leader who has complete power over a country, especially one who has gained it using military force]
  • Over the years, the small country became a dictatorship and very few of the residents were happy. 
  1. fellowship – [uncountable] (formal) a feeling of friendship between people who do things together or share an interest
  • The school counseling office was a safe space for students to talk. They could find fellowship with other students. 
  1. flagship – [usually singular] the most important product, service, building, etc. that an organization owns or produces
  • The high-tech, 4-story building is Apple’s flagship store.
  1. friendship – [countable] a relationship between friends
  • Our friendship goes back many years.
  1. gamesmanship – the ability to win games by making your opponent less confident and using rules to your advantage
  • This kind of gamesmanship is usually frowned upon by the league. 

*Another word with the suffix -ship that has an opposite feeling to gamesmanship is…

sportsmanship – fair, generous, and polite behavior, especially when playing a sport or game

  • To see the players shake hands after the match is a sign of good sportsmanship.
  1. guardianship – the state or position of being responsible for somebody/something
  • After the young boy’s parents died in the accident the court awarded guardianship to his aunt and uncle. 
  1. hardship – a situation that is difficult and unpleasant because you do not have enough money, food, clothes, etc.
  • Refugees often seek to escape hardship in their home countries. 
  1. horsemanship – skill in riding horses 
  • Jennifer was admired for her horsemanship and general knowledge of the animals. 
  1. kingship – the state of being a king; the official position of a king
  • The new leader was having his kingship challenged by the opposition. 
  1. leadership – [uncountable] the state or position of being a leader
  • His lack of experience and poor leadership skills made him the worst president the company had ever seen. 
  1. marksmanship – skill in shooting
  • At the Academy, Brad was recognized for his marksmanship.
  1. membership – [uncountable, countable] the state of being a member of a group, a club, an organization, etc.
  • My gym membership expires in May.
  1. musicianship – skill in performing or writing music
  • The band is known worldwide for its musicianship and willingness to support new artists. 

Shape Up or Ship Out

​(informal) used to tell somebody that if they do not improve, work harder, etc. they will have to leave their job, position, etc.

“The lead singer’s drug use was getting out of control. The band told him it was time to shape up or ship out.” 

  1. ownership – the fact of owning something
  • Home ownership is something to think about when planning your future.
  1. partnership – [uncountable] the state of being a partner in business
  • The two companies entered a partnership that would benefit them both. 
  1. readership – ​[usually singular] the number or type of people who read a particular newspaper, magazine, etc.
  • The convenience of the Internet has really decreased the readership of newspapers and magazines. 
  1. relationship – [countable] the way in which two people, groups, or countries behave towards each other or deal with each other
  • The two countries have a love-hate relationship
  1. ridership – the passengers who use a given public transportation system, such as buses or trains, or the number of such passengers
  • We have seen an increase in subway ridership since the city lowered the fee. 
  1. scholarship – [countable] an amount of money given to somebody by an organization to help pay for their education
  • Philip earned a football scholarship for University. 
  1. sponsorship – [uncountable, countable] financial support from a sponsor [a person or company that pays for a radio or television program, or for a concert or sporting event, usually in return for advertising]
  • Sponsorship for our town soccer team is provided by our local Tesla dealership. Downtown Tesla is written across the front of our jerseys.
  1. township – (in the US or Canada) a division of a county that is a unit of local government
  • I grew up in Saginaw Township, Michigan. My family still lives there.
  1. viewership – the number or type of people who watch a particular television program or television channel
  • TV viewership has dropped since streaming services have become so popular.
  1. workmanship – the skill with which somebody makes something, especially when this affects the way it looks or works
  • He was praised for the quality of his workmanship.

Take a look at these other great suffix and prefix posts!

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