Use of “ish” in English

An ESL student recently asked me “When I can use ‘ish’ in English?” Such a great question! I looked for a single article to answer her question but didn’t find one. So I thought I’d share a succinct explanation in case it’s helpful.

#1 Suffix used to form adjectives from nouns: babyish; girlish; mulish, bookish; freakish Source/further study: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/-ish

#2 Suffix added to adjective to mean “somewhat” oldish; reddish; sweetish Source/further study: http://www.dictionary.com/browse/-ish

#3 Added to numbers, times and quantities to indicate an approximation: Ok, I’ll come and pick you up from your house at seven-ish. He looks about 40-ish. Maybe older. Source/further study: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/grammar/british-grammar/word-formation/ish-and-y

#4 Can be used by itself to mean “Kind of” or “sort of”: Would you say that movie had a happy ending? Yeah, ish. [happy-ish] Is everyone excited? I am — ish. [excited-ish] Will the weather be nice tomorrow? I think so, ish. [nice-ish] Source/further study: http://www.slate.com/culture/2018/03/nba-player-curses-in-salt-lake-city-utahns-cant-believe-their-ears.html

Please note, this is an American English explanation. An English speaker in another country might have some other uses for “ish” or might not use these.
May 2, 2018
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Allison Pharr

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Hi! I'm Allison. I'm a native English speaker from the United States, living in Spain. I've been tutoring students from around the world in conversational English for over a year now. Because I love it so much, I decided to earn a certificate to teach English as a foreign language (TESOL). I'm taking the in the second half of my TESOL studies now. They say that 20% of language learning should spent learning the rules (like grammar and vocabulary), and 80% should be practice. That's what I'm here for! As a foreign language learner myself, I personally find this to be true. I spent a year learning Spanish in the classroom, but it wasn't until I found a really nice lady to talk to outside of the classroom that I developed a relationship with Spanish. We talked about subjects that interest me and use vocabulary relevant to my life. Because I felt comfortable with her, I got over my nerves and just talked, even if I wasn't perfect. The point is to communicate. Plus, even Native English speakers don't speak perfectly. That's a secret language teachers never tell you. ;) So let's practice together! What do you say? Hope to see you on the Verbling platform!
Flag
English
globe
United States
time
338
Speaks:
English
B1
,
Spanish
B1
Hi! I'm Allison. I'm a native English speaker from the United States, living in Spain. I've been tutoring students from around the world in conversational English for over a year now. Because I love it so much, I decided to earn a certificate to teach English as a foreign language (TESOL). I'm taking the in the second half of my TESOL studies now. They say that 20% of language learning should spent learning the rules (like grammar and vocabulary), and 80% should be practice. That's what I'm here for! As a foreign language learner myself, I personally find this to be true. I spent a year learning Spanish in the classroom, but it wasn't until I found a really nice lady to talk to outside of the classroom that I developed a relationship with Spanish. We talked about subjects that interest me and use vocabulary relevant to my life. Because I felt comfortable with her, I got over my nerves and just talked, even if I wasn't perfect. The point is to communicate. Plus, even Native English speakers don't speak perfectly. That's a secret language teachers never tell you. ;) So let's practice together! What do you say? Hope to see you on the Verbling platform!
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