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Spell Tricky Words Using the Suffix -ous

In this worksheet, students will learn how to use the suffix -ous in more complex ways.

'Spell Tricky Words Using the Suffix -ous' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Year:  Year 3 English worksheets

Curriculum topic:   Writing: Transcription

Curriculum subtopic:   Use Prefixes and Suffixes

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

We can use prefixes and suffixes to change the meaning of some words.  

We call the original word a root word.


Prefixes go at the start of words. 

For example: un + kind = unkind. 

The prefix un means not.  When we add it to the root word kind we create its opposite.


Suffixes go at the end of words.

For example: cheer + ful = cheerful

The suffix ful turns a noun (naming word) into an adjective (describing word).


happy girl


In this activity, we will look at the use of the suffix -ousIt means full of.


This suffix turns a noun (naming word) into an adjective (describing word). 

For example: danger (noun) becomes dangerous (adjective).


Sometimes, we have to make a change to the root word before we add -ous.


Usually, if the root word ends in e, we remove it before adding the suffix -ous.

For example: fame (noun) becomes famous (adjective).

Did you spot the missing e?


boy with magnifying glass


However, when the root word ends in ge we keep the e before adding -ous.

For example: courage (noun) becomes courageous (verb). 

Did you spot the e?


thumbs up


If there is an 'ee' sound before the -ous ending, it is usually spelt with an i.

For example: serious, curious.


However, sometimes, the 'ee' sound is spelt with an e.

For example hideous, spontaneous.


boy holding head


That's a lot to get your head round, so the other rules for adding -ous can be practised in another activity!


Here are some examples of words that use this suffix that we will practise in this activity:









You can listen to them here:



You can break the words up into the root word and the suffix to help you to spell them, even when they don't have an obvious root word.


fam ous

courage ous

seri ous

curi ous

hide ous

spontane ous


Let's use Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check to practise the spellings a few times before we begin the activity.

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