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A Grammar of Interlingua

Alexander Gode & Hugh Blair IALA 1951

Word Building - derivation

from verbs


The suffixes used in DERIVING NEW WORDS FROM VERBS are generally linked to the verbal stem by means of transition features which are not the same for all verbs nor for all suffixes.

It is customary to cite the transition features as part of the postverbal suffixes with the result that practically everyone of them appears under several variant forms (as -ation, -ition, -ion, etc.). Exceptions are the constant suffixes -ada, -age, and -eria. With all variable forms reduced to their non-variable portion, the postverbal suffixes are:


Every verb may be said to have two distinct forms under which it can enter into a postverbal suffix derivative. The first of these combining forms or stems is always the infinitive less the infinitive endings -ar, -er, or -ir. The suffixes which combine with this stem are -ada, -age, -eria, -nte, -ntia, -mento, -bile. The last four of these require a "transition feature." In the case of verbs in -ar, it is always -a-; in the case of verbs in -er, it is -i- for -mento and -bile and -e- for -nte and -ntia; in the case of verbs in -ir, it is -i- for -mento and -bile and -ie- for -nte and -ntia. For illustrations, see §152.


Thus the full forms of the postverbal suffixes which combine with the infinitive less the infinitive ending (first stem) are:

Under these forms the individual suffixes are treated below. Note that -ante and its variants are present participles and as such are treated in §94 above.


The second combining form or stem is either irregular - in which case it is given in the Interlingua-English Dictionary (see, for instance, under figer, verter, cognoscer, etc.) - or results from the first stem by the addition of -at- in the case of verbs in -ar and or -it- in the case of verbs in -er and -ir. The suffixes which combine with the second stem are -ion, -ive, -ura, -or, -ori, -orio.

For a descriptive survey of irregular second stems, see Appendix I.

A collateral system of dealing with irregular stems to be adopted or rejected systematically but not to be mixed haphazardly with the system outlined in the text- is based on a fourfold in lieu of a threefold grouping of verbs.

  1. The groups with infinitives in -ar and -ir remain unaffected.
  2. The group of verbs listed in the Interlingua-English Dictionary with infinitives ending in -er is subdivided in
    1. infinitives which remain unaffected
    2. infinitives in unstressed -ere

The group of verbs with infinitives in unstressed -ere coincides almost completely with those verbs which are listed in the Interlingua-English Dictionary (and described in Appendix I) as having infinitives in -er and an irregular second stem. When this system is adopted, it follows (with the two qualifications given below) that all verbs in -ere have irregular second stems. To establish the complete new group of verbs in -ere, it must (a) be made to include a number of verbs which are listed in the Dictionary without an irregular second stem and (b) be reduced by some verbs which do appear in the Dictionary with an irregular stem.

(a) The group of verbs in -ere does include the following verbs which have no irregular second stem: addere, appetere, arguere, congruere, in- and succumbere, edere 'to eat,' edere 'to edit,' essere, fremere, furere, lambere, molere, perdere, petere, rendere, strepere, tremere, vergere, vivere, and their compounds.

(b) The group of verbs in -ere does not include the following verbs which do have irregular second stems: censer, compler, deler, docer, ad-, co-, and inherer, indulger, luger, miscer, morder, mover, mulger, pender, posseder, rider, seder, as-, dis-, pre-, re-, sub-, obsider, sorber, sponder, suader, tener, tonder, torquer, torrer, vider, and their compounds.

In regard to all derivatives the verbs in unstressed -ere follow the patterns described in the text for verbs in stressed -er. All past participles in -ite (whether from verbs in -er or -ere) are stressed on the third syllable from the end and are not affected by the collateral spelling discussed in §15h above.


By linking the elements -at- and -it- with the suffixes listed, a survey of forms results in which the distinction between first and second stem need be maintained only for verbs with an irregular second stem. The forms are:

For regular verbs in
(added to simple stem)
For regular verbs in
-er and -ir
(added to simple stem)
For irregular verbs
(added to second stem)
-ation -ition -ion
-ative -itive -ive
-atura -itura -ura
-ator -itor -or
-atori -itori -ori
-atorio -itorio -orio
-ate -ite -e


Note: All verbs may be treated as regular with the result of doublets like facer 'to make' > factor or facitor 'maker'; tender 'to stretch' > tenditor or tensor 'stretcher (one who stretches)'; etc. In new formations the regular variant is generally preferred. The suffix -ate and its variants form participial adjectives as treated in §95 above. Tile suffix -bile which combines regularly with the first stem, is joined to the irregular second stem when it ends in -pt-, -st-, -s-, -ss-, or -x-.


On the use of the full infinitive forms as nouns, see §83 above.


Nouns and adjectives are derived from verbs by means of the suffixes listed below. The infinitive endings in parentheses following the suffix variants identify the class of regular verbs to which the use of a particular suffix is restricted. The suffix variants restricted in use to combinations with irregular second stems are explicitly identified as such.

n 'continued or prolonged action' e.g.
cavalcar 'to ride on horseback' > cavalcada 'horseback ride'
new formation:
currer 'to run' > currada 'running, run'
Note: For formations from nouns, see §138. For synonyms and quasi-synonyms, see §154.
n 'action or process of' e.g.
acierar 'to plate with steel' > acierage 'steel plating';
new formations:
borrar 'to stuff' > borrage '(action of) stuffing';
contrafacer 'to counterfeit' > contrafaciage 'counterfeiting'
Note: For formations from nouns, see §138; spelled -agi- before -a- or -o- of additional suffix. For synonyms and quasi-synonyms, see §154.
  1. 'place where... is done' e.g.
    distillar 'to distill' > distilleria 'distillery';
    new formations:
    blanchir 'to bleach' > blancheria 'bleachery'; piscar 'to fish' > pischeria 'fishing place';
  2. 'art, craft, trade, or practice; also: the product of such work' e.g.
    brodar 'to embroider' > broderia 'embroidery';
    new formation:
    robar 'to rob' > roberia 'robbery'
Note: For formations from nouns, see §138. For synonyms and quasi-synonyms, see §154.
-amento (-ar), -imento (-er, -ir)
n 'action or result' e.g.
arrangiar 'to arrange' > arrangiamento 'arrangement';
abolir 'to abolish' > abolimento 'abolishment';
new formation:
fagottar 'to fagot, bind into bundles' > fagottamento 'fagoting';
fulger 'to flash' > fulgimento 'flash, fulguration'
Note: For synonyms and quasi-synonyms, see §154.
-ante (-ar), -ente (-er), -iente (-ir)
adj ', that ...s' e.g.
abundar 'to abound' > abundante 'abounding, abundant';
coherer 'to cohere, be coherent' > coherente 'coherent';
obedir 'to obey' > obediente 'obedient';
new formations:
florar 'to flower, to flourish' > florante 'flowering, flourishing';
subscriber 'to subscribe' > subscribente 'subscribing';
inhibir 'to inhibit' > inhibiente 'inhibiting'
Note: Identical with present participle. See §93, especially the note.
-ante (-ar), -ente (-er), -iente (-ir)
n 'one who or that which or ...s' e.g.
brillar 'to shine' > brillante 'brilliant';
studer 'to study' > studente 'student';
emollir [Med.] 'to soften, to mollify' > emolliente 'emollient';
new formations:
formar 'to form' > formante 'formant';
diriger 'to direct, guide, manage' > dirigente 'director conductor, manager';
inhibir 'to inhibit' > inhibiente 'inhibiter, inhibitor'
Note: In form identical with the present participle of which it is a substantivization. See §93, especially the note. In meaning akin to -ator etc. but stressing the cut progress of the action.
-antia (-ar), -entia (-er), -ientia (-ir)
n 'state or quality of... ing' e.g.
tolerar 'to tolera > tolerantia 'tolerance';
adolescer 'to grow up, to become adolescent' > adolescentia 'adolescence';
experir 'to try' > experientia 'experience';
new formations:
irradiar 'to irradiate' > irradiantia 'irradiance';
arder 'to burn' > ardentia 'ardency';
inciper 'to begin' > incipientia 'incipience, incipiency'
Note: Identical in form with derivative in -ia from the present participle. See §93, especially the note, and §141.
-abile (-ar), -ibile (-er,-ir)
adj 'that can be...ed; that is worthy to be...ed' e.g.
observar 'to observe' > observabile 'observable';
admirar 'to admire' > admirabile 'admirable';
leger 'to read' > legibile 'readable, legible';
audir 'to hear' > audibile 'audible';
new formations:
exaggerar 'to exaggerate' > inexaggerabile 'inexaggerable';
financiar 'to finance' > financiabile 'financeable, that can be financed';
finir 'finish' > finibile 'finishable,';
franger 'to break' > frangibile 'frangible, breakable'
In the case of verbs which have an irregular second stem, the form -ibile is used with that stem when it ends in -s-, -pt-, -st-, or -x-. e.g.
perciper (-cip-/-cept-) 'to perceive > perceptibile 'perceptible';
new formation:
tonder (tond-/tons-) 'to cut' > intonsibile 'uncuttable.' See also §150 above.
-ation (-ar), -ition (-er, -ir)
n 'action or result' e.g.
installar 'to install' > installation
adder 'to add' > addition
audir 'to hear' > audition
new formations:
atomisar 'to atomize' > atomisation 'atomization'
amollir 'to soften' > amollition 'softening'
In the case of verbs which have an irregular second stem, the short variant -ion is used with that stem. e.g.
convenir (-ven-/-vent-) 'to convene' > convention
new formations:
derelinquer (-linqu-/-lict-) 'to forsake' > dereliction
consentir (-sent-/-sens-) 'to consent' > consension 'consenting, consent.'
Note: For synonyms and quasi-synonyms, see §154.
-ative (-ar), -itive (-er, -ir)
  1. 'tending to ...' e.g.
    sedar 'to soothe' > sedative
    depler 'deplete' > depletive
    fugir 'to flee' > fugitive
    new formations:
    isolar 'to isolate' > isolative
    moner 'to admonish' > monitive 'admonitive'
    finir 'to finish' > finitive 'concluding'
  2. 'having the function' e.g.
    demonstrar 'to dentrate' > demonstrative
    compler 'to complete' > completive
    partir 'to part, divide' > partitive
    new formations:
    alligar 'to bind' > alligative 'binding'
    circumjacer 'to surround' > circumjacitive 'surrounding';
    guarnir 'to decorate, trim' > guarnitive 'decorative'
In the case of verbs which have an irregular second stem, the short variant -ive is used with that stem. e.g.
reciper (-cip-/-cept-) 'to receive' > receptive
defender (-fend-/-fens-) 'to defend' > defensive
new formations:
eveller (-vell-/-vuls-) 'to tear out' > evulsive 'tending to tear out';
exhaurir (-haur-/-haust-) 'to exhaust' > exhaustive
-ator (-at), -itor (-er, -ir)
n 'one who, or that which ...s' e.g.
administrar 'to administrate' > administrator
accelerar 'to accelerate' > accelerator
consumer 'to consume' > consumitor 'consumer'
expedir 'to send off' > expeditor 'sender'
new formations:
ponderar 'to ponder' > ponderator 'ponderer'
siccar 'to dry' > siccator 'drier'
urger 'to urge' > urgitor 'urger'
compartir 'to partition' > compartitor 'partitioner'
In the case of verbs which have an irregular second stem, the short variant -or is used with that stem. e.g.
distribuer (-tribu-/-tribut-) 'to distribute' > distributor
new formations:
franger (-frang-/-fract-) 'to break' > fractor 'breaker'
exhaurir (-haur-/-haust-) > exhaustor
Note: In meaning akin to -ante etc. which is to be preferred In the case of verbs in -escer. The corresponding feminine form is -atrice etc.
-atori (-at), -itori (-er, -ir)
adj 'pertaining to, or serving for, the action' e.g.
circular 'to circulate' > circulatori 'circulatory'
merer 'to merit' > meritori 'meritorious'
transir 'to go across' > transitori 'transitory';
new formations:
ventilar 'to ventilate' > ventilatori 'ventilatory'
coercer 'to coerce' > coercitori 'coercive'
In the case of verbs which have an irregular second stem, the short variant -ori is used with that stem. e.g.
deluder (-lud-/-lus-) 'to delude' > delusori 'delusory'
new formations:
sentir (-sent-/-sens-) 'to feel' > sensori 'sensory'
accender (-cend-/-cens-) 'to light, ignite' > accensori 'lighting, igniting.'
Note: Frequently serving as the general adjective relating to nouns in -ion.
-atorio (-ar), -itorio (-er, -ir)
n 'place where, installation or instrument with which, is done' e.g.
laborar 'to work' > laboratorio 'laboratory'
abatter 'to knock or cast down' > abattitorio 'slaughterhouse'
audir 'to hear' > auditorio 'auditorium'
new formations:
fumar 'to fume, smoke' > fumatorio 'smoke house, smoking room, etc.'
biber 'to drink' > bibitorio 'drinking place';
blanchir 'to bleach' > blanchitorio 'bleaching ground'
In the case of verbs which have an irregular second stem, the short variant -orio is used with that stem. e.g.
scriber (-scrib-/-script-) 'to write' > scriptorio 'writing desk'
new formation:
calefacer (-fac-/-fact-) 'to heat' > calefactorio 'heating plant.'
-atrice (-ar), -itrice (-er, ir)
n 'a woman who ...s' e.g.
imperar 'to rule over' > imperatrice 'empress'
consumer 'to consume' > consumitrice '(woman) consumer'
expedir 'to send off' > expeditrice '(woman) sender'
new formations:
crear 'to create' > creatrice 'creatress'
moner 'to admonish' > monitrice '(woman) admonisher'
audir 'to hear' > auditrice '(woman) hearer'
In the case of verbs which have an irregular second stem, the short variant -rice is used with that stem, provided it ends in -t-. With other irregular stems, the formation is to be avoided. - e.g.
ager (ag-/act-) 'to act' > actrice 'actress'
new formation:
sarcir (sarc-/sart-) 'to mend' > sartrice 'dressmaker, seamstress.'
Note: Synonym of the corresponding male form, -ator etc., modified by the suffix -essa.
-atura (-ar), -itura (-er, -ir)
n 'action or result of' e.g.
filar 'to spin' > filatura '(act of) spinning'
crear 'to create' > creatura 'creature'
vestir 'to dress' > vestitura 'clothing'
new formations:
martellar 'to hammer' > martellatura 'hammering'
nutrir 'to nourish' > nutritura '(act of) nourishing, nutrition'
In the case of verbs which have an irregular second stem, the short variant -ura is used with that stem. e.g.
miscer (misc- / mixt-) 'to mix' > mixtura 'mixture'
aperir (-per- / -pert-) 'to open' > apertura 'opening'
new formations:
tanger (tang- / tact-) 'to touch' > tactura 'touching'
sarcir (sarc- / sart-) 'to mend' > sartura 'mending, repair.'
Note: For synonyms and quasi-synonyms, see §154.
-ate (-ar), -ite (-er, -ir)
  1. '...ed, being...ed' e.g.
    concentrar 'to concentrate' > concentrate 'concentrated'
    addormir 'to put to sleep' > addormite 'asleep'
    posseder 'to possess' > possedite 'possessed'
    new formations:
    civilisar 'to civilize' > civilisate 'civilized'
    perder 'to lose' > perdite 'lost'
    prohibir 'to prohibit, forbid' > prohibite 'prohibited, forbidden'
  2. '...ed, having ...ed' e.g.
    mediar 'to mediate' > mediate 'mediate'
    tacer 'to be silent' > tacite 'tacit'
    new formations:
    germinar 'to germinate' > germinate 'germinated'
    jacer 'to lie' > jacite 'lying down'
    cader 'to fall' > cadite 'fallen'
    faller 'to fail' > fallite 'failed, that has failed'
In the case of verbs which have an irregular second stem, the short variant -e is used with that stem. e.g.
confunder (-fund-/-fus-) 'to confuse' > confuse 'confused'
new formation:
scriber (scrib- / script-) 'to write' > scripte 'written.'
Note: Identical with the past participle. See §95-§97.


-ante (-ente, -iente)
expressing that a thing or person is performing the action of the verb (causar - causante 'causing': le factor causante le accidente 'the factor which causes the accident')
-ative (-itive, -ive)
expressing that a thing or person tends to, is apt to, etc. perform the action of the verb (causar - causative 'causative': le distinction de plure factores causative 'the distinction of several factors which tend to cause, are likely or apt to cause a certain result')
-atori (-itori, -ori)
expressing that a thing or person is somehow related to, or connected with, the action of the verb (causar - causatori 'causatory': le aspecto causatori del problema 'the aspect of the problem which has to do with how it was caused');
-ate (-ite, -e)
expressing that the action, no longer in progress, was applied to a thing or person (causar - causate 'caused': le accidente causate per su neglecto 'the accident which was caused by his negligence, which his negligence caused');
-abile (-ibile)
expressing that the action can or could or ought to be applied to a thing or person (causar - causabile 'causable': miraculos es causabile solmente per fortias supernatural 'miracles can be caused only by supernatural forces').


Of the POSTVERBAL NOUN SUFFIXES several express more or less distinct aspects of the action of the verb.

  1. -ada
  2. -age
  3. -eria
  4. -amento (-imento)
  5. -ation (-ition, -ion)
  6. -atura (-itura, -ura); to which may be added
  7. -antia (-entia, -ientia) and
  8. the ending of the infinitive used as a noun, -ar (-er, -ir).

Their distinction is often a matter of nuances emphasized, and in a good many instances one formation may take the place of another without appreciable shift of meaning. The use of all of them with one and the same verb can hardly be achieved without artifice but may serve to define their individual connotations of value.

With procurar 'to procure' as a random example, the resulting postverbal action nouns are:

  1. procurada
  2. procurage
  3. procureria
  4. procuramento
  5. procuration
  6. procuratura
  7. procurantia
  8. procurar
  1. -ada expresses action done and viewed as a whole, either in its results or as one sweeping continuity. It lends itself readily to being used in the plural. Procurada might signify a procurement spree referred to with emphasis on its success or yield.
  2. -age expresses action done or being done and viewed as a single achievement or as a whole series of such. It tends to remain sufficiently abstract to resist pluralization. Procurage might signify the procedure of procuring something with implied emphasis on the effort, expense, etc. involved or the occupation of a person concerned with procuring things, such occupation being viewed as consisting of a series of procurage procedures.
  3. -eria expresses action viewed as part of a business, occupation, field of endeavor, etc. involving as well the corresponding production either as a whole or in individual pieces. Procureria might signify the practice (with all its implications) of a person whose business it is to procure things. This aside from the more crystallized meaning of the place of business of such a person.
  4. -amento expresses action viewed with reference to its effects and results. Procuramento might signify procurement as an act or action and the endeavor to procure something.
  5. -ation expresses action or an action viewed as a tangible process which can be repeated and hence referred to in the plural. Procuration means procuring as a definite performance.
  6. -atura expresses action viewed with reference to its individual product and hence that product itself as well as, by extension, the activity of which the individual product may stand as a symbol. Procuratura might signify the fact of procuring as well as an organization or office set up to procure supplies for certain requirements.
  7. -antia expresses action viewed as the state of the agent performing it. Procurantia might mean procuring as an assignment which makes certain demands upon the person involved.
  8. -ar expresses action as action, that is, viewed as an abstract phenomenon which cannot be pluralized. Procurar signifies procuring.

Note: The logical distinction between the several postverbal action nouns cannot be carried very far. In practice the choice of one or the other formation is often governed by non-logical considerations which are not therefore less vital. Their import and effect coincide, broadly speaking, with English usage.

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