The Thwarting of Mr Erasmus

part two of a story by Geoffrey McSkimming , illustrated by Gabriel Evans

Learning intention:

I am learning to identify how a suffix changes the meaning of a word so that I can recognise more complex vocabulary.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify the suffix in a word.
  • I can define the meaning of different suffixes.
  • I can identify the way a suffix changes the meaning of a base word.
  • I can use my knowledge of suffixes to define unknown words.


After reading The Thwarting of Mr Erasmus, put students into pairs and give each pair the following table:

accumulations                                                                        whistle-acious
informative                                                                          thunderous
poppingness                                                                          blastacious

Instruct students to cut out each word and sort them into real and imaginary words.



Real                                         Imaginary

accumulations                        whistle-acious

informative                             blastacious

recentness                              poppingness



Using dictionaries, explain that pairs will:

- look up the meaning of each of the real words

- give definitions

- identify whether it is a noun/verb etc

- separate the word into the base word and suffix

- define the base word

- identify whether the base word is a noun/verb etc

- identify the meaning of the suffix


As an example, model how to complete each step using the word ‘explosion’.


Explosion (noun) = a violent blowing apart of something.

explode + sion

Explode (verb) = to burst or shatter violently and noisily

sion = the state of, i.e., explosion is the state of exploding


Give students time to complete the task.


Answers are below:


Accumulations (noun) = a mass of something that has been gradually acquired

accumulate + tions

Accumulate (verb) = to gather something over time

tion = the action or result of a verb


Informative (adjective) = providing useful information

inform + ative

Inform (verb) = give someone facts or information

ative = of, relating to, or connected with


Recentness (noun) = the state of being recent

recent + ness

Recent (adjective) = belonging to a past period close to the present

ness = the state, condition or quality


Thunderous (adjective) = resembling thunder

thunder + ous

Thunder (noun or verb) = a loud rumbling or crashing noise

ous = full of


Instruct students to find the imaginary words from the list in The Thwarting of Mr Erasmus. Explain that they are to use context clues and research the suffixes to create a definition of each imaginary word. They can continue to work in their pairs for this task.


Sample answers:

whistle-acious = abound in whistles

blastacious = abound in explosions

poppingness = the state of popping


Select students to share their answers with the class and discuss why others agree or disagree with their definitions.


In their pairs, students search the dictionary for real, complex vocabulary containing suffixes used in the lesson (they should aim for words the rest of the class haven’t heard before). Instruct them to write three definitions on a slip of paper – one real definition and two fake ones, ensuring they have noted the real answer. They should also have an explanation of how the suffix relates to the base word. For example:



  1. A light, delicate fabric
  2. Lacking spirit or liveliness (CORRECT)
  3. Tending to be overly critical

(Languorous = full of languor)