In the P5 and P6 English Synthesis & Transformation (S&T) components, interchanging word classes appear regularly. There is almost always one question in every exercise that tests students on their ability to change a verb to a noun or an adjective to a noun etc.

This question type appears so often that in the Synthesis and Transformation section of the PSLE 2022, it appears in 3 questions out of 5. Let us take a look below at some examples of this question type found in past PSLE papers

S&T questions from Past PSLE

PSLE 2021 S&T questions

(not) carefulcarelessness
pleased pleasure

PSLE 2022 S&T questions

lost loss
adjusted adjustments

PSLE 2023 S&T questions


Now, let’s take a look at what exactly are word classes and how do we transform them.

What are word classes?

Word classes are also called parts of speech. Some examples of word classes are nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. In S&T, an idea in the original sentence is re-expressed by transforming the word class.

How do we transform the word class?

By adding suffixes, we are able to change the word class of the words that they are attached to.

Today we will look at two categories of word classes that commonly appear in S&T.

  • Verb to Noun transformation
  • Adjective to Noun transformation

Examples of Verb to Noun transformation

We can change a verb to a noun by adding one of the following suffixes :

The ‘-ance’ suffix

from appeared to appearance

The ‘-ion’ suffix

From conclude to conclusion

The ‘-ment’ suffix

From achieve to achievement

The ‘-nce’ suffix

From avoid to avoidance

The ‘-ion’ suffix

From confused to confusion

The ‘-ion’ suffix again

From create to creation

The ‘-y’ suffix

From injure to injury

The ‘-er’ suffix

From farm to farmer

Examples of Adjective to Noun transformation

Now, let’s look at changing an adjective to a noun, which is found more frequently in P6 synthesis & transformation questions.

We can change an adjective to a noun by adding one of the following suffixes :

The ‘-dom’ suffix

From free to freedom

The ‘-ness’ suffix

From kind to kindness

The ‘-th’ suffix

From true to truth

The ‘-ty’ suffix

From safe to safety

The ‘-ity’ suffix

From similar to similarity

While transforming the initial sentence(s) is rather straightforward and the rules for changing adjectives and verbs to nouns are reiterated in class, some students still make mistakes in this question type. To help our students futher, we prepare lists of nouns of adjectives, verbs, and adverbs. This can be helpful, especially during revision time for examinations or tests. More nouns are added to the list throughout the year, especially when we come across a tricky one.

Below are examples of 2 lists. The nouns are taken from the Synthesis and Transformation sections of the 2023 Top School Preliminary Papers. The lists are easy to create at home.

reluctant reluctance
deep depth
enthusiastic enthusiasm
annoyed annoyance
pleased pleasure
awesome (in) awe
frustrated frustration
adjusted adjustments
absent absence/ absenteeism
received receipt
amended amendment
disapproved disapproval
assured assurance
cancelled cancellation

We hope this has helped you understand what are interchanging word classes and how to transform a verb or adjective into a noun.

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