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10 Mar
ENG45  0






How to Use “Ish” to Sound Like a Native English Speaker

Sometimes in English, you hear the suffix “ish” with words. What it means and where it is used is the concern of the following article.


Are you making plans with friends, maybe for lunch? If someone says “let’s meet at twelveish,” what does that mean to you? The number 12 is in there, but what does the –ish stand for? It means that your friend is suggesting you meet anytime close to 12 o’clock!

This form of colloquial, uncountable time-telling is very popular in the United States. It means that it’s OK to not be punctual, that it’s a more casual meeting than, say, a job interview, which would be at a very specific time. Maybe there’s traffic. Maybe one of you needs some extra time to get where you’re going. Using –ish at the end of a time is the way to express that need for flexibility.


The important thing to remember is that the -ish after these words denote the intention of somewhat, approximately, or a little bit. We can use –ish for meeting times, and we can also use it for numbers that we want to approximate. Other examples of when to use -ish include:

Feelings (happyish, saddish)

Moods (hungryish, tiredish)

Descriptive Words/Adjectives (cleanish, grayish)


So, we hope this helps you with the meaning of this suffix.

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