>Grammatical terms like suffix, prefix and infix (yes, it’s a thing) can quickly get confusing.
When paired with the tendency of business English to use words in nonstandard ways, the situation is worse.
Let’s take a look at a common question, how to fill in the “suffix” box on a job application form.
What does “suffix” mean on a job application?
In a job application, a suffix is a word that follows your name, like Jr. (junior), Sr. (senior) and III (the third), or a relevant professional degree like JD (Juris Doctor), PhD (Philosophical Doctor) or MBA (Master in Business Administration).
The meaning of the word “suffix”
The word “suffix” is a grammatical term referring to a part of a word added to the end of its base form to change its meaning.
For example, if you want to compare something that is large to something that is larger, you add -er (shortened to “r” since large already ends in an e). Likewise, you can show that something has a superlative value by adding -est to the end.
Although it’s important to understand the grammatical purpose of a suffix, in a job application the word takes on a slightly different meaning.
Suffixes on job applications
Unless you really want to confuse the person who reviews jobs, it’s not a good idea to list a grammatical suffix after your name on a job application.
Instead, put one of two things: a name ending such as Jr. (junior) or a degree such as PhD (Philosophical Doctor).
The most common suffix used on a job application is the kind that goes at the end of your name.
For most people, a name is like a thumbprint. If it’s not entirely unique, it serves to tell people who you are in relation to those around you.
Your first, or personal, name is what you’re called and your family name, or surname, tells people who your family is.
Sometimes, though, people may share the same name as someone else in their immediate family.
Typically, this is the case if a son shares the same name as his father but there may be other situations as well.
If you are the second person with a name, you might add “Jr.” (junior) as a suffix. If you’re the original name holder, you might put “Sr.” (senior) instead.
“A lot of people know the books of Alexander Dumas, Sr., but not many people know his son also wrote books.”
“We’re ready for the next interview now. Is there a Mr. John Smith, Jr. here?”
Both of these examples show how suffixes like Sr. and Jr. are used to clarify who is being discussed.
The other, less common, use of a suffix on a job application is to indicate any relevant professional degrees held by the applicant.
For instance, many university faculty hold a PhD (Philosophical Doctorate) in their field and like to add it to their name as a suffix because they spent so much money and time gaining that expertise.
In a job application, you should only consider adding a degree you hold as a suffix if it is an advanced or professional degree and if it is directly relevant to the job you’re applying for.
“Everyone thought it was ridiculous when Oliver started introducing himself as Oliver Banks, MLIS at parties after earning a master’s degree in library science.”
“As a child, I often watched the TV show Doogie Howser, MD.”
Here, a degree is listed as a suffix after each name to show what degree the person in question holds.
Hey fellow Linguaholics! It’s me, Marcel. I am the proud owner of linguaholic.com. Languages have always been my passion and I have studied Linguistics, Computational Linguistics and Sinology at the University of Zurich. It is my utmost pleasure to share with all of you guys what I know about languages and linguistics in general.