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    Urgent help needed regarding "-ism", "-ian" etc.

    Preface of my question: We often read or hear that to refer to the work or some other aspect of great personalities "-ism", "-ian" etc is used at the end of their surnames, usually or else to their names. For example, word "Keynesian" is often used to refer to the Economics of John Maynard Keynes. An "-ian" is added at the end of John Maynard Keynes's surname. Similarly, word Marxian for the one who believes in Karl Marx's thought, Buddhism for the believers in lord Budda and so on.

    Now my questions: I've two important questions. Please answer both of them. Firstly, what "-ian", "-ism" would be grammatically correct to refer to the Economics of Milton Friedman ? I have read his "suffix" somewhere but I don't recall it. So asking.

    Secondly, you would noticed that in the whole post I've used "-ian", "-ism" etc instead of using any particular name for it. This is because I don't know what they are called; though I've used the word suffix at one place but I'm not too sure about it. So please tell me what is the correct particular name/s for "-ian", "-ism" etc and their usage ? Would be more glad if you elaborate a bit on this "-ian" , "-ism" thing also and how they are used in English ?

    PS: And please do accept my apology if any inconvenience is caused to you by my a trifle lengthy post.

    Kind Regards and Thanks
    Last edited by Joe333; 20-Jul-2010 at 21:43.

  1. Barb_D's Avatar
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    Re: Urgent help needed regarding "-ism", "-ian" etc.

    HI Razer,

    I don't agree with your description of how the suffixes are used.

    Generally speaking,
    The -ian ending makes the proper noun into an adjective.
    The -ism word makes it into a noun that shows the belief.
    The -ist ending is someone who follows that belief.

    Someone who follows Marx is a Marxist, not a Marixian (in the variation of English I use.)
    Buddhism is the belief and a Buddhist is the believer.

    Not many people have become elevated to the level where you can add an -ian and have it work. Dickensian for something characteristic of Dickens. Christian for Christ. Keynesian for the economic theories of Keynes. I don't think Friedman has made it there.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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