Everybody ESL

Episode 262 (mini)

Episode Summary

In this mini episode, you will learn about an interesting suffix: -wise.

Episode Notes

Episode 262 of the Everybody ESL podcast is a mini episode that teaches you an interesting suffix: -wise. Send your questions about English and your suggestions for future episodes to EverybodyESL@gmail.com! (And let me know if you’d like to record the introduction to a future episode.)

Episode Transcription


“Hello. This is Basmah, from Saudi Arabia. And you are listening to Everybody ESL.”

Welcome to episode 262 of Everybody ESL, the podcast for everybody who wants to improve their English, practice their English, or just learn more English. My name is Ben, and I have a mini episode for you today, where I am going to teach you about one English topic. You can subscribe to the Everybody ESL podcast at Apple podcasts, on the Stitcher app, and wherever you find your podcasts. If you like Everybody ESL, leave it a good review so other people can find out about it too. And if you have any questions, comments, or suggestions for me, please send an email to everybodyESL@gmail.com. Okay! Let’s get on with this mini episode.

The episode

In today’s episode, I am going to teach you about an interesting suffix. That’s right: an interesting suffix. Did you know that there were interesting suffixes? Well, I think I have one for you today. 

The suffix we are going to talk about is -wise: w-i-s-e. Wise.

I’m not talking about the adjective wise. That is a word that means “having a lot of wisdom or knowledge.” 

I am talking about the suffix -wise. And I would like to give you an example of a situation where we might use this suffix before I talk about the definition of this suffix. I think it might be easier to explain if I start with the example. 

Let’s say you are going with your friend to buy shoes. And your friend is trying on many pairs of shoes. And you say to your friend, “Well, what about that pair? Do you like that pair?” And your friend says, “Well, pricewise, I think they’re pretty good. But colorwise, I don’t think I like them.” 

Okay. Did you hear those two words—pricewise and colorwise? They both use that suffix -wise, w-i-s-e. Pricewise and colorwise.

What does this mean? What does it mean to say pricewise or colorwise

In this example, the suffix -wise has this meaning: it means something like “about” or “concerning” or “in terms of” or “when you think about something.” In other words, pricewise means “in terms of the price, concerning the price, when we consider the price.” Pricewise, the shoes are good.

That means “When I think about the price, I think the shoes are good.” Or “in terms of the price, I think the shoes are good. But colorwise, I don’t like them.” In other words, “When I think about the color or when I consider the color—in that case, no, I don’t think these shoes are very good.” So when it comes to the price, they’re good. But when it comes to the color, they are not good. Pricewise and colorwise. 

Do you understand that example? Do you understand how -wise can mean “concerning some noun” or “about some noun” or “in terms of some noun”? 

I would like to give you one more example. This is an expression that people do use. You might hear someone say this exact expression.

They might say, “That person was talking so much, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.” That person was talking so much, I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.

Edgewise. That uses the same -wise suffix that we have been talking about. Edgewise. What does it mean? What does this expression mean? It means “That other person was talking so much—their words were so close together, like bricks in a wall—I couldn’t even fit in one of my words, even if I tried to put the edge in first. Even if I tried to insert a word edgewise, meaning on its edge. Even if we consider my words in terms of their edge, if we consider my words in terms of their thin part.” 

Here, we are imagining that a word is like a knife, like a knife blade. And we are thinking about trying to insert our word between two bricks in a wall or something like that. 

That is -wise, an interesting suffix that I think you should know.


This is the end of episode 262 of Everybody ESL. Remember: if you have questions about English, or if you have comments or suggestions for the podcast, or if you would like to record an introduction that I can play at the beginning of future episodes—the same way Basmah recorded the introduction you heard at the beginning of this episode—send an email to everybodyESL@gmail.com. I’ll be back soon with another episode, and until then, keep going, keep practicing, and keep learning. Goodbye! I’ll see you soon.