About a month ago we watched a video in which a tutor was teaching her student when to use the <tion> suffix and when to use the <sion> suffix. Our first reaction was, “But neither of those is actually a suffix!” We listened on. When looking at the word <expression>, the tutor explained that the base word is <express>, and since it ends in <s>, you add the <sion>. But that meant that there would be three s’s in a row. The tutor explained that that wouldn’t be right, so you just drop one of them. When she said that, I had a flashback to a time in grade school when my teacher was saying those same words. I remember thinking that spelling is just crazy. How do you know when you’re supposed to keep letters and when you’re supposed to drop them. Why add another <s> if you already have as many as you need?
And in that moment I knew why so many people believe that <tion> and <sion> are indeed suffixes. It’s what we’ve all been taught in school. It is what is still being taught in schools. But why? Why is this misinformation so widely accepted as truth? Well, I believe that this is what happens when you are trying to figure out the spelling of a word and the only thing you know to do with words is break them into syllables! On top of that, instead of looking at words with the word’s meaning as a top priority, people look at words with the word’s pronunciation as a top priority. Once you’ve focused on pronouncing the word’s parts, you’ve hidden the word’s parts that carry the meaning of the word, and you end up with parts that sound like “shun”.
In response to the video we watched (and because we are on a quest to right the misinformation children and adults both have) we created the following fun yet informative video. We hope it will help clarify your understanding of this whole <tion> <sion> nonsense. Please let us know what you think.