The automatic removal of suffixes from words in English is of particular interest in the field of information retrieval. An algorithm for suffix stripping is described, which has been implemented as a short, fast program in BCPL. Although simple, it performs slightly better than a much more elaborate system with which it has been compared. It effectively works by treating complex suffixes as compounds made up of simple suffixes, and removing the simple suffixes in a number of steps. In each step the removal of the suffix is made to depend upon the form of the remaining stem, which usually involves a measure of its syllable length.