Lesson on Prefix

Lesson on Prefix

by Auntie Eunice


A prefix is a group of letters we place at the beginning of a word to form a new word that has a different meaning.

The word ‘Prefix’ comes from the Latin word praefixus which means ‘fixed in front’.

They are usually made up of one, two, three or four-letter words and can completely change the meaning of the root word or form a word that is opposite in meaning to the root word.

Root words or stem words are stand-alone words that we attach prefixes to.


Common prefixes used in printed English and their meanings are as follows: –

1. dis– means not, reverse or remove.
    Examples: disagree, disable, disqualify, dissatisfy, disapprove, and dishonour.

2. in– means not.
    Examples are insane, insignificant, inexpensive, insecure, and incomplete.

3. de– means opposite or reverse.
    Examples are decode, deform, decompose, deactivate, deflate, decontaminate, and defrost.

4. im– means not.
    Examples are immature, impartial, impatient, imperfect, immoral, immortal, and impolite.

5. re– means redo or repeat.
    Examples are recreate, return, rearrange, redesign, reunite, retie, and review.

6. il– means not.
    Examples are illegible, illegitimate, illegal, illicit, illogical, and illiterate.

7. un– means not.
    Examples are unable, unclear, unreasonable, unfinished, unfair, undecided, and unfriendly.

8. ir– means not or reverse.
    Examples are irrelevant, irreversible, irregular, irresponsible, and irrational.

9. pre– means before.
    Examples are preview, predict, prepare, precaution, prepay, and preorder.

10. mis– means incorrectly or wrongly.
      Examples are mistake, mismanage, misjudge, misread, mistrust, misplace, misspell.

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About Auntie Eunice

Co-founder of The Klever Magg.
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