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We use prefixes to change meaning. They never change the part of speech. (Most suffixes change the part of speech.)
• Many prefixes give a word a meaning which is the opposite or negative of the original. For example, we can use the prefixes dis or un:
dis + appear - disappear
un + tie - untie
meaning / use
anti + adjective/noun
|opposite||anti- clockwise/ anti-climax|
|anti + noun / adjective||against||anti-theft device / anti-European|
|co + noun / verb||together||cohabit|
|dis + verb|
|dislike / disembark|
|il + adjective||opposite||illegal|
im + adjective
inter + adjective
|ir + adjective|
|mis + verb||wrongly/ badly||mistook / mishandle|
over + verb
|out + verb|
post + noun / verb
pre + noun / verb
pro + noun / adjective
in favour of
|pro-Unions / pro-European|
sub + adjective
super + noun/ adjective
trans + noun / verb /
|un + verb / adjective|
negative / opposite
|unlock / unhappy|
|under + verb|
not enough/too little
|undercook / undercharge|
• We use il instead of in with words that begin with l:il + legal = illegal
• We use im instead of in with words that begin with m or p:im + polite - impolite
• We often use ir instead of in with words that begin with r:
ir + responsible = irresponsible.
• Some common mistakes are:
You must unconnect the cables first.
You must disconnect the cables first.
/ They expelled him for misbehaving.
X They expelled him for disbehaving.
• Note that many words with a prefix have a base part that never exists on its own. Here are examples: immediate, incontrovertible, uncalled-for
Add a correct prefix to the following words.
Don't write in capitals
English exercise "Prefixes (1)" created by felin with The test builder. [More lessons & exercises from felin]
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