Prefixes and Suffixes

What are they?

Prefix is nothing but a group of letters that is placed after the root / base words. These are used to change the base words into ones. For example, prefix ‘un-‘ (which means ‘not’) combined with the root (stem) word ‘happy’; the word ‘unhappy’ means ‘not happy’.

Similarly, suffix is a group of letters placed after the root of a word. Adding suffixes to the root of a word changes the word and its meaning. For example, the suffix ‘-ness’ (which means ‘denoting a state or condition) combined with the root word ‘kind’; the word ‘kindness’ means the state of being kind’.

We are following the Katelyn’s Progression in teaching the Prefixes and Suffixes lesson. For this too, we have to follow a particular order. The teachers can follow this order in one of our previous blog entitled ‘Phonic Progression’.

Strategies that can be used


Making charts and pasting them in the classroom is a very effective method of teaching-learning.


We’ve put a chart together for the prefixes- un, re, dis, mis, de, en, fore, im, in, pre, per, bi, ex, tri, sub, mid, mal, trans, non, pro. Print this out or you could yourself make a new one. Put this up in the class and with the help of a ruler make the learners say these prefixes using examples.

bi- two biannual, bicycle, bifocals, bisect, bivalve, biweekly
de- from, down, away reverse, opposite decode, decrease, deflate, degenerate, depress
dis- not, opposite, reverse, away disagree, disallow, disarray, disconnect, disloyal, disrespect
en- to make into, to put into encrypt, enmesh
ex- out of, away from, lacking, former exceed, exclusive, exhale, explosion, ex-wife
fore- before forearm, forecast, forerunner, foresee
im- not, without impossible, improper, impure
in- not, without inaction, incapable, invisible
mal- bad malady, malicious, malnourished
mid- middle midlife, midnight
mis- bad, wrong misinform, misinterpret, mislead, misplace, mistake
per- through, completely percent, percussion, perfect, perturb, pervade
pre- before prefix, preheat, prehistory, premature
pro- for, forward, before proactive, produce, profess, program, progress, propel
re- again, back react, reappear, reform, report, rerun, retrieve, revert, revise
sub- below, under submarine, submerge, substandard
trans- across transatlantic, transcribe, transfer, transform
tri- three triangle, triathlon, tricycle, trilateral
un- against, not, opposite unable, undo, unequal, unusual, untie


We’ve put a chart together for the prefixes- Ful, less, ly, ness, able, ible, er, or, ment, tion, sion, en, ion, ize, ist, ity, y, ous, ket, like shi, some. Print this out or you could yourself make a new one. Put this up in the class and with the help of a ruler make the learners say these suffixes using examples.

-able able to, having the quality of capable, comfortable, flammable, payable, portable, presentable, taxable
-ation denoting an action or an instance of exploration, hesitation, plantation
-er comparative, a person performing an action bigger, foreigner, philosopher, smaller, stronger, voter
-ful full of beautiful, grateful, hopeful, peaceful, sorrowful, watchful, wishful
-ible capable of being audible, edible, potable, reversible, terrible
-ist one that does Buddhist, cellist, dentist, feminist, florist, scientist
-ize to make or become, to treat in a manner demonize, fossilize, pasteurize, carbonize
-less without, not affected by clueless, endless, fearless, flavorless, friendless, sleepless, tireless
-ly forming an adjective clearly, closely, hourly
-ment the results of an action amusement, entertainment, excitement, treatment
-ness denoting a state or condition kindness, sadness, wilderness
-or condition, state, a person doing an action candor, elevator, governor, major, minor, sensor, terror, valor
-ous characterized by adventurous, aqueous, curious, dangerous, generous, mountainous
-y full of, denoting a condition, or a diminutive glory, hungry, messy, jealousy, sleepy, victory

-Another detailed chart by Tes Teach which give detailed information about the prefixes, their meanings, and examples. Make the learners repeat after you and let them give more examples.

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A chart for suffixes made by Teacher created resources can act as a good source for teaching and learning suffixes. The detailed chart mentions the suffixes, their meanings and multiple examples along with it.

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As the learners are getting acquainted with prefixes and suffixes, they also need to know their meanings. The teacher can write the prefixes on the board or on a white card paper. Not the earner has to attach the right meaning to the appropriate prefixes that have been displayed.

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Match the pairs
You can make card with prefixes and their meanings. Now shuffle these cards on the floor and make the learners match the pairs. This can be a fun activity if you add colored cards and also pitch in examples on other cards.

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Online Games:

An online game with graphics of animated fish underwater, where the words have to be matched. The given options and prefixes, suffixes and root words.


A demonstrative video narrated by an animated elephant for young learners by KidsEduc – Kids Educational Games. This video is for learning prefixes and suffixes.

A prefix and suffix song for learners to sing along. The teacher can play this song and the learners can join along with the video. This video is available on YouTube by Sunday Heppner.

This is an introductory video for prefixes and suffixes. The video also demonstrates certain examples along with a visual aid. It is published by Emily Kudron on YouTube.



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