Common prefixes

I can identify, explain, and use prefixes.

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Common prefixes

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A prefix is a combination of letters that goes at the beginning of a root word to alter the meaning of it. Being able to recognize prefixes helps us be able to quickly identify a wide variety of words, and even to guess at their meaning when we aren't exactly sure. Common prefixes include:

- re-
- dis-
- un-
- in-

To test if something is a prefix, or just uses the same letters as a common prefix, remove the letters from the word. If what's leftover is no longer a word, then the letters were not a prefix.



Learning objective

Students will be able to identify, understand, and use the most common prefixes.


Students will look at the words, "marked," "laughing," and "afternoon," and circle words they know within those words. Explain how words can be changed to become past tense, compound words, or present progressive.


A prefix is located at the beginning of a root word. Students will read many words with prefixes. Then, they will add prefixes to root words to make new words. Explain how negative prefixes, such as "in-," "un-," and "dis-," work. Students will read sentences and complete them with words with negative prefixes.


Students are given ten questions. These questions ask students to determine which words have prefixes and which are without prefixes, to identify the prefix, and to define the prefix.


Students are asked to reflect, why do we use prefixes?

They are then given a challenge: how many prefixes can you name in one minute?

Teaching tips

Combine this lesson with other English lessons from Gynzy to help your students become better readers and writers.

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