What they?

Prefixes are words that you add to beginning of root words. When prefixes are added they modify the meaning of the root words. Example: the root word "ject" means to throw. You will commonly come across the prefixes in- and re- being add to "ject". They create the words "inject" (to put into) and "reject" (to throw out). In this case the prefix gave the root words direction.

Suffixes are similar to Prefixes in that they modify the meaning of words, but they are added to the end of the root words. Example: the root "bio-" means life. The words "biography" (story of life) and "biology" (study of life) are examples of suffixes modifying the roots.

Exercises for understanding prefixes, suffixes, and roots of words. We use them in a wide range of activities to help you master them.

Prefix Worksheets

Explaining Prefixes
Find the meanings of the prefixes. Match the prefix with how it modifies root words.

Adding Mixed Prefixes
Add prefixes to roots to make words that make sense. Add the prefix that makes the most sense to the root words. This is a very open activity.

List of English Prefixes
A great reference for teachers and students alike. You will find list of commonly used Prefixes of the English Language. Note that many prefixes have several methods for changing the mean of the root words that they are added to.

Adding Long Prefixes
These words consist of more letters than other forms. The prefix in this set are up to five letters long. This makes for some very long words to be formed.

Prefixes a-, ad- Worksheet
One prefix takes things away, the other add them. We introduce two prefixes that changes the entire mood of each word. Typical to atypical is a big difference.

Prefixes ab-, be- Worksheet
A prefix that moves things away and one that moves things through. This one is focused all on one page. These exact prefixes have been used at a wide grade level range on several national assessments.

Adding Prefixes - dis-, non-, and super-
These prefixes either lower, level, or heighten things. We work with words that we add one of three prefixes to. The prefix will either heighten or lower the root word.

Prefixes en-, ex-
Into or out of something. We add two prefixes that really change the intensity or dynamics of words they modify.

Adding Prefixes - mid-, mis-, re-
In the middle, out of, or occurring again. You could also step the skill level up on this one and have them define the words.

Prefixes out-, pro-
These can be confusing. Read them out loud. Two prefixes that in most cases modify words in the same way, they usually height the action of the words that are modified.

Prefixes in-, pre-, and re-
Before, during, or after. See how the word meanings are skewed by the addition of prefixes. Some of these change drastically as a result of the prefix.

Prefixes semi-, under-
These are less than prefixes! Get it? We work with specific prefixes that modify words to mean either half or less than. Somewhat depressing prefixes, wouldn't you say?

Understanding Prefixes
Find the meanings of the modifiers. See if you can find the meaning of the prefixes that are presented to you.

Prefixes and Numbers
We use bi-, tri-, and quad- in sentences. The worksheet asks you to infer that bi- means two, tri- means three, and quad- means four.

Under- and Sub- Prefixes
Below or less than. ou might need to think long and hard with these exercises.

The Prefix Circle
Find where the prefix is hidden. We give you a large list of words that each contain a prefix. Now go find all the prefixes and circle them!

Suffix Worksheets

Suffix Change Up
This is a really comprehensive worksheet. This worksheet covers a diverse skill set with suffixes. We ask you to spell and tense correctly. The last step is to create your own words.

Derivational Suffixes
These types of suffixes modify meanings and parts of speech. Use the derivational suffixes and see how the meanings are changed. Derivational suffixes always change the syntax of the word it modifies.

Inflectional Suffixes
These don't change the meaning of the words they modify. Inflectional suffixes are interesting because they don't change the meaning of a word when added to a word. They usually change the tense of the word.

Roots and Suffixes
We really like this sheet, so do teachers. Work with the suffixes you are given and spell them correctly. Then it's time to get creative and work towards a quad-word fest, if you will.

The Suffix Match
Meet the suffix and how it modifies the meanings of words. Match the suffixes to their meanings. These are very commonly used suffixes.

Match the Suffix Meanings
Another matching task for you. You will find these to some of the most commonly used suffixes. Now tells us what they mean and how they modify words.

Suffixes -ful and -less
These examples either complete or lessen what they modify. We work with two directly opposite suffixes and ask you to use them in sentences.

Suffixes -able versus -ible
These give roots the power to do something. These two suffixes account for the large majority of spelling errors in the English Language.

Circle the Suffix Worksheet
Find the suffixes in the words. We want you to find the suffixes within the set of words for us.

Root Word Worksheets

Root Words Activity
We really like this one. You will too! This is a great worksheet set. It is neat to see how if you understand the meaning of the prefix and root word, it's easy to figure out the meaning of the completed word.

Adding To Root Words
We work on spelling. Students determine how to spell new words properly after introducing suffixes to them.

Suffix Additions to Root Words
Spelling once again. We work more with spelling words properly after a root word and a suffix meet.

Find The Root Words
For some of these, you would think that they don't have roots. Ditch the suffixes and find the root words in every sentence we present you with.

Searching For Root Words
Go on a root safari! Remove all the suffixes and find just to root words for each instance.

Joining Words
Put roots and suffixes together and then tell what you made. These can take some time. Join the word root and the suffix and then define the combined word.

Make a Word
This one guides it really well. We form new words and spelling by adding roots and suffixes.

The Root Word Slide
Find roots and then create a bunch of words with roots. First find the root word. Then you will be given a root and we want you to run off and make as many new words as you can by adding prefixes and suffixes.

Underline and Build Off of the Roots
These are a bit higher level roots. We ask you to quickly locate root words. Then we want you to go all Ninja on root words and form as many new words as you can think of.

What are Prefixes, Suffixes, and Root Words?

Teachers are often looking for a way to enhance their students' vocabulary. There are various effective ways to achieve this goal, and an efficient one is teaching affixes.

In English grammar, a word attached to a base word to modify its meaning is known as affixes. There are numerous words with affixes attached, but we are often (un)aware of them.

What Are Prefixes?

Prefixes are letters that, when added to the beginning of a word, change a word's meaning. For example, the word "agree" means to have the same opinion on something. However, adding the letters 'dis' before the word 'agree' becomes 'disagree.' Disagree means to have a different opinion on something, the exact opposite of the word agree. Hence, the 'dis' is a prefix here. Some prefixes examples are:

Prefix Root Word New Word
un- happy unhappy
re-  join rejoin
mis- manage mismanage
tri- cycle tricycle

Remember this…

1. Some prefixes have the same meaning but are not interchangeable. Some of these prefixes include "non," "un," "il." Adding them before a word would make the word's meaning opposite. However, you can't use "non-" in place of "un-." Non-happy is not a word; the correct word is unhappy.

2. Adding a prefix must not alter the spelling of the base word. Even if it results in repetition of letters. For example: un-attached to 'natural' becomes 'unnatural'.

3. Some words might look like a prefix is attached to them, but that's not so. For example, reach is a word on its own. You cannot break up the word into "re-" and "-ach" as these words alone do not hold any meaning.

What Are Suffixes?

Suffixes are letters that, when added to the end of a word, change a word's meaning.

For example, the word "agree" is a verb that means to have the same opinion on something. However, if we add the letters 'ment' after the word 'agree,' it becomes 'agreement.' Agreement is a noun that means the act of agreement. Hence, the '-ment' here is a suffix. Here are some examples of suffixes:

Suffix Root Word New Word
-ly common commonly
-ness aware awareness
-ed play played
-ing join joining

Remember this...

1. Some suffixes might also hold the same meaning but are not interchangeable. For example, the suffix "-er" and "-or" both are added to show the person who does the work. One example is the word 'worker.' However, the word 'workor' is wrong.

2. Adding a suffix at the end of a word sometimes alters the base word's spelling. For example, when "-al" is added to the word "globe," you drop the "e," becoming 'global' instead of "globeal."

3. Some words might also look like a suffix is attached to them when that's not the case. For example, proceed is a word on its own. It cannot be broken up into "proce-" and "-ed" as these words alone do not hold any meaning.

What Is a Root Word?

A root word is the base word to which affixes (prefixes and suffixes) are attached to alter the word's original meaning.

For example, 'agree' is the root word for words like 'disagree' where a prefix is attached and 'agreement' where a suffix is attached. Both the prefix and the suffix attached to the word alter its original meaning.

Common Latin and Greek Root Words in English

Numerous words that we use with ease today in our daily life have been derived from Latin and Greek. Such root words cannot stand alone themselves. These words only make sense with an affix attached.

Latin Root Meaning Examples
aqua water aquatic, aquanaut
mal bad malnourishment, maladjustment
multi many multitude, multicolor
rupt break disrupt, corruption

Greek Root Meaning Examples
bio life biosphere, biology
homo same homogenous, homophone
micro small micrometer, microorganism
photo light photogenic, photography

The Importance of Root Words

When inferring a word's meaning, root words can be of great help. Just by knowing what a root word means, students can identify the alteration made to that word by attaching affixes. They can then guess the meaning of the altered word and attempt comprehension questions easily.

Common Examples

Here are some commonly used prefixes and suffixes with meanings and examples. Notice how some root words' spellings change while others remain the same.

Prefix Meaning Examples
in-, il-, ir-, un-, im-, non- opposite illegal, irresponsible
re- again redo, reinforce
mis- wrong misunderstand, misspell
dis- not disloyal, disable

Suffix Meaning Examples
-able, -ible able to be comfortable, responsible
-ful full of careful, useful
-less without hopeless, painless
-ment result of an action resentment, government

Root Words With Both Prefixes and Suffixes Examples

Some root words can have both prefixes and suffixes attached to them at the same time, modifying their meaning severely. Some examples are as below:

Prefix Root Word Suffix New Word
dis- agree -ment disagreement
un- success -ful unsuccessful
re-  create -tion recreation
mis-  lead -ing misleading

Importance of all Teaching This

Students' are often more eager to learn a concept when it is practical for them. Affixes in English grammar are one of such relatable concepts.

1. They are widely used in writing as well as speaking. Many of the commonly used words have either a prefix, a suffix, or a combination of both in it, as discussed above.

2. They can increase your students' word bank. Several prefixes and suffixes can attach to a single root word, tweaking its meaning every time. Now your students will have various words to include in their writing.

3. Learning this can improve your students' comprehension skills. Students might often struggle with unknown words in their reading comprehension. When students know what a root word is, they can quickly identify the attached affixes and comprehend a word's meaning.

4. Knowing this also assists students in understanding a word's context. This knowledge can come in handy in comprehension but also in writing. Students will better understand which word is more appropriate in which context.


Prefixes and suffixes are used ubiquitously. Your students might also be using them in routine, but its identification can help them out in written and verbal English.

They might get all of this jargon mixed up. However, daily reading practice while actively identifying basic examples can help them improve their comprehension. With time, they will learn that prefixes are attached to a root word's beginning, whereas suffixes are attached at the end of a root word.