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Author: Rebecca Oberg

This learning packet should review:
-What are prefixes?
-How do prefixes function?
-What are some common prefixes and their meanings?
-What is the difference between a prefix and a suffix?

By appealing to a variety of learning styles, this packet aims to introduce all students (regardless of prior knowledge or age) to the concept of prefixes in English grammar. The packet includes a highly entertaining and informative video clip, several slide show presentations, and helpful text. Definitions, examples, helpful tips, lists of common prefixes, and opportunities for practice are all provided by this packet.

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What Are Prefixes, Anyway?

Prefixes were originally words themselves but they are now groups of letters added to words or to roots to create new words. Prefixes [pre(before)+fix(fasten)=fasten before] are groups of letters placed before words or roots. Prefixes modify or extend the meaning of words and roots.

Prefixes: Add Meaning to Your Words!

This helpful slide show presentation gives students not only lists of the most common prefixes with explanations, but it also provides matching-style practice, which is key for memorization of prefixes at any age.

Words are Power: Exploring Root Words, Prefixes, and Suffixes in Rap

While it also discusses suffixes and root words, this catchy rap song gives great examples and some quick information about prefixes.

Source: YouTube

Prefixes: Examples Galore

This thorough slide show presentation offers learners a categorized list of several key prefixes and related information, and then gives students many opportunities to practice their prefix skills!

Source:, modified by Rebecca Oberg

Cut and Dry: Prefix Basic

A prefix is a letter or a group of letters attached to the beginning of a word that partly indicates its meaning. For example, the word prefix itself begins with a prefix--pre-, which generally means "before."

Understanding the meanings of the common prefixes can help us deduce the meanings of new words that we encounter. But be careful: some prefixes (such as in-) have more than one meaning (in this example, "not" and "into").

The table below defines and illustrates 35 common prefixes.

Common Prefixes


Prefix Meaning Example
a-, an- without amoral
ante- before antecedent
anti- against anticlimax
auto- self autopilot
circum- around circumvent
co- with copilot
com-, con- with companion, contact
contra- against contradict
de- off, away from devalue
dis- not disappear
en- put into enclose
ex- out of, former extract, ex-president
extra- beyond, more than extracurricular
hetero- different heterosexual
homo- same homonym
hyper- over, more hyperactive
il-, im-, in-, ir- not, without illegal, immoral, inconsiderate, irresponsible
in- into insert
inter- between intersect
intra- between intravenous
macro- large macroeconomics
micro- small microscope
mono- one monocle
non- not, without nonentity
omni- all, every omniscient
post- after postmortem
pre-, pro- before, forward precede, project
sub- under submarine
syn- same time synchronize
trans- across transmit
tri- three tricycle
un- not unfinished
uni- one unicorn