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VOCABULARY LEVEL 2 – Package 3 - Prefixes and Affixes

Learning Outcomes

By the end of VOCABULARY LEVEL 2 you should be able to
✔ study vocabulary independently
✔ use different strategies to expand and record vocabulary

Introduction to Independent Learning

Independent learning gives you more choice about what, when and how fast to study. It also prepares you to learn after complete full time education.

In order to study independently you need to be able to set your own aims, choose how you want to study and reflect on the usefulness of studying that you do and on your overall progress.

Since you have chosen to study VOCABULARY LEVEL 2, we can assume that you want to learn more about how to expand and remember words more effectively. The online activities are designed to help you to develop and build the bank of words and expressions that you have at your disposal.

To begin with, there is a vocabulary quiz which will give you some idea of where you strengths and weaknesses lie.

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Package 3 - Prefixes and Affixes

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this section you should
✔ know the meanings of some common prefixes, suffixes and roots
✔ be able to infer the meaning of new words and enrich your vocabulary
✔ be able to organise your vocabulary study


In the word, irregularity, ir- is a prefix, regular is a root and –ity is a (noun) suffix. It can be seen that affixes (i.e., prefix and suffix) can change the meaning of a word. It is important to learn roots and affixes since they often help you to work out the meaning of unfamiliar words while reading and also to determine parts of speech so that you are able to use these words correctly in speech or writing. Knowledge of roots and affixes can also give you a methodical technique for remembering new words by relating them to words you already know. With this technique, you can also organise words and learn them in groups, rather than individually.


Activity 1a Negative meaning formed with prefixes

Prefixes such as il-, im-, un-, dis-, in-, and ir- are often used to give adjectives a negative meaning. But it is not easy to master which prefix an adjective uses to form its opposite. It certainly helps if you are aware of the opposite, if there is any, of an adjective formed with a prefix the first time you try to learn the word. Type in the opposites of these words using an appropriate prefix.

Activity 1b    More prefixes

There are many other prefixes used in English than those you practised in Activity 1a. The
following table contains some of them.


Activity 2a    Common Suffixes

There are 11 groups of 3 words. The words in each group share a common suffix. Type the suffix for each group of words.

Activity 2b.  Other suffixes

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