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Spelling words with prefixes

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A prefix is the group of letters at the beginning of a word which change a words meaning, for example, 'mis' or 'anti'.

The first basic rule with prefixes is that they are simply added to the beginning of a word, and neither the prefix nor the word changes when this happens:

prefix + base word = new word

For example:

mis spelt = misspelt (not mispelt)

ir regular = irregular (not iregular)

The second basic rule with prefixes is that when using prefixes which mean 'not', such as 'ir', 'im', 'il' or 'in', you would usually use the prefix that ends with the same letter that the base word begins with.

For example:

ir regular = irregular (not inregular or ilregular)

il legal = illegal

im mortal = immortal

Exception - use the prefix 'im' in front of words beginning with p.

For example:

im + proper = improper

Activity: Practicing prefixes - 10 minutes

1. Choose from the five prefixes below and match this to the correct base word.

2. Write the 5 new words in your notes.

3. Compare your answers to the ones shown below.

4. If you got any of these answers wrong, you may wish to review the prefix spelling rules explained above.

prefixes base words
il disestablishmentarianism
miss legible
im rational
ir probable
anti interpret
How did you do?

When you have finished this activity, you can check your answers here.

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