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Vocabulary Exercise: Word building

An easy way to increase your vocabulary is to use prefixes and suffixes before and after the word to make a new word.

Check out our page on word building for examples. Here are some common ones for you:

Common prefixes before adjectives

– ‘dis’ prefix: disloyal, dishonest

– ‘il’ prefix before adjectives beginning with ‘l’: illegal, illicit, illiterate

– ‘im’ (before adjectives begining with ‘m’): immature, immodest

– ‘un’ prefix: unlawful, unhappy

– ‘multi’ (several / many): multinational, multi-use

– ‘uni’ (one): uniform

– ‘bi’ (two): bicycle, bilingual

Common prefixes before verbs

– ‘dis’ (not): disagree, disapprove

– ‘out’ (more than someone / something else): outperform, outrun

– ‘over’ (too much): overreat, oversleep

– ‘re’ (again): redo, reform

Common prefixes before nouns

– ‘co’ (with): co-worker, cooperation

– ‘pre’ (before): prequel, pre-dinner

– ‘post’ (after): postnatal, post-war

– ‘sub’ (below): submarine

– ‘super’ (greater than): supermarket, superstar

– ‘under’ (below): underage, understudy

Common suffixes

– ‘able’ / ‘ible’ (adjectives): comfortable, suitable

– ‘ant’ (jobs, people): accountant, pedant

– ‘ian’ (jobs): musician, technician

– ‘ist’: communist, receptionnist

– ‘ful’ (adjectives): hopeful, joyful

– ‘ment’ (nouns): contentment, resentment

– ‘ness’ (nouns ending -y): happiness, readiness

– ‘ty’ / ‘thy’ (concept nouns): loyalty, apathy


Choose the correct answer.