Incredible - negative prefixes

Common negative prefixes are -un, -im, -ir, -in, -il, -dis and -mis. The majority use -un. We use them to express "not".

Let's look at some examples:

We usually use -un mostly with adjectives, adverbs and a few nouns.

eg. He has an unforgetable face. I'd recognise him anywhere.

Some verbs use -un to mean "to do the reverse of"

eg. I undressed and went straight to bed.



Can you guess the other -un words?
  1. He is un________. You arrange to meet him at a certain time and he either turns up late or cancels at the last moment.
  2. What he did was un___________. I don't care if he says sorry. I never want to see or speak to him again.
  3. He is in an un________ position. He has to make such an important decision. Who would want to be him right now?
  4. Un__________ has reached a record 4.5 million. The government must do something to reverse this shameful statistic.
  5. I can't stand un_________. It drives me crazy when my flatmate leaves things lying around the house and I have to pick it all up.
  6. The children excitedly un_______ all their Christmas presents.


It is usually adjectives that have the following prefixes:

il + l

im +  m / p

ir + r

in + other consonants




Can you guess the following -ill-imm, -imp, -irr, -in words?
  1. I can't read your handwriting. It is i________.
  2. He never says thanks if you do anything for him. He is so i_______.
  3. Don't be so i_________. You will have to learn to accept other points of views and other ways of doing things.
  4. Janet is i___________. We will never find another secretary as good as her.
  5. I wish you wouldn't be so i_______. It's about time you grew up.
  6. I________ is a huge problem in many parts of the world. Children don't go to school to learn to read and write. 



There are many verbs, adjectives and nouns that use the -dis prefix, with the meaning "the opposite of" or "not".

eg Where did you disappear to last night? One moment you were there, the next you were gone. (the opposite of appear)
eg I wouldn't trust her if I were you. She's so dishonest. (not honest)

There are some others with the -mis prefix, which mean "to do wrongly or badly".

eg I misheard him when he was giving us all the information last week. I understood that exam was tomorrow, not today.




Can you guess the -mis or -dis words in the following sentences?
  1. Don't ________ me. I did not use these words.
  2. I think every street in my neighbourhood has a parking space for the ________.
  3. I don't want to __________ you from doing the exam but it is very difficult and I don't know if you are ready.
  4. I'm afraid there's been a terrible ________________. I asked for a double room with a sea-view. I can only see a brick wall from my window.
  5. I wish the children would stop ___________. They never do as they are told.
  6. You shouldn't ________ people so much. Not everyone is dishonest.



Complete the following sentences using a prefix from above and the correct form of the word in capitals.
  1. The servant proved to be ________. He sold his story to the newspapers. LOYAL
  2. ____________ that is all we have time for I'm afraid. FORTUNATE
  3. Some people argue for the decriminalization of recreational drugs, arguing that __________ does more harm than good. LEGAL
  4. I hate the __________ of it all. It's not right what is happening. FAIR
  5. She is always looking for the _____________ and is quick to point out your mistakes. PERFECT
  6. I _____________ how many bottles we would need. I bought far too many. CALCULATE
  7. There was an ______ silence. I didn't know what to say to her. EASE
  8. The figures that you gave were __________ . Sales didn't fall; they actually rose 5%. ACCURATE

Comments

Montse said…
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Graham said…
Montse:

You did really well, bearing in mind that I created this for First Certificate students.

3. "uncomfortable" could fit, I was thinking of "unenviable"
5. untidiness

2. "ingrate" could fit ("ungrateful"is less formal), I was thinking of "impolite"
3. "inflexible" could fit, I was thinking of "intolerant"
5. "infantile" could fit, I was thinking of "immature"

1. "distort" is more used with words or facts. I was thinking of "misquote"
2. "the disabled"
3. "disobeying" could fit, I was thinking of "misbehaving"
4. distrust/mistrust someone (essentially synonyms)

and perfect in the word transformation. Next step First Certificate!
Anonymous said…
Hi Graham,

My answers:

1-unreilable; 2-ungrafetul; 3- unpleasant; 4-unemployment; 5-?; 6-unwrap

1-Illegible;2-?;3-intransigent;4-impresionant?;5-inmarute;6-illiteracy

1-?;2-disabled;3-discourage;4-misunderstanding:5-mistrust

1-disloyal;2-unfortunately;3-illegaly;4-unfaire;5.-imperfections?;6?;7 deasable?

I need looking up a lot of them in the dictionary :-(

Hilde
Graham said…
Hi Hilde!

All correct apart from:

2. UNFORGIVABLE
3. UNENVIABLE
4. UNTIDINESS
5. UNWRAPPED

2. IMPOLITE
3. INTOLERANT
4. IRREPLACEABLE ("impressionant" doesn't exist - you mean "impressive")
5. IMMATURE


1. MISQUOTE
5. MISBEHAVING
6. MISTRUST


3. ILLEGALITY
4. UNFAIRNESS
6. MISCALCULATED
7. UNEASY
8. INACCURATE



A nice try, Hilde! This was a tough one.
Anonymous said…
Hi, Graham. I am sending you new exercises about prefixes. I hope yon don't find too mistakes, José Luis

CAN YOU GUESS THE OTHER -UN WORDS?
He is UNRELIABLE. You arrange to meet him at a certain time and he either turns up late or cancels at the last moment.
What he did was UNACCEPTABLE. I don't care if he says sorry. I never want to see or speak to him again.
He is in an un UNENVIABLE position. He has to make such an important decision. Who would want to be him right now?
UNEMPLOYMENT has reached a record 4.5 million. The government must do something to reverse this shameful statistic.
I can't stand UNTIDINESS. It drives me crazy when my flatmate leaves things lying around the house and I have to pick it all up.
The children excitedly UNWRAPPED all their Christmas presents.
______________________________________________________________________-

Can you guess the following -ill, -imm, -imp, -irr, -in words?
1. I can't read your handwriting. It is ILLEGAL
2. He never says thanks if you do anything for him. He is so IMPOLITE.
3. Don't be so INTOLERANT. You will have to learn to accept other points of views and other ways of doing things.
4. Janet is IMPRESSIVE. We will never find another secretary as good as her.
5. I wish you wouldn't be so INFANTILE. It's about time you grew up.
6. ILLITERACY is a huge problem in many parts of the world. Children don't go to school to learn to read and write.

Can you guess the -mis or -dis words in the following sentences?
1. Don't MISUNDERSTAND me. I did not use these words.
2. I think every street in my neighbourhood has a parking space for the DISCHARGE.
3. I don't want to DISSUADE you from doing the exam but it is very difficult and I don't know if you are ready.
4. I'm afraid there's been a terrible MISUNDERSTOOD. I asked for a double room with a sea-view. I can only see a brick wall from my window.

5. I wish the children would stop DISOBEYING. They never do as they are told.
6. You shouldn't DISTRUST people so much. Not everyone is dishonest.

Complete the following sentences using a prefix from above and the correct form of the word in capitals.
1. The servant proved to be DISLOYAL. He sold his story to the newspapers. LOYAL
2. UNFORTUNATELY that is all we have time for I'm afraid. FORTUNATE
3. Some people argue for the decriminalization of recreational drugs, arguing that ILLEGALISATION does more harm than good. LEGAL
4. I hate the UNFAIR of it all. It's not right what is happening. FAIR
5. She is always looking for the PERFECTION and is quick to point out your mistakes. PERFECT
6. I MISCALCULATED how many bottles we would need. I bought far too many. CALCULATE
7. There was an UNEASE silence. I didn't know what to say to her. EASE
8. The figures that you gave were INACCURATE . Sales didn't fall; they actually rose 5%. ACCURATE

Graham said…
Hi JL,

As usual, I didn't find too many mistakes in your work.

-un words 100% right.


-i words:

1. ILLEGIBLE - not possible to read

4. IMPRESSIVE could fit. I was thinking of IRREPLACEABLE

5. INFANTILE could fit. I was thinking of IMMATURE.


-mis / -dis words:

1. MISUNDERSTAND could fit. I was thinking of MISQUOTE.

2. THE DISABLED - people who have a disability.

4. A MISUNDERSTANDING

5. DISOBEYING could fit. I was thinking of MISBEHAVING.

6. There is very little difference between DISTRUST and MISTRUST.


Word Transformation:

3. LEGALISATION - to make legal.

4. THE UNFAIRNESS (n) unfair (adj)

5. THE IMPERFECTIONS - the mistakes

7. UNEASY (adj) unease (n)



Well done!


Anonymous said…
Thank you Graham. See you tomorrow, José Luis