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Vocabulary: Word forms and word formation using suffixes and prefixes - Last Update :

1 Complete the table with a correct form of each word. There may be more than one possible correct answer. For example: photographer and photograph are both nouns, and both have plural forms too.
When you have completed your table of words, read the words to your tutor to check the stress pattern changes when words change form. Eg: photograph, photographer and photographic.

2 - Table of Word Forms

Verb Noun Adjective
Analyse _________ _________
Verb Noun Adjective
_________ _________ Assessable
Verb Noun Adjective
Conceptualise _________ _________
Verb Noun Adjective
_________ Consistency _________
Verb Noun Adjective
Contextualise _________ _________
Verb Noun Adjective
_________ _________ definable
Verb Noun Adjective
_________ establishment _________
Verb Noun Adjective
formulate _________ _________
Verb Noun Adjective
hypothesise _________ _________
Verb Noun Adjective
_________ indication _________
Verb Noun Adjective
interpret _________ _________
Verb Noun Adjective
_________ _________ significant
Verb Noun Adjective
_________ _________ theoretical
Verb Noun Adjective
_________ _________ valid

3 - Previous Lessons

YouTube Word Forms

5 - Parts of speech. Example sentences, correct and incorrect.

Look at these questions. Four of them contain mistakes. Find the mistakes and correct them. If a sentence is correct Write "correct" in the gap.
  1. So where were you brought up from originally?
  2. Tell me little about your family. Do you have many brothers and sisters? What are they like?
  3. What kinds of things do you like doing in your free time?
  4. Do you have a particular reason of learning English or is it just out of general interest?
  5. Have you got anything exciting lined up for your next holiday?
  6. Do you have much an idea of what you'll be doing over the next few years?
Change verbs to nouns to adjectives to adverbs. Be careful of the word stress and use the correct prefixes and suffixes. Sometimes suffixes are used to change word forms. Eg. -ness, -ful, -ity, -able, -ing ...
Can you write two sentences using understandable and another two using understanding ?


Read this sentence. What part of speech are the highlighted words?
Her act combines the

grace and agility of a gymnast with the flexibility of a contortionist and the dexterity of a juggler.
Consider the suffixes of these words.
Example: -ISH (but not 'fish')
blue-ish green stones. When we describe something that does not exactly match an adjective, we use -ish This is commonly used when a colour is between two colours. If someone asks, "What colour is turquoise", you could answer "It is greenish blue" Note: the final colour takes the usual form.

8 - Turquoise Stones

Blue-ish green
  1. Which is greener, blue-ish green or greenish blue?
  2. Find two words ending in -ish where ish is this suffix and two words which incidentally end in -ish but this suffix is not present.
  3. responsible What's the difference in the meaning of responsible in these two sentences?
    1. He's a very responsible person.
    2. He's the person responsible for making all financial decisions.
  4. Homework Write a passage of 200-250 words, using as many of these suffixes as you can. Each time you include a word with a suffix correctly and sensibly, you score one point. Each grammar mistake loses a point.

9 - Word forms changing parts of speech

10 Put the highlighted word into the correct form. Listen and check your answers.
  1. audio What you said is forgive. What you did is not.

  2. audio I'd like to make a small donate to the work you do with the victims of landmines.
    _________ verb??
    (article + noun) opt, act, suggest, abbreviate, calculate, certify.

  3. audio That's absolutely outrage They can't cut our salaries!

  4. audio Your refuse to cooperate leaves us with no alternative I'm afraid.

  5. audio I'm afraid her forgetful is becoming more and more apparent.

  6. audio We clearly need to standard our procedures. At the moment everyone has their own particular approach.

  7. audio This discussion has been very product We now have a number of possible solutions to the problem.

  8. audio Her dress is a kind of blue green colour

  9. audio I'm hope that I will have passed my English exam this time.

  10. audio On complete of this exercise, you will have learnt some new vocabulary.

  11. audio The football club has been strong by the addition of one or two carefully chosen foreign players.

11 - Changing words with suffixes and prefixes

12 Use a prefix or suffix to change the highlighted word in each sentence. Prefixes and Suffixes to use -able Makes an adjective from a verb. The verb becomes doable. en- Makes a verb meaning to give the property of the noun. -ary -ery Makes an adjective from a verb. Meaning this verb has a tendancy to happen. -ness Makes a noun from an adjective. -dom Makes a noun from an adjective. un- im- dis- anti- makes an opposite adjective. -less Makes an adjective, meaning without the noun. -ate -ise make verbs from adjectives.

13 - The sentences.

  1. It's totally understand that you stayed home when you were sick.
  2. Don't laugh at his stupid jokes! You'll only courage him to say them again.
  3. That sidewalk is slip, I almost fell!
  4. After Monday, I will no longer be a foreigner. I will receive my citizen!
  5. Arthur will be very lonely unless you friend him.
  6. Every afternoon, the cooks sharp their knives in preparation for dinner.
  7. I hate being around Mary Lou, she is so so friendly.
  8. The stock market crash of 1929 left my great-grandfather (penny).
  9. I have a class at 8 a.m. but I have been known to be late because I sometimes (sleep).
  10. The groom may (veil) the bride only when their wedding rings have been exchanged and they have made their wedding vows.
  11. I think we should try something else. That strategy seems way too (risk).
  12. My father's death left me with a great (empty) in my heart.
  13. They invaded that country to (liberty) the people.
  14. The rebels fought hard to earn (depend) for their country.
  15. (free) of speech is one of the hallmarks of a civilised society.

  16. When you work at a nuclear power plant, you have to be extremely (care).
  17. Every time I think I've beaten you, you (do) me!
  18. I had to take three months off when I was pregnant, but my boss has been very (understand).
  19. He will (cork) the wine as soon as we are ready for dinner.
  20. There was a (understand) at work. We got our wires crossed.
  21. The weather (cast) looks bad for a picnic--rainy and windy!

14 - Questions

  1. Explain the difference between understandable and understanding.
Add a prefix to the words in brackets to form a word that fits in the space.
Think carefully about how to spell the words
un- dis- im- il- over- ir- under- anti- out- in-

  1. Selling tickets for more than their value is
    _________ _____ (legal)
  2. It is
    _________ for a manager to tell a coach what to do with the team (appropriate)
  3. He has to meet a lot of people but he hates it because he's very
    _________ (social)
  4. He's so rude - my efforts to help him improve were completely
    _________ (appreciated)
  5. They were
    _________ from the match for cheating. (qualified)
  6. The Manchester fans
    _________ the Chelsea fans by 2 to 1! (numbered)
  7. She's always boasting about what she's won - she's so
    _________ (modest)
  8. I think top footballers are grossly
    _________ (paid)

15 - More Questions

  1. What's the difference between anti-social and unsociable.
  2. What part of speech are unqualified and disqualified
  3. What prefix is more common with words beginning 'P' or 'M' to form a negative.

    Eg: It was impractical to shift the immovable object. It became totally impossible.

16 - Patterns for suffixes and word form changes.

  1. Read the words in the table. What is the correct word stress. (Note: Word stress can change when a word changes form. EG: PHOtograph, phoTOGgrapher and photoGRAphic.
  2. Make a correct sentence with each word from the table below.
  3. Decide if the suffixes in bold below generally indicate that the word is a noun, adjective or verb.
alternative option successful responsibility
organism weakness countable brownish
modernise enjoyment delicious legal

18 - Some word form changes.

Make as many word forms as possible from each word. Read the words aloud. check the pronunciation changes.
  1. honour
  2. ethics
  3. suspect
  4. pettiness
  5. bankruptcy
  6. scandal
  7. fraud
  8. deceive
  9. vice
  10. sin
  11. sacrifice
  12. betray
  13. Example
  14. prefer

20 - Match the prefixes to the meanings

Match the following words with the meaning. overproduce, misinterpret, out-vote, co-founder, renamed, ultra-sophisticated, ex-president, deactive, underselling.

  1. too much
  2. better / more than.
  3. badly
  4. extremely
  5. former
  6. opposite
  7. with
  8. too little
  9. again

22 - The odd one out

Which is the odd one out in each group?

  1. under
    1. perform
    2. rate
    3. charge
    4. profit
  2. co
    1. producer
    2. worker
    3. boss
    4. author
  3. re
    1. launch
    2. engineer
    3. locate
    4. decide
  4. over
    1. spend
    2. estimate
    3. supply
    4. lose
  5. mis
    1. manage
    2. judge
    3. calculate
    4. look
  6. out
    1. perform
    2. bid
    3. class
    4. win
  7. ultra
    1. efficient
    2. cautious
    3. modern
    4. big
  8. ex
    1. boss
    2. director
    3. employee
    4. staff
  9. de
    1. merge
    2. nationalise
    3. regulate
    4. grow

24 - Fill the gaps

  1. Several sales staff _____ last year and didn't meet their targets.
  2. Smith and Turner _____ the report
  3. We will _____ our product as soon as we have completed the modifications.
  4. We
    _________ the number of people who would buy our product in Asia.
  5. Because the company has been _______ for years, we are close to bankruptcy.
  6. My _______ was impossibly difficult, so I left the company.

25 - Prefix and Suffix Slides

26 Click the machine icon to see other words with the same prefix or suffix.

27 -Patterns?

Decide which of these describe the word form change when applying this suffix.
  1. This suffix transforms adjectives into nouns.
  2. Transforms verbs into nouns.
  3. Transforms a verb into an adjective meaning 'this can be done'.
  4. Makes a less precise adjective.
  5. Makes a verb from an adjective.

29 - Fill the Gaps

From a very young age I had always wanted to be an ( 1 )
_________ ELECTRIC I made the ( 2 )
_________ DECIDE to go to college and study so that I could get a good job. I learned some very ( 3 )
_________ VALUE things form my tutors and they gave me a lot of very useful ( 4 )
_________ ADVISE. Finally I left and applied for a job. There were a hundred ( 5 )
_________ APPLY. The company interviewed me, but they thought a lot of what I had learned at college was actually a bit ( 6 )
_________ RELEVANT. At first, I wasn't too disappointed. I even found it a little ( 7 )
_________ AMUSE, but I had no idea of the ( 8 )
_________ DIFFICULT I would have in finding a job. It took six months! It seemed ( 9 )
_________ FAIR at the time, but I finally found ( 10 )
_________ EMPLOY in my dream job, so I think I'm quite lucky.

31 - Changing the form changes the meaning.

Warning!!! Sometimes when we change the form of a word the meaning changes. Make sentences with these words to help you explain the meanings.
  1. Ingore.
    1. Ignorance
    2. Ignore
  2. Amuse
    1. Amusing
    2. Amuse
  3. Exploit
  4. Innovation
  5. Appreciate / appreciative / appreciated
  6. convict
  7. impose / imposing

Prefix and Suffix Examples

Click for more examples. Make you own sentences with some of the example words.

  • OUT-

    Example: Outperform He outperformed every other competitor in the race

  • OVER- Example: Overcooked
    I prefer my steak rare. This is overcooked.
  • -IVE

    Example: alternative There's no alternative - An alternative solution

  • -ION

    Example: option

  • -FUL Example: successful
  • -ITY

    Example: responsibility

  • -ISM

    Example: organism

  • -NESS

    Example: weakness

  • -LESS

    Example: hopeless

  • -ABLE

    Example: endurable

  • -ISH

    Example: brownish

  • -ISE

    Example: modernise

  • -MENT

    Example: enjoyment

  • -SHIP

    Example: relationship

  • BE-

    Example: befriend

  • -AL

    Example: experimental

  • -HOOD

    Example: brotherhood

  • -SOME

    Example: tiresome

  • MIS-

    Example: misbehaved


34 - An A-Z of "-ity" Nouns words.

-ity is just one of many suffixes that form nouns. -ness , -ment and -tion are three others. Here is a list of nouns formed by the suffix "-ity".

ability, austerity, brutality, compatibility, dexterity, equality, elasticity, fragility, gravity, humidity, humility, generosity, identity, impunity, J ______ity , K _____ity, luminosity, maturity, nativity, necessity, popularity, prosperity, quality, quantity, reliability, rapidity, reality, stupidity, sanity, totality, transportability, tranquility, utility, varsity, validity, unity, volatility, workability, wearily, x___ity , y___ ity , z ____ ity.

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