Anna was the favourite student of her English teacher, Ms Mayer. After a long weekend, she came excited to class to say about her stay in Miami. Here is what she said to Ms Mayer- "I had been looking forward to this weekend trip for so long. Honestly, it was not so good. I had this idea of how it will be in my head, and it didn't turn out to be like that. It was truly disappointing."

While describing her experience, Ms Mayer asked her to look closely at what she had just said – “But honestly, it was not so good”.

She said quickly-"That's not how I should say, right? It's not advanced English."

Her English teacher suggested a new word to her that she could have used instead. It was 'anticlimax’.

She asked quickly- “Is that what you’ve been teaching in our last class? The prefix?”  

She then asked, "I am confused now. How to use prefixes? I think I could improve my English if I understood how to use them!

And we couldn't agree more with her.

If you, like Anna, aspire to improve your English and are looking forward to improving your vocabulary, reading this comprehensive post will surely put you miles ahead. Here, we will walk you through the nitty-gritty of prefixes and certain inspiring examples that will enable you to enrich your knowledge bank of words and expressions effectively.

Ready? Let’s get started!

What Are Prefixes: A Quick Overview

Prefixes are an integral part of the English language. As a matter of fact, we all are perhaps using words without realising that they already are prefixes. Like- ex-boyfriend or unbelievable.

To put it simply, a prefix is a part of a word that can be joined with another word, known as the 'root' word, to give it a completely different meaning. Often it can be just a simpler letter that acts as a prefix; however, sometimes, it is a lengthier word.

In English, the most common prefixes are generally one or two syllables long. Although, some like megalo- and hetero- are three.

Prefixes always tend to have the same meaning, regardless of what base word they're attached to. Like, the prefix re- always implies 'to do something again'. When it's used in reread, it means 'to read again'. Again, when used in rebuild, it implies 'to build again'.

Prefixes: When to Use Them?

Now that you know what prefixes in English are, it is significant to develop an in-depth understanding of when to use them while writing or saying any sentence.

Generally, prefixes are used mainly to shorten phrases into a single word. For instance,  rather than saying that someone is 'accomplishing their objectives more than expected', you can simply say they're 'overachieving'. Prefixes are one of the most remarkable ways to streamline text and make it more potent.

In academic disciplines, prefixes are significant. They are especially used to categorise subjects. Like, geology is the study of rocks and other vital earth minerals, based on the prefix geo-. This implies ‘relating to the earth’.

Unique Ways to Master Prefixes in English

As we have already pointed out, prefixes are hidden in thousands of words we hear or say daily. But how to learn them smartly and easily?

Here are certain ways to learn prefixes in English so that they stick for a long time-

  • Learn A List

One of the outstanding ways to master prefixes is to go through a list of common prefixes used in English. This can help you memorise the prefixes along with their definitions.

As you continue to learn English, you can always add any new prefixes you've mastered to the list. Further, write down example words so you can practice using the new prefix you’ve learned.

  • Make Use Of Online Resources and Quizzes

It can be beneficial to take a quiz about prefixes to evaluate how much you’ve learned. Have a look at the quizzes you can use to master prefixes like a pro-

  • ProProfs include a remarkable quiz that focuses on the definitions of prefixes in English. It has various questions like- Which prefixes mean 'not'? with multiple-choice answers. It is an incredible way to learn prefixes on your own.  
  • Quizizz incorporates a remarkable quiz on prefixes and suffixes for advanced learners. This quiz is based on grammar and asks multiple questions about ways to use prefixes. These questions are multiple-choice, and you can easily create a free account to understand the correct answers to each question.
  • English Media Labhugely focuses on words with prefixes rather than just emphasising ‘what are prefixes?' The quiz is slightly advanced. It can enable you to comprehend if you've improved and assess your general knowledge of vocabulary and prefixes.
  • Look For Prefixes In Entertainment

Another way to learn is to practice looking for prefixes in books, movies, magazines, videos and English conversations. List down any word with prefixes and figure out what the word means before using a dictionary.

When watching series, films, or videos, make use of subtitles so it becomes easier to spot these little words.

Prefixes in English: Examples

Let's look at common prefixes along with their definition and two or three remarkable examples of a word that include each prefix. Ensure to study this list and add other example words when you find them-









a-, an-



Without, not lack of


Amoral, abyss, achromatic, acellular, anhydrous






Opposite of, Against


Anticlimax, antiaircraft, antiseptic, antibody




Not, away


Absent, Abnormal






Before, Earlier, In front of


Antecedent, Antedate, Antemeridian, Anterior




Self, Same


Autopilot, Autobiography, Autofocus, Automobile





Together, With


Co-pilot, co-worker, co-exist, co-author


Com-, Con-


Together, With


Companion, Commingle, Contact




About, Around


Circumscribe, Circumvent



Contra-, Contro-


Against, Opposite


Contrast, Controversy, Contradict, Contrary






Against, Contrary to



Counterproposal, counterarguments




Undo, remove


Deactivate, Deter




Former, Previous






Without, not


Illogical, illegal




Without, Not


Impossible, Improper




Lacking, No


Incomplete, Injustice






Irregular, Irreplaceable




Lacking, Not


Non-negotiable, Non-fiction




Lacking, Not


Unresponsive, Unkind




Cover With, Put Into


Enclose, Enslave, Entangle, Encase




From, former, out of


Exhale, Extract, Excavate, Ex-President




More than, Outside, Beyond


Extramarital, Extravagant, Extracurricular




Other, Different


Heterodox, Heterosexual, Heterogenous


Homeo-, Homo-


Alike, Same


Homonym, Homophone, Homeostasis






More Beyond, Over



Hypersensitive, Hyperactive, Hypercritical




Into, In


Infiltrate, Inspection, Insert






Among, Between


Interstellar, Intersect, Intervene


Intra-, Intro-


Within, Inside


Introvert, Intravenous




Prominent, Huge


Macroeconomics, Macrostructure




Very Minute


Microbe, Microscope




Alone, Single


Monocle, Monogamy, Monotony




Without, Not


Non-aggressive, Non-fiction, Non-essential




Every, all


Omnivorous, Omnidirectional, Omniscient




Behind, After


Post-mortem, Posterior, Postscript


Pre-, Pro-


Forward, Before


Precede, Predict, Project, Prologue






Repent, Review


Sym-, Syn-


Together, Same Time


Symposium, Symmetry, Synapse




Lower, Under


Submarine, Substandard




Over, Above


Superscript, Superficial




Over a distance or from


Telemedicine, telecommunications, television






Beyond, Across, Though


Transmit, Transaction, Transfer






Triangle, Triad




Opposite of, Lacking, Not


Unskilled, Unfinished, Unfriendly




Single, One


Unicellular, Unicycle, Unilateral




North or to the top, better/higher


Updo, upbeat, upload, upgrade, uphill, up-tempo, upstage




Half, Partly


Semiconductor, Semiannual


Wrapping Up,

Mastering certain common prefixes can open up a new world of meaning. By truly knowing affixes- not memorising, but by comprehending what they mean and the ways they are used- you can start making sense of countless new words without having to look them up.

With this comprehensive guide of prefixes, you can now improve your English vocabulary like never before. You can also look at the examples and how they are used in a sentence to connect the relevant theory to the practice. Take the help of this guide, know when to use prefixes, and draw inspiration from examples to achieve ultimate academic success. Good luck!

Need Guidance To Comprehend Prefixes? Hire Qualified Tutors of

It takes adequate time and effort to master prefixes in English, especially how to use them in sentences while speaking and writing. No need to fret. Our highly qualified and well-skilled tutors are here to provide comprehensive information about prefixes.

Regardless of whether you need more examples of prefixes or assistance for using them in sentences, the tutors are always at aid. To connect with us, all you need to do is follow the simple steps listed below-

  • Share Your Requirements-Reach out to us by sharing your concerns. We will assimilate all the essential study resources and materials for you.
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Hire our eminent team of tutors today to ace your semesters with flying colours!