Prefixes ESL Games, Activities and Worksheets

Negative Prefixes

ESL Negative Prefixes Worksheet - Reading and Writing Exercises - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 20 minutes

Here is a negative prefixes worksheet to help students practice the four negative prefixes: mis-, im-, dis-, in-. Students begin by finding 12 adjectives or verbs in a word search that have an opposite or negative meaning. Next, students write each antonym found in the word search next to its opposite. Finally, students write the four negative prefixes used to create the antonyms. The students then write a sentence that uses each prefix.
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Interactive Version - Here is a prefixes interactive worksheet to help teach students four prefixes that give a word a negative or opposite meaning.


Prefix Professionals

ESL Prefixes Games - Reading and Matching Activity - Pre-intermediate (A2) - 25 minutes

Here are two fun prefix games to help introduce pre-intermediate students to prefixes and root words. The students begin by playing a pelmanism game. In pairs, students take it in turns to turn over one prefix card and one root word card. The student reads the prefix and root word card aloud. If the prefix and root word go together to form a word, the student keeps the two cards and has another turn. The student with the most pairs of cards at the end of the game wins. The students then move on to play a game of snap with the cards. One student takes all the prefix cards and the other student takes the root word cards. Both students turn over a card from their pile at the same time. If the prefix and root word match to make a word, the first student to say 'Snap' scores a point. Students then pick up their own cards, shuffle them and play again. If a student says 'Snap' when the cards don't match, the other student scores a point and the game continues. The first student to get ten points wins the game.
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Find Someone Who...

ESL Prefixes Activity - Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

In this free prefixes activity, students ask and answer yes/no questions containing words that use prefixes. Students start by completing the items on the worksheet with 12 prefixes. The students then prepare the yes/no questions they need to ask in order to do the activity. Next, students go around the class, asking each other the questions, e.g. 'Did you use to misbehave when you were younger?' When a student finds someone who answers 'yes' to a question, the student writes down their name and asks a 'Wh' follow-up question to gain more information, noting down the answer in the last column of the worksheet. When everyone has finished, the students give feedback to the rest of the class on what they found out.
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Prefix Dominoes

ESL Negative Prefixes Game - Reading, Matching and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

In this engaging negative prefixes activity, students play a game where they match prefixes that have an opposite or negative meaning to words. The first player puts down one of their dominoes, making sure that the prefix or word on their domino matches with the word or prefix on either side of the domino on the table. If the player forms an opposite or negative word successfully, they score a point. For an extra point, the player then uses the word in a sentence. The other players then take it in turns to match their dominoes in the same way by putting them down at either end of the domino chain and making a suitable sentence when an opposite or negative word is formed. When a player has gotten rid of all their dominoes, the game ends. The students then add up their scores. The player with the most points wins the game.
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Prefix Practice

ESL Prefixes Worksheet - Reading, Matching and Writing Exercises - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

This prefixes worksheet helps students to learn and practice common and negative prefixes. First, students read through the common prefixes and examples table. The students then complete a set of sentences with the common prefixes. Students then move on to look at a table of negative prefixes and examples. The students then write the opposites of words using the negative prefixes. Afterwards, students use the negative prefixes to complete a set of sentences. Finally, the students complete sentences with the common and negative prefix examples from the two tables.
Prefix Practice Preview

Interactive Version - This interactive prefix exercises PDF helps students learn a range of negative and common prefixes.


Prefix Puzzle

ESL Prefixes Activity - Writing, Listening and Speaking - Intermediate (B1) - 30 minutes

Here is a challenging prefixes crossword activity to help students practice 20 of the most common prefixes. In two groups, students define and write down clues for the words written on their crossword. Students should define the part of speech and explain the meaning of the prefix for each word, e.g. 'It's an adjective. The prefix means opposite. We use the word to describe..., etc'. However, students are not allowed to use any part of the word being described in their clues. Students then pair up with someone from the other group and take it in turns to ask their partner for a clue to one of their missing words. Their partner reads out the clue for that word and the other student tries to guess what it is. If the student guesses the word successfully, they write it on their crossword. If not, their partner continues to give more clues until the student is able to guess the word. When the students have finished, review the meaning of each prefix with the class.
Prefix Puzzle Preview

Interactive Version - In this prefixes breakout room activity, pairs of students do an interactive crossword to practice the most common prefixes.


What's the word?

ESL Prefixes Game - Reading, Listening, Matching and Speaking Activity - Intermediate (B1) - 25 minutes

In this entertaining prefixes game, students listen to sentences with missing words and complete them by choosing suitable words and adding prefixes to them. Student A goes first by reading sentence 1 on their worksheet to their partner, e.g. 'I had to BLANK my account when I lost my mobile phone.' Student B then tries to guess the missing word by choosing an appropriate word from a box on their worksheet, adding a prefix to it and making any other necessary changes, such as changing the tense or form of the word. If the guess is correct, Student B scores two points. If the word is wrong, Student B has one more chance to guess for one point. Student B then reads their first sentence to Student A and so on. The student with the most points at the end of the game wins.
What's the word? Preview

Interactive Version - In this prefixes breakout room game, pairs of students guess missing words and prefixes in sentences.


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