Root, Prefix, and Suffix Worksheets:
Clues to Word Meaning and Use

English root, prefix, and suffix worksheets can help students learn to recognize and use these important word comprehension clues. These word parts will help them decode words and speed up their vocabulary acquisition. Practicing with the most common suffixes that mark different parts of speech can also increase students' writing fluency. 

Knowing even ten each of the most useful prefixes and suffixes, as well as a slightly larger number of common roots, opens the door to a basic recognition of hundreds of new words. (Check out the words beginning with co-, re-, or un- in any English dictionary!)

Using Root, Prefix, & Suffix Worksheets in Class

3 puzzle pieces labeled prefix, root, and suffix, with the text
3 puzzle pieces labeled prefix, root, and suffix, with the text

Most of the worksheets in EnglishHints.com are for high beginners to intermediate or even advanced students. There are many good places to find affix worksheets for the lower elementary grades (for words like thankful, quickly, higher and highest, remake, preview, and unknown-- very common affixes added to basic English words.)

The English prefix and suffix worksheets on EnglishHints start with frequently-used words that demonstrate the most common suffixes and then prefixes, but go on to common academic vocabulary that is fairly easy to guess from the affixes and a few common root meanings. There is also practice with cognates that might help Spanish-speakers (or speakers of any Latin-based language) recognize academic vocabulary more easily.

You should be able to use these worksheet packets at every level in which students have basic English conversational skills. They will include some words students already know, for review, and many new combinations, with lots of examples and practice in using them.

An overview of word formation in English (using already known words)  is especially useful to students who need to read extensively in English or are preparing for a major test. It will improve students’ writing as well as their reading comprehension if they clearly understand the differences in use between act, action, and active, activate and activation, or simplify and simplification (examples in the Basic Suffix Worksheet Packet).

Root, Prefix, and Suffix Packets & Bundles

EnglishHints offers two suffix packets:

There is also a Prefix Packet (the basics for all levels), a Roots packet, and  a root and affix bundle including Word-Building Suffixes and the complete prefix and root packets.

The description of each worksheet packet below also includes links to similar pages on  this site , so you can get an idea if they might be useful in your class. (However, I have modified many exercises in the packets to make them more useful in a classroom setting.)

You can buy any of our worksheets with a credit card or through Paypal through a secure purchase process run by FastSpring. All the worksheets are covered by our guarantee: If you're not completely satisfied, let me know the problem and I will fix it if I can, or refund your money-- your option. All contacts are also covered by our Privacy Policy.

I would recommend introducing suffixes before doing too much work with roots or prefixes, because with one or two short suffix lessons students will be better prepared to understand and use the words they’ll learn as they study word roots. The various forms of words made with different prefixes and roots (reflect, reflection, reflexive, etc.) won’t be so confusing if students understand suffixes.

You will need Adobe or another pdf reader to download these pdfs. If you do not have Adobe Reader you can download it, free, here. (You can also just read the free ones on the Internet, if you don't want to download them. Just left click instead of right-clicking the link.)

Suffix Worksheets on EnglishHints

A basic knowledge of suffixes can help students learn several related words “for the price of one” in time and effort. 

Word-Building Suffixes Packet

cover for the Word-Building Suffixes worksheet packet: title, puzzle pieces with 'act' plus 3 suffixes, and puzzle piece border.

This packet is designed for middle to high beginners or low intermediates, using mostly common vocabulary. (It introduces some of the more common words from the Academic Word List as well.) It explains basic suffix use step by step, providing practice with each new suffix type.

Contents (16 pages in addition to the cover and answer sheets):

·        table of contents

·    notes for the teacher including lesson suggestions

·         Word Families (An explanation and demonstration of suffixes using ‘act’) and Parts of Speech in Sentences (2 pages.)

·         A list of the 8 most common Noun-building suffixes with a practice table with examples and boxes to complete showing their relations to the verbs, adjectives, or other nouns they were made from

·         5 Noun-building suffixes for groups of people, with practice questions

·         4 Verb-building suffixes and practice questions (on above page)

·         15 Adjective-building suffixes with 2 practice questions

·         1 Adverb-building suffix (on above page)

·         An answer sheet for those lists and practice exercises

·         A 3-page Word Building Practice worksheet made from the best of Word Family Practice and Word Formation Examples & Exercises. (I chose these particular word families because my Spanish-speaking students needed extra practice with them. Several are false cognates, like attend and assist. (The common Spanish meanings are the reverse of the most common English uses.) I believe the worksheet practice is better organized and simpler than the practice on the webpages, though-- even though that is an improvement over the worksheets I originally made for my class!

·         Its answer sheets (2 pages)

·         A comprehensive alphabetical two-page List of Common Suffixes, including part of speech, examples, and a right column for students to complete with another example, either with partners, as a class, or independently. (You can see the words in the list on List of Suffixes, but the pdf is in a better format.) 

·          A 2-page table for teachers with more examples for each suffix to use for games or in teaching (and to review the right column above with the class.)

·         A new, brief suffix quiz (considerably easier than the practices, and reduced to 1 page.)

·         Its answer sheet.

·         Suffixes for Plurals and Tenses and Suffixes for Comparison-- optional extra page explaining those basic suffix types. Use if your students need it, or adapt its ideas to your own review.

These worksheets are simplified and updated versions of the pages linked to above plus Word Families and Suffix List by Use, with additional practice. You can get an idea of what they are like by checking there.

You might introduce suffixes with the Word Families and Parts of Speech pages and a brainstorming activity. (Find out how much your students already know about suffixes-- they might be surprised!)

Going over the alphabetical suffix list is a chance to highlight the various uses of suffixes and the relations between them. Completing the boxes on the right side of the list is another chance for students to think of one or two words for each type of suffix they may already know. It's a good partner or group activity, especially if you have a multi-level class where some students have a lot less English vocabulary than others.

The noun-building (and to a lesser extent the verb and adjective practices) reinforce the word family relations between different suffixes (-ify> -ification, etc.)

  • Buy the Word-Building Suffixes Packet for $4.00,
  • or get this packet as part of the Root and Affix bundle ($10.00, with major price discounts for multiple products), below 
  • or get it along with roots and prefixes plus the Word Detective packet's  academic vocabulary and  context clue practice in the Word Detective Value Bundle for $13.50-- over 15% off individual prices-- on the bottom of  the page at Vocabulary Worksheets.

If you would like to buy the Word-Building Suffixes packet by itself for $4.00, click the Buy Now button below. (You will also have the option to "continue shopping" and buy it with another packet later.)



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Free Introduction to Word-Building Suffixes

Cover for free introduction to word-building suffixes with a colorful puzzle piece border

If you cannot currently afford the suffix packet above, or want a better idea of what it includes, this free packet provides a sample with several of the most useful worksheets from the Word-Building Suffixes packet, as well as the two-page suffix table. It should be useful to ESL classes at all levels above the most basic.

Contents (11 pages including cover, teacher notes, and answer keys, or 7  of content):   

·         cover, contents, and lesson suggestions for the teacher

·         Word Families page (An explanation and demonstration of suffixes using ‘act’)

·         the comprehensive 2-page suffix table in both packets above, with an additional column for students to complete with partners as an introduction to suffixes, a review activity, or even homework.

·         a worksheet practicing suffixes from the different parts of speech, with a table showing how noun-building suffixes are made and fill-ins or questions to briefly review group noun, verb, and adjective suffixes

·         its answer key

·         a short suffix quiz, reduced to 1 page

·         its answer key

·         Suffixes for Plurals and Tenses and Suffixes for Comparison-- optional extra page explaining those basic suffix types. Use if your students need it, or adapt its ideas to your own review.

Click the button below to download the Basic Word-Building Suffix Worksheet packet. It's free! (I'd love a comment if you find it helpful.)




English Prefix Worksheets

pdf cover: puzzle pieces surround the title
  • 11 pages (in addition to 3 answer keys.)
  • includes a table with all the most common prefixes
  • extensive practice with the  prefixes most important for academic vocabulary:
  • includes demonstration worksheets to practice ways the different prefixes make words when combined with Latin roots

Contents:

  • Contents and Notes for Teachers
  • 2-page Common Prefixes table with each prefix, its meaning, a couple of examples, space for students to add one or two more examples, and a See Also reference to other prefixes meaning the same thing (See the List of Prefixes for a similar table and Greek and Latin Prefixes for the see also comparisons.)
  • brief explanation of types of prefixes and a 4-page series of short practice exercises on Prefixes of Quantity, Time, Location (ex-, in-, sub-, & trans-), Relationships (Com-Sym-, Anti-, Contra-, & Ob-), and a page practicing Re- (with answer keys) (For many of the same examples and interactive practice exercises see Practice Common Prefixes and The Prefix 'Re.'
  • Negative prefixes: examples, practice, & answer key (1 page each) (See Negative Prefix List and Practice Negative Prefixes.)
  • Can You Choose the Best Prefix? (1 page mixed prefix and root practice or quiz and answer key)

These brainstorming and practice activities require about two class periods, or two hours distributed over several days. I would normally teach them after a little work with suffixes and before some practice with word roots.

Get Common Prefixes for $3.00-- or choose the Root and Affix packet or bundle below to include work with suffixes and roots as well as prefixes.

Download Common Prefixes for $3.00 by clicking the "Buy now" button below.




Using Word Roots to Teach Vocabulary

Cover for Using Word Roots to Teach Vocabulary-- a bright-leaved fall tree with roots exposed.

Help intermediate ESL students master academic vocabulary by learning some of the most useful root and prefix combinations. Examples and practice with over 30 important Latin and Greek roots, including 3 pages on Greek roots, 2 on sensory roots (aud, vid, spect, etc.) and 1-2 pages each on words made from cedere (access, exceed, preceding, procedure, successive, etc.), and 2 other especially high-value roots, pointing out Spanish cognates (as well as warning about false cognates like sensible, which means sensitive in Spanish.)

The packet includes suggestions for teaching roots and practicing them with several games, including 'memory' (or 'Concentration')-- with 4 sets of memory cards to practice 24 words and meanings from the roots in the packet.

Other practice activities include gap-fills, multiple choice, and matching exercises, starting with root and prefix combinations with  easy-to-guess meanings based on the root meaning, and going on to important academic words not as easy to guess from the root-- with the needed explanations and examples given in the introduction before each practice.

Teaching all the roots in this packet would take about 20 minutes to half an hour for 8-10 days, plus 15 minutes occasionally for review games. The Greek root examples and practice might take 45 minutes. Most of the rest of the worksheets will take 15 minutes to half an hour (or a little longer if you want to brainstorm with the class first). Most of the games need about 15 minutes, and the memory games can be played by early finishers (1-4 students per set of cards) without help once they've been introduced.

29 pages including answer keys for each exercise.

Download this extensive roots' practice now for $5.00.




Root & Affix Bundle

cover for the Root and Affix bundle showing the three packets included.

Give your students a good introduction to word decoding: a basic understanding of how prefixes, roots and suffixes work together to show word meanings.  

Get all three of the main packets above for one low price.

This bundle includes the complete Word Building Suffixes, Common Prefix Practice, and Roots+ Practice, 55 content pages (besides cover pictures and answer keys) for $10.60.

Download the complete bundle now for $10.00-- over 15% off the price of the individual packets.



Contact Me Directly with Suggestions or Problems

Please let me know if you have any problems or any suggestions for improvements (or useful future worksheets.) I would love to hear if you find these suffix worksheets useful (and especially if you are willing for me to post your comments with your first name here as a ‘testimonial’-- or with suggestions of the way your class has used them.)

In addition, you can contact me if you do not want to receive (infrequent) notices of new root or affix worksheets, or if you would like to receive notices about new vocabulary or reading comprehension worksheets on EnglishHints.com.

Questions or comments? Let me know!

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There are other types of vocabulary practice at Vocabulary Games and Activities and Vocabulary Worksheets. (That page includes a Word Detective bundle value pack with the complete root, prefix, and Word-Building Suffix packets above plus a Word Detective reading and context clues packet-- a great introduction to academic vocabulary and word decoding for under $13.00.) 

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