Add-on Activities: Exercises to increase undertanding of prefixes and suffixes

I got inspired on February 13 to make a video for Valentine’s Day. By staying up late, I managed to get my vocabulary lesson posted on the morning of February 14. I think it was worth losing a bit of sleep to make a new lesson in honor of such a fun holiday. My video from 2008 presented expressions related to love and marriage, for example, pop the question and exchange vows. This time around I wanted to focus on word parts. Key words are presented and practiced in groups:

  • Love – lover – lovely
  • Romance – romantic – unromantic
  • Sweet – sweetly – sweetness
  • Changed – exchanged – unchanged
  • Friend – friendly – friendship
  • Thought – thoughtless – thoughtful


Here are two ideas to test students’ comprehension of prefixes and suffixes. I’d recommend them as a follow-up activities to my 2010 video on Valentine’s Day.

 ACTIVITY 1: Word Parts Through Photos

 STEP 1 – Bring in a supply of old magazines and make scissors available. Place students in pairs. Their first task is to find images to illustrate the following:

  • A romantic gift v. an unromantic gift
  • An unloved person or pet
  • A loveless relationship
  • Loveliness of art
  • Romantically involved
  • (You can add your own concepts)

 STEP 2 – Once they have images for each concept, they may present their photos to the class or within smaller groups of 4 or 6. Pairs will take turns explaining their choices. Provide a model: “We chose this photo of a flower because we think it could be a romantic gift. We found a photo of a vacuum cleaner, and we decided that it would be a very unromantic gift.”

ACTIVITY 2: Group Poll

 STEP 1 – Prepare questions that include words from the video as well as new words formed with the highlighted prefixes and suffixes. Suggestions:

  • Can a loveless marriage still be a happy marriage?
  • Are you a romantic?
  • Is friendliness a characteristic of your hometown? / Your neighborhood?
  • When it comes to politics, are you interested or uninterested?
  • (You can add your own questions.)

STEP 2 – Have students work in small groups of 4-5. One person will record all answers as each question is discussed.

 STEP 3 – Come back together as a whole class. One representative from each group will share their answers. Collect data from each group on one question at a time. Ask the class to comment on the data. Model: So less than half of you are interested in politics. Do you think that’s true of people in general? Does it depend on age or a country?


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