As the title of this month’s editorial was chock-full of words with the prefix -RE (Review, rethink, rebirth), I thought we might use this opportunity to look at the meaning of some common prefixes in English.
Firstly, a prefix is a letter or group of letters that is added to the beginning of a word, giving the word a different meaning. When you come across a word that you don’t know, if you know the prefix and the base word, you can usually guess the meaning.
The following are the nine most common prefixes. These nine prefixes account for over 75% of all words that use prefixes.
Rank _____ % of All Prefixed Words _____ Prefix
- _____ 26% _____ un- (opposite)
- _____ 14% _____ re- (again)
- _____ 11% _____ in-, im-, il-, ir- (not)
- _____ 07% _____ dis- (not)
- _____ 04% _____ en-, em- (put into)
- _____ 04% _____ non- (not)
- _____ 03% _____ in-, im- (in)
- _____ 03% _____ over- (excessive)
- _____ 03% _____ mis- (bad or incorrect)