Prefixes & Suffixes Games & Activities

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

A solid understanding of prefixes and suffixes can go a long way in helping students understand and correctly use new vocabulary. This lesson provides teachers with games and activities designed to teach students about prefixes and suffixes.

What are Prefixes and Suffixes?

In order to prepare your students for the games and activities that follow, it's important to review prefixes and suffixes are and how they are used. Prefixes and suffixes are also known as affixes because they are affixed to existing words. To begin a class discussion, write the following words on the blackboard:


  • Agree
    • Disagree
  • Sense
    • Nonsense
  • Friendly
    • Unfriendly


  • Comfort
    • Comfortable
  • Fear
    • Fearless
  • Kind
    • Kindness

Next, ask students how both the prefixes and suffixes change the meanings of the words. Then go over the definitions of prefixes and suffixes.

  • Prefix - a group of letters that comes before a word that changes the meaning of the word.
    • Common prefixes include un-, multi-, over-, mis-, super-, dis-, re-, sub-, in-.
  • Suffix - A group of letters that come at the end of a word that changes the meaning of the word.
    • Common suffixes include -ish, -er, -est, -less, -ize/ise, -able.

Find the Affixes

This game will challenge your students to find prefixes and suffixes in common classroom texts.

  1. Divide students into small teams.
  2. Each team should have a copy of the same text (a textbook or novel will work well).
  3. Set a timer for 2 minutes and tell the teams tell find and write down as many words as possible that begin with the prefix un- or that end with the suffix -less. Teams should write down the page number of each word they find that meets the search criteria.
  4. When time is up, ask for one representative from each team to come up and write his or her team's answers on the board with the corresponding page number.
  5. As the students are writing on the board, each team should verify the words the other teams found by looking them up.
  6. After the representatives have finished writing on the board, teams can challenge any words other teams wrote which they think are incorrect or not on the right page.
  7. Award five points to the team(s) who found the most words, three points to the team(s) who found the second most words, and one point to the team(s) who found the third most words.
  8. Repeat these steps with the following prefix and suffix pairs.
  • multi-, -ish
  • over-, -est
  • mis-, -able

At the end of round four, tally the points and award the winning team(s) a prize.

How Many Words Do You Know?

To prepare for this activity you will need to write down the following prefixes and suffixes on pieces of paper (one prefix or suffix per paper) and put the pieces of paper into a hat or box.

  • Prefixes
    • anti-, de-, dis-, en-, fore-, in-, inter-, mid-, mis-, non-, over-, pre-, re-, semi-, sub-, super-, trans-, un-, under-.
  • Suffixes
    • -able, -ible, -ed, -est, -ic, -tion, -less, -ity, -ment, -ness, -ious.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account