What is a prefix?

A prefix is a small group or string of letters that can be attached to the start of a root word (or stem word). Prefixes are often thought of in conjunction with suffixes, which are small groups of letters that can be attached to the end of root words. For instance, the suffix ‘-able’ can be found in words like ‘comfortable’, ‘believable’, and ‘forgettable’.

What is the dis prefix?

While every prefix usually has its own impact on a root word, the dis prefix usually adds it turns the root word into the negative. For example, adding the dis prefix adds ‘not’ or ‘incorrectly’ to the root word. So, where does the dis prefix come from? The prefix ‘dis-‘comes from Latin, where it has the literal meaning ‘apart’ and is now commonly used to mean ‘opposite of’, ‘not’, ‘remove’ and ‘reverse’.

When applied to various parts of speech, meaning ‘ill’, ‘mistaken’, ‘wrong,’ ‘wrongly,’ ‘incorrectly,’ or simply negating. For example, mistrial, misprint, and mistrust.

Examples of the dis prefix in a sentence

Here are some examples of how you can include the dis prefix.

  1. Appear vs Disappear

The sun appears over the sea in the morning and disappears behind the mountains in the evening.

  1. Obey vs Disobey

The children disobey their teacher; they never do what he says. It’s only when they get older that they learn to obey.

  1. Advantage vs Disadvantage

Not being able to speak English can be a disadvantage. To get a good job, English is an advantage.

  1. Connected vs Disconnected

Sarah’s computer was connected to the internet, but then the signal was down, and she got disconnected.

Try out the dis prefix for yourself – Fill in the prefix gap!

Now that we know a little more about the dis prefix, try asking your students to fill in the gaps in these sentences with a dis prefix word.

  • Where did Sam ___ to? He was here a moment ago!
  • It’s usual for a kitten to ___ its owner. Be patient
  • Don’t___ your students; it will demotivate them.
  • Stealing is ___. Now be honest with me, did you take the CD?
  • The children ___ their teacher; they never do what he says. It’s only when they get older that they learn to obey.

What words have the dis prefix??

So, now we have seen some examples of sentences with the dis prefix; what words have the dis prefix? Use these words and see what sentences your students can write for themselves

  • Dislike – ‘Matt disliked strawberry ice cream; he preferred chocolate.’
  • Disappear – ‘Click the box again, and it will disappear.’
  • Disagree – ‘They often disagree on what to do that day.’
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