Part 1: Revisit, explain, use

These whole-class approaches and activities can help children re-examine and remember how different suffixes can be used and how they can form plurals and change the tense of words. They can also be used to introduce the prefix un-, establish its meaning and explain how it can be used.

  • Revise the term suffix and invite examples (e.g. plurals – boys, past tense – walked, present tense – running, adjectives – funny, beautiful, painless).
  • Confirm with the children that a suffix is added to the end of a word to change it from present tense to past tense, from singular to plural, from noun to adjective and that this sometimes means changing the spelling of the word.


Write pairs of words using the prefix un- in random order on the whiteboard. (e.g. happy – unhappy, well – unwell, tidy – untidy).

  • Ask the children to say what adding un- before the word has done to the meaning of the word.
  • Invite the children to give pairs of sentences, using the pairs of words (e.g. I am happy when I go swimming. I am unhappy when I’m in trouble).
  • Explain to the children that un- is called a prefix and comes before a word to change its meaning.
  • Ask the children what the meaning of un- before a word could be. Establish un- means not.