English Word Skills Exercises for A2 – Negative adjective prefixes

1. Write the opposite of the adjectives by adding a negative prefix: dis-, il-, in- or un-.

1) satisfied ________

2) tidy ________

3) correct ________

4) legible ________

5) visible ________

6) kind ________

7) believable ________

8) polite ________

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1) dissatisfied   2) untidy   3) incorrect   4) illegible

5) invisible   6) unkind   7) unbelievable   8 impolite

2. Complete the text about illegal downloads. Use the adjectives in brackets with or without a negative prefix.

In the USA, around 200 million 1) illegal (legal) music downloads take place every year, in spite of laws to stop them. In the UK, the figure is about 100 million – the second highest in the world. The music industry complains that these downloads are 2) _____. (fair) to artists because they stop them earning money from their work. It is 3) _____. (possible) to know exactly how much money artists and record companies are losing because many people who download illegally do not have any money to spend. However, one thing is 4) _____. (certain): overall, the industry is earning a lot less than it earned a few years ago.

Record companies pay for adverts telling people that downloading music without paying is as 5) _____. (acceptable) and 6) _____. (honest) as stealing from a shop. If you’re a 7) _____. (loyal) fan, they suggest you buy a 8) _____. (legal) version of song or album from iTunes or another website. But the adverts are 9) _____. (likely) to work because people see the music industry as rich and powerful compared to them. Most do not see sharing music online as 10) _____. (responsible).

In fact, the number of illegal downloads is now going down, but that’s not because of the warnings. For people who are 11) _____. (patient) to hear the latest tracks, streaming services like Spotify now offer a simple and 12) _____. (safe) way to enjoy them without the need for downloads at all.

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2) unfair   3) impossible   4) certain   5) unacceptable

6) dishonest   7) loyal   8) legal   9) unlikely

10) irresponsible   11) impatient   12) safe

3. Complete the sentences with the adjectives below, with or without a negative prefix.

honest      legal      patient      polite      possible      safe

1) Police are investigating an ____________ file-sharing site in the Philippines.

2) It was very ____________ of him to arrive an hour late for dinner.

3) I get very ____________ if I have to wait more than a few minutes for a download.

4) You don’t have to pay before the excursion; it’s ____________ to pay at the end.

5) You mustn’t climb on that wall; it’s ____________

6) You can believe everything she tells you; she’s always completely ____________

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1) illegal   2) impolite   3) impatient   4) possible

5) unsafe   6) honest

4. Answer the questions below.

1) What is a synonym for caring? ____________

2) What is a synonym for considerate? ____________

3) Do both adjectives have antonyms beginning with a negative prefix? ____________

4) Which dictionary entry has information about which preposition you use with the adjective? ____________

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1) kind   2) thoughtful   3) yes   4) considerate


When you record a new adjective, make a note of synonyms and antonyms at the same time. Antonyms often begin with a negative prefix.

5. Read the Vocab boost! box. Use a dictionary to find one synonym and one antonym of each adjective.

1) pleasant         SYN ____________   OPP ____________

2) fortunate       SYN ____________   OPP ____________

3) courteous      SYN ____________   OPP ____________

4) probable        SYN ____________   OPP ____________

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(Possible answers)

1) enjoyable, unpleasant   2) lucky, unfortunate

3) polite, discourteous   4) almost certain, improbable

6. Complete the sentences choosing the correct word in brackets, using a negative prefix.

1) I can’t believe Sara was so ____________ about her plans. I had no idea that she wanted to do that. (believable / honest)

2) I’m sorry handwriting is so ________ I’m the only one who can read it. (legible / possible)

3) You can have strong opinions, but there’s no need to be ____________! (polite / legal)

4) It was ____________ of him to spend all the money in their bank account. (satisfied / responsible)

5) It’s ____________ to cross the road here. (safe / visible)

6) The director was so ____________ with the actors that he fired all of them. (correct / satisfied)

7) The film is about a man who becomes ____________ to everyone but his cat. (visible / legible)

8) It was totally ____________ to criticise her work in front of everyone in the office. (appropriate / patient)

9) Your bedroom is so ____________! There are books and clothes all over the floor! (kind / tidy)

Show answers

1) dishonest   2 illegible   3) impolite   4) irresponsible

5) unsafe   6) dissatisfied   7) invisible   8) inappropriate   9) untidy