English Word Skills Exercises for A2 – Prefixes

1. Complete the text with the prefixes below.

ex      micro      multi      over      sub      under

COLLEGE drop-out

James Cameron is one of Hollywood’s most successful directors. His 1) _______-award winning films include The Terminator, Titanic and Avatar. When he isn’t directing, he works as a scientist and explores the deepest parts of the ocean in a 2) _______marine. But he 3) _______achieved as a physics student, leaving university without a degree. After working as a lorry driver, he then worked in special effects before becoming a director. Some 4) _______-colleagues describe him as a difficult person to work with. However, others say that he is just a perfectionist who tries to 5) _______manage every aspect of his films and sometimes 6) _______reacts when things go wrong.

Show answers

1) multi-award   2) submarine   3) underachieved

4) ex-colleagues   5) micromanage   6) overreacts

2. Complete the sentences with the prefixes below.

co      mini      mis      multi      over      post      re      semi

1) day is ______-retired – he still works two or three mornings a week.

2) The company lost millions because of ______management at the highest level.

3) Six of ______-workers have lost their jobs in the past year.

4) last proper holiday from work was four years ago, although I’ve had a few ______-breaks.

5) If we can’t find the right person for the job, we’ll just have to ______-advertise.

6) She finished her university degree and then did a ______graduate qualification.

7) She never stops for lunch: she just drinks coffee and takes ______vitamin pills!

8) I don’t want to sound ______confident, but I’m sure I’ll be good at this job.

Show answers

1) semi-retired   2 mismanagement   3) co-workers

4) mini-breaks   5) re-advertise   6) postgraduate

7) multivitamin   8) overconfident

3. Complete the second sentence so that it means the same as the first. Use one word only, beginning with a prefix from exercise 1 or 2.

1) You cooked this meat for too long.

  You overcooked this meat.

2) Our team did not perform well enough last season.

 Our team ________. last season.

3) I met a former school friend in a café in town.

 I met an ________. in a café in town.

4) She’s an expert in history after World War II.

 She’s an expert in ________. history.

5) I’m sorry, I typed your name incorrectly.

 I’m sorry, I ________. your name.

6) They bought the house, but sold it again a year later.

  They bought the house, but ________. it a year later.

7) Ben Stiller wrote Zoolander with two other writers.

      Ben Stiller and two other writers ________. Zoolander.

Show answers

2) underperformed   3) ex-girlfriend   4) post-war

5) mistyped   6) resold   7) co-wrote


You can use mind maps for groups of words that are connected. Mind maps are particularly useful for people who have a visual memory.


4. Read the Vocab boost! box. Add these words and phrases to the mind-map for jobs

answer the phone      badly-paid      gardener      hairdresser

lorry driver      paramedic      programmer      receptionist

repetitive      serve customers      tiring      well-paid

Show answers

indoors : programmer, hairdresser, receptionist

activities : serve customers, answer the phone

outdoors : gardener, paramedic, lorry driver

describing : badly-paid, repetitive, tiring, well-paid

5. What are the sentences about? Add a prefix to the words in bold to make one word with the same meaning as the sentence.

1) He was her husband , but now he isn’t. ________.

2) We are workers in the same company. ________.

3) We took a small bus to the hotel. ________.

4) There is an extremely small processor in your phone. ________.

5) I hope they don’t interpret what I say in the wrong way. ________.

6) He is a great performer. He’s talented in many ways. ________.

7) We need to do this again – it isn’t right. ________.

8) Don’t work too much! ________.

Show answers

1) ex-husband   2) coworkers   3) mini-bus

4) microprocessor   5) misinterpret   6 multitalented

7) redo   8) overwork