Unlock The Power Of English Prefixes Ep 686

A photo of a happy smiling woman with long dark hair. Apply your newfound knowledge by thinking of words yourself, making the learning stick.

📝 Author: Hilary

📅 Published:

💬 3497 words ▪️ ⏳ Reading Time 18 min

📥 Download MP3 & PDF 12.6 Mb ▪️ 👓 Read Transcript ▪️ 🎧 Listen to Lesson

Ready To Save Time On Your English Language Learning?

Today we unveil the secret power of PREFIXES to unlock English fluency! Taught by the one and only Hilary from Adept English, this lesson gives you the inside track on how to accelerate your fluency and decipher unfamiliar words like a pro!

What's In Store For You:

  • 🎯 Learning the art of English Prefixes—from 'anti' to 'bi,' and all the goodies in between!
  • 🚀 Shortcut Your Learning with Adept English's seasoned 'Listen & Learn' approach.
  • 🌍 Understand how these tiny gems can be your global translators, especially if you speak a Latin or Greek-based language.
  • 🕒 Save Time & Hassle by learning fast and efficiently!

✔Lesson transcript: https://adeptenglish.com/lessons/learn-english-language-unlocking-vocabulary-prefix-guide/

Learning never exhausts the mind.
⭐ Leonardo da Vinci

Ever wondered why some words seem to roll off the tongue while others stump you? What if you could decipher unfamiliar English words as easily as unlocking a combination lock?

Welcome to Adept English’s eye-opening lesson on prefixes—a game-changing shortcut to understanding complex vocabulary. Guided by Hilary, an expert in making English easy, you'll discover how tiny fragments of words like "anti-" and "bi-" can reveal the whole picture. Don't miss out on this vital puzzle piece to fluent English. Tune in now!

The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.
⭐ Dr. Seuss, Children's Book Author

Time is precious, so why not take a shortcut? Our new lesson will accelerate your language journey! #LanguageShortcuts Dive deep into the nuances of British English with Adept English. Your path to #BritishEnglish fluency starts here. So, why get tangled in a web of confusing vocabulary? 👉 ACT NOW! And grab your seat for this one-of-a-kind English lesson! 🎓

More About This Lesson

Welcome to an Adept English lesson that's more than just learning words. It's a shortcut to English fluency, guided by Hilary, an expert in making English easy. Today, you're unlocking a secret tool: English prefixes like 'sub,' 'pre,' and 'bi.' Learn how these tiny word parts can help you understand complex vocabulary fast and make you a pro at English conversations.

Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
⭐ John Wooden, Basketball Coach

Things you will learn fluency to this English fluency lesson:, you will discover:

  1. Vocabulary Enhancement: The lesson covers prefixes like 'sub', 'pre', and 'post', giving you a solid vocabulary foundation.
  2. Word Comprehension: By explaining prefixes, it helps you decode new words, aiding in quicker language acquisition.
  3. Cultural Insight: The lesson uses British English and references UK motorways, immersing you in British culture.
  4. Understanding Nuances: Explains how a prefix can subtly change a word's meaning, enhancing your language depth.
  5. Latin and Greek Roots: Introduces you to word roots from Latin and Greek, broadening your linguistic understanding.
  6. Contextual Learning: Provides real-world examples like 'subway' and 'contraflow', aiding in word retention.
  7. Sentence Construction: The lesson touches on how prefixes and words form sentences, improving your grammar.
  8. Multi-language Relevance: If your native language has Latin or Greek roots, this lesson offers additional benefits.
  9. Listener Engagement: The podcast format allows you to listen repeatedly, fortifying your auditory learning.
  10. Shortcut Strategies: Helping you to learn English faster.

Benefits of our listen & learn approach to learning

Investing time in this lesson gives you more than just words; it gives you understanding and speed. You'll become an expert at understanding new words by knowing their prefixes. The best part? It works whether your native language has Latin roots or not. It's not just a lesson; it's your golden ticket to mastering English.

  • Unlock New Vocabulary: Mastering prefixes lets you decode new words effortlessly.
  • Save Time: Stop wasting hours on learning random words. Master the most common ones and take a shortcut to fluency.
  • For Everyone: This lesson is helpful, Latin-based language or not.
  • Beat the Complexity: If you think English is tough, this lesson simplifies it by breaking down words into easy-to-understand parts.
  • No Time Wasted: If you're worried about slow progress, this lesson speeds it up by teaching you learning shortcuts.
  • Reduce Miscommunication: Learn how to quickly understand new words and express yourself clearly.
The best way to predict your future is to create it.
⭐ Eleanor Roosevelt

Ready to speed up your English learning? Don't miss this chance. Tune in to this Adept English lesson, listen up, subscribe, and share. Your future fluent self will thank you.

Questions You Might Have...

Learning English prefixes with Adept English is like discovering a treasure map for language learning. Each prefix, be it 'sub,' 'pre,' or 'bi,' becomes a guiding star that illuminates the path to fluency. These small linguistic keys not only unlock the meanings of unfamiliar words but also supercharge your vocabulary. Like a skilled navigator using stars to chart a course, you'll swiftly sail through the vast seas of the English language, reaching your destination of fluency faster and more efficiently. Now, who's ready for an exhilarating linguistic adventure?

  1. What Are Prefixes in English and Why Are They Important? Prefixes are small units of language attached to the beginning of a word to alter its meaning. In English, prefixes like 'sub,' 'pre,' and 'bi' can act as linguistic shortcuts, helping you quickly understand unfamiliar words. They can accelerate your journey toward fluency in British English, as taught by Adept English.
  2. How Can Learning Prefixes Help Me Speak English Fluently? Learning prefixes empowers you to decode new vocabulary and make educated guesses about word meanings. This speeds up your language acquisition process and equips you with a versatile vocabulary, essential for fluency. As Adept English suggests, these are like "learning shortcuts" to get you speaking skilfully.
  3. Do All Prefixes Come from Latin or Greek? Most prefixes in English have Latin or Greek origins. For instance, 'sub' comes from Latin, meaning 'below,' while 'tele' is from Greek, meaning 'far.' Understanding the root language can add an extra layer of meaning and context to your learning journey. So, if you come from a Latin or Greek background, you have a leg up!
  4. Can Prefixes Be Misleading in English? Be cautious! Not all words that start with what looks like a prefix actually use it as such. Words like 'subject' or 'sublime' start with 'sub,' but here, 'sub' isn't a prefix. Adept English points out these "false friends" to help you fine-tune your language skills.
  5. Where Can I Practice Learning English Prefixes? Adept English offers a podcast specifically focused on mastering prefixes in English, amongst other bite-sized lessons. You can think of examples using the prefixes they cover and practice in a real-world context to strengthen your grasp. Always remember, immersion through listening is a robust learning tool.

Most Unusual Words:

  • Adept: Skilled or good at something.
  • Proficient: Good at doing something through practice.
  • Prefix: A piece of a word added at the beginning to change its meaning.
  • Suffix: A piece of a word added at the end to change its meaning.
  • Abstract: Not physical or real; related to ideas.
  • Subroutine: A set of computer code that does a smaller task.
  • Contraindication: A sign that you shouldn't take a certain medicine.
  • Telepathy: The ability to know what someone is thinking from far away.
  • Circumlocute: To talk in a way that avoids getting to the point.
  • Bipolar: Experiencing extreme highs and lows in mood.

Most Frequently Used Words:


Listen To The Audio Lesson Now

🎧 Apple
🎧 Spotify
🎧 Google
🎧 Amazon
🎧 Deezer
🎧 TuneIn
🎧 Stitcher
🎧 BluBrry
🎧 PodBean
🎧 PlayerFM
👁️‍🗨️ Twitter
👁️‍🗨️ Facebook
👁️‍🗨️ YouTube

Transcript: Unlock The Power Of English Prefixes

How about an English learning shortcut today?

Hi there. At Adept English our philosophy is simple but effective: Listen and Learn. By repeatedly listening to our content, you don't just absorb the language; you soak in British culture and accent as well. We make learning English easier, focusing on bite-sized lessons that have a big impact. What if you could speed up your learning by knowing just a few shortcuts?

Hello, I’m Hilary, and you’re listening to Adept English. We will help you to speak English fluently. All you have to do is listen. So start listening now and find out how it works.

’Adept’ learning means taking shortcuts where possible

The reason why we’re called ‘Adept’ English is that we try to help you be ‘adept’ in your learning. ‘Adept’ means ‘expert, skilful, proficient’. We aim to be ‘proficient at teaching’ and then you can be ‘skilful at learning’. And sometimes we offer you ‘learning shortcuts’. A ‘shortcut’, SHORTCUT means ‘a way of doing something more quickly’ - efficient teaching and learning, if you like. And by ‘learning shortcuts’ I mean pieces of learning that you would probably arrive at yourself in time - but if I point out these things to you - they make sense sooner, they make English easier and save you time. Our 'Most Common 500 Words Course' is an example of a huge ‘learning shortcut’! Knowing the most frequently used words can boost your understanding of the language, enabling you to leap forward and become fluent more quickly. And today, we're looking at English prefixes, as a shortcut to understanding unfamiliar words. These tiny parts of words can be your best friend in working out the meaning of new vocabulary!

Boost Your Learning With Adept English

What are prefixes?

So prefixes are like little signposts - once you know them, they’re a guide to the meaning of words. And if your own language is Latin-based like English, then you’ll have the advantage that you’ll know many of these from your own language. But if your language isn’t Latin-based, this podcast really will explain a few things and be a very worthwhile ‘learning shortcut’ for you.

So what is a prefix, PREFIX, first of all? Well, a prefix is something that goes on the front of a word. Like the ‘anti’ in ‘antiseptic’ or the ‘co’ in ‘co-operate’. And the prefix changes the meaning - sometimes making it opposite, like ‘septic’ and ‘antiseptic’ - and sometimes it just alters the meaning, it gives it a nuance, a slight difference - like the difference between ‘to operate’ and to ‘co-operate’. So you’ve probably guessed the meanings of those first two - ‘anti’ as a prefix means ‘against’. Here ‘septic’, SEPTIC means ‘infected’ and ‘antiseptic’ is the substance that you might use to stop infection. Another example of ‘anti’ would be ‘anti-malaria tablets’. And the prefix ‘co’, CO whether it’s in the verb ‘co-operate’ or in the noun ‘co-worker’ simply means ‘with’.


A photograph of smiling woman. Discover how prefixes from Latin and Greek can help you, no matter what your native language is.

©️ Adept English 2023

And suffixes?

And just for completeness here, I will also mention the word ‘suffix’, that’s SUFFIX. A ‘suffix’ is like a prefix, but it goes on the end of a word. So ‘ness’, NESS would be an example of a suffix. And this suffix shows you that the word is a noun and with the suffix ‘ness’, it’s usually an abstract noun. Like ‘illness’, ‘forgiveness’, ‘happiness’, ‘kindness’ or ‘fitness’.

Examples if prefixes worth learning

Back to prefixes. So most of these prefixes that we use in English are as I’ve said, Latin language based. But some of them are also Greek in origin - and you may well have either or both of these in your own language. Let’s run through some common ones and their meanings.

The prefix ‘sub’

‘Sub’, SUB as a prefix usually means ‘below’ or ‘coming from underneath’. So ‘sub’ can be a prefix for abstract nouns or adjectives - ‘suboptimal’ or ‘substandard’ - both mean ‘not as good as it should be’. But then you have ‘subway’, which is a very concrete noun - sometimes made of concrete - which is a passageway underneath a road. Or ‘submarine’ - meaning a vessel or ship that goes ‘underneath the sea’. And sometimes ‘sub’ means ‘a lesser one’ - like in words such as ‘subroutine’ or ‘subheading’. A ‘subroutine’ isn’t quite as important as a main routine. And usually that’s something that you come across in computer code - a ‘subroutine’. Or a ‘subheading’ in a document, it’s still a heading, but it’s not as important as the main heading.

It’s important to remember too - not all words which begin with the form of a prefix actually are that prefix. For example, there are many words in English which begin ‘sub’, but it’s not a prefix - like ‘sublime’ or ‘substance’ or ‘subject’. But knowing that there’s a possibility that ‘sub’ could mean ‘from beneath’ is still very useful and you will probably spot the difference.

The prefixes ‘pre’ and ‘post’

‘Pre’ and ‘post’ are prefixes worth learning. ‘Pre’ means ‘before - as in ‘prefix’ or ‘prehistory’ or ‘prehistoric’ or ‘premeditated’ - meaning ‘thought of beforehand’. And ‘post’ means ‘after’ or ‘afterwards’ - like in ‘post-mortem’ or ‘postscript’, ‘postpartum’ or ‘to postdate’. So a ‘post-mortem’ is Latin of course, and it means ‘that medical examination that happens after death’, usually to find out what someone died of. That’s a ‘post-mortem’. And ‘postpartum’ - means ‘after birth’. So both words again here are Latin. ‘Postscript’ - you might see ‘PS’ in someone’s email. That stands for ‘postscript’ and it means ‘after writing’ - they’ve added something as an afterthought - PS. And if you ‘postdate’ something - you purposefully put a date in the future, so that the document or the cheque isn’t valid until that date is reached. There are lots of other examples, but they’re just a few.

The prefix ‘contra’

Another prefix ‘contra’, CONTRA, as in ‘to contradict’ or ‘a contraflow’ or with drugs or medicines, you might hear the word ‘contraindication’, CONTRAINDICATION. So prefixes are often part of much longer words and they’re useful ‘cause it helps you understand them, unpack them. Otherwise, they can feel a bit overwhelming. Any idea on ‘contra’? Well, ‘contra’ usually means ‘against’. So the verb ‘to contradict’ means ‘to speak against’, ‘to express an opinion which is opposite to’. A ‘contraflow’ in English - CONTRAFLOW - this is a noun. And you’ll often meet ‘contraflows’ if you drive on the motorways in the UK. A ‘contraflow’ is often there where there are roadworks and one side of the road is closed and the traffic is flowing in both directions on the same side of the road - that’s a ‘contraflow’. It’s the traffic ‘flowing against itself’ you might say. And with drugs and medicines - a ‘contraindication’ means a sign that you should probably stop taking the drug, the medicine. It’s a sign or symptom ‘against the drug’, you could say - you’re having some kind of bad reaction. Another example of a word with the prefix ‘contra’ - ‘contraception’ meaning ‘things you might use to stop conception or pregnancy’.

The prefix ‘tele’

So far all the prefix examples that I’ve chosen have a Latin base. Let’s do a Greek prefix. What about ‘tele’, that’s TELE. When I give you examples like ‘telephone’, ‘telegraph’, ‘teleport’, ‘television’ - can you work out the meaning of the prefix ‘tele’? Well, it means ‘at a distance’. ‘Television’ means you can see things which are far away, ‘telephone’ means you can hear someone speak who is far away. In German, ‘fernsehen’ means ‘to watch TV’ - and it’s literally ‘to see far’. So if you think about words like ‘telekinesis’, that’s TELEKINESIS - that means ‘moving things that are far away’. Or ‘telepathy’, TELEPATHY means ‘feeling things which are far away’. Or even ‘telescope’ - meaning ‘seeing things which are far away’. English words are so much easier, once you’ve made this kind of connection, I think?

Learn English Fast Climate Change 🌍🔥 Vocabulary And Discussion

The prefix ‘circum’

What about the prefix ‘circum’, CIRCUM? You might ‘circumnavigate’, or you might be ‘circumspect’. Or you might even use the verb ‘to circumlocute’. Or what about ‘circumference’ or ‘circumstance’? What do they all have in common? Well, ‘circum’ means ‘around’ or ‘about’. So if you ‘circumnavigate’ you ‘navigate around’. If you are ‘circumspect’ as an adjective, you are very careful to take notice of what is going on around you. The word ‘circumference’, CIRCUMFERENCE - we use that in geometry - meaning ‘the distance around an object’ or ‘the distance around a circle’. And a ‘circumstance’ - means ‘the situation around you’, ‘the situation that surrounds someone or something’ - that is a ‘circumstance’. And ‘circumcision’ means literally ‘to cut around’ and if you ‘circumlocute’ it means ‘you talk around the subject’. Another way of saying ‘to circumlocute’ in English - ‘you beat about the bush’, you don’t get round to the point, you talk around it.

Download The Podcast Audio & Transcript

Solve The Maths Problem To Download Podcast & Transcript

The prefix ‘bi’

Last one - what about the prefix - ‘bi’, BI? It could be a bicycle, a bicentenary, a bisexual, a biped or someone who’s bipolar. And again, hundreds of words in English start with the letters BI, but a clue that the word is using the prefix ‘bi’ is the pronunciation with that long I and probably the stress on the syllable. Its meaning? Well, ‘bi’ indicates that there are two of something, in the meaning. So a ‘bicycle’ has two wheels - while a ‘tricycle’ has three. A ‘bicentenary’ means ‘a two century anniversary’, or ‘200 years since something happened’. For example, the National Gallery in London will celebrate its bicentenary in 2024. A ‘bisexual’ person experiences sexual attraction to both men and women, a ‘biped’ has two feet - not four like a dog or a cat, And if you are ‘bipolar’, BIPOLAR that means that ‘you experience two extremes or poles of mood’. You’re either very, very happy and high - or you’re in the depths of despair and feeling very depressed. If you know anyone with a diagnosis of bipolar - you’ll recognise that one.

OK. So we’ve covered the prefixes ‘sub’, ‘pre’, ‘post’,‘contra’, ‘tele’, ‘circum’ and ‘bi’. You see if you can think of words yourself that use these prefixes! And of course, beware those ‘false friends’ too - those words which begin with the same letters, but it’s not a prefix.


Let us know how you got on with this podcast - and whether you would like more ones like this.

Enough for now. Have a lovely day. Speak to you again soon. Goodbye.

Thank you so much for listening. Please help me tell others about this podcast by reviewing or rating it. And, please share it on social media. You can find more listening lessons and a free English course at adeptenglish.com




The voice of Adeptenglish, loves English and wants to help people who want to speak English fluently.
🔺Top of page

TAWK is Disabled

Created with the help of Zola and Bulma