Prefixes, un-, in- and dis-

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Prefixes, un-, in- and dis-

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Here is this weeks 6 Minute Vocabulary, all about prefixes. We can put prefixes at the beginning of some words to change their meaning. They are usually only a few letters long like these

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Finn Hello and welcome to 6 Minute Vocabulary - if you’re serious about vocabulary, we’ll show you how to learn it. I’m Finn…

Alice And I’m Alice. In today’s show we’re going to look at a very interesting area of vocabulary - prefixes.

Finn We’ll look at what they are, what they mean and how to use them.

Alice There’ll be a quiz…

Finn And we’ll leave you with a top tip for learning vocabulary.

Alice But before all that, we’re going to hear from Dave. He’s just got back from lunch, but he isn’t happy.

Finn Now, a question to think about while you listen: what was the problem with Dave’s food?

Alice What was the problem with Dave’s food? Let’s find out.

Example I just tried the new seafood restaurant, and I wish I hadn’t. It was intolerable ! To start with, my seat was really uncomfortable . I had no room to move. And the menu was very misleading . The photos looked nothing like the actual food. When my food came it was uncooked . I told the waiter, but he disagreed . He said it was fine. He said he’d eat it himself! And I looked in the kitchen - it was really unhygienic . There was food all over the floor. It was a disgrace !

Finn So Dave’s pretty unhappy. And what was wrong with his food?

Alice Well, he said that it was uncooked. It was cold and raw because it hadn’t been cooked.

Finn Not very nice! Well done if you got that right at home. Now, uncooked is an example of the vocabulary area we’re looking at today - prefixes.

Alice Yes: prefixes - or as some people say: prefixes. Prefixes, prefixes. A prefix is a small part of a word, usually just a couple of letters, that we put at the front of a base word to change its meaning. For example, the prefix un, spelt u-n, is added to happy, to make unhappy, which means not happy.

Finn And Dave was unhappy about the restaurant.

Alice Yes. He said the seats were uncomfortable - meaning not comfortable, and the kitchen was unhygienic, meaning unclean - not clean.

Finn So that’s un, meaning ‘not’ - and all today’s prefixes have the meaning of not. So, Dave said the meal was intolerable. Intolerable. In - spelt i-n - is another prefix that can mean not - and poor Dave couldn’t tolerate the meal. Now, let’s listen to a bit more of Dave.

Example …I told the waiter, but he disagreed . He said it was fine.

Finn The waiter disagreed with him about the food. The prefix dis, spelt d-i-s, means not, or ‘to do the opposite’, like disagree - to not agree.

Alice Yes, and Dave said it was a disgrace - they should be ashamed of it.

Finn Let’s hear today’s prefixes again.

Alice The first one was: un.

Finn Unhappy, uncooked, unhygienic, unclean.

Alice In.

Finn Intolerable, inexpensive.

Alice Dis.

Finn Disagree, disgrace.

IDENT You’re listening to bbclearningenglish.com

Finn And it’s time for a quiz. Try to work out the word that finishes the sentence. Ready? Number 1. The advert said that the phone was £5 a month, but it didn’t say anything about the £50 set-up fee. It was very… a) unhappy b) inexpensive c) misleading.

Alice The advert made people believe something that isn’t true, so it was very… c) misleading.

Finn Now number 2. This letter has come to the wrong house. There’s been a… a) mistake b) disgrace c) disagreement.

Alice It’s not correct so… a) mistake.

Finn Well done if you got those right.

Alice And that brings us almost to the end of today’s programme.

Finn Before we go, here’s today’s top tip for learning vocabulary: if you look up some of today’s words in a dictionary, you’ll find lots more words starting with the same prefixes. Many of them may be words that you already knew without the prefix. So, when you add a prefix, you get two words for the price of one!

Alice That’s brilliant. Sounds like a good way to quickly double your vocabulary. There’s more about this at bbclearningenglish.com. Join us again for more 6 Minute Vocabulary.

Both Bye!

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