Most English words are made up of smaller elements: roots, prefixes and suffixes. When you know the common ones, and how to combine them, you can understand hundreds of different words.

The majority of academic vocabulary (and a lot of everyday English), uses Latin roots, prefixes and suffixes. They are especially useful if you want to study at a university in an English-speaking country or to work with English-speaking colleagues (fellow professionals or business associates).

Knowing academic vocabulary is essential to scoring well on the TOEFL and Academic IELTS exams, especially their reading sections. One of the fastest ways to learn more vocabulary quickly is by studying common prefixes & roots. The lessons in this short course will give you a great introduction, and the bonus materials (all downloadable) will give you access to much more as you have time to study them.

This course is a very small investment of time and money now that can really pay off in the future. If you have any questions, feel free to email me, and I will help as much as I can.

Course Curriculum

  • 2

    Lesson 1: Learn & Practice Common Prefixes

    • Lesson 1- Common Prefixes

    • Common Prefixes: Practice Exercises

    • Bonus: alphabetical list of prefixes

    • Bonus: Greek and Latin Prefix List

  • 3

    Lesson 2 Choose the Best Prefixes for 8 Roots and Practice the root Cedere

    • Lesson 2: Choose prefixes & cedere

    • Choose the Best Prefix and Cedere Practice

    • Memory game instructions and cards

  • 4

    Lesson 3: Suffix Use

    • Lesson 3-Word Families & Suffix use

    • Word Families & Word-Building Suffixes

    • Bonus Word Building Practice with Suffixes

    • Bonus Suffix Vocabulary Practice

  • 5

    Lesson 4: Practice Negative Prefixes

    • Lesson 4: Negative Prefixes

    • Negative Prefix Practice

  • 6

    Lesson 5: 20 Important Roots Game

    • Lesson 5: 20 roots

    • Words from 20 Roots

    • Bonus practice- find words from 20 more roots

    • Bonus-- Words from Mittere

    • Bonus: Greek Roots-- Introduction and Practice

  • 7

    Lesson 6: Root & Affix Vocabulary Review

    • Lesson 6 Root and Affix Vocabulary Review

    • Vocabulary Practice Roots lesson 6

    • Root & Affix Meanings Crossword

    • Root & Affix Meanings Crossword Answers

  • 8

    Root and Affix Quiz and Survey

    • Root and Affix Quiz

    • Share your ideas for improving this course.

About the instructor


Catherine Simonton

I’ve been helping students learn English for nearly 20 years, though I've been fascinated by words and languages my whole life.

I learned how to study vocabulary while studying several languages including Latin (the source of so many roots of English words), Spanish, a little Portuguese (just reading), and some Chinese. That language study has been so enriching, as well as useful, that I want to help others get the same benefits from learning English!

While teaching adult ESL I saw the need for more reading and practice materials, especially for Intermediate students to study on their own. That’s one reason I started the EnglishHints website in 2011.

Reading a lot in English is so valuable for learning vocabulary and ways to express thoughts in English!

In fact, for almost anyone who wants to study or work using English, conversational English is not enough. That's why EnglishHints and the EnglishHints Academy include so much academic vocabulary and guided reading practice.

I hope these courses will help you become a more confident and effective English speaker!

P.S. You can reach me with any questions at

What others have been saying about this course:

5 star rating

A brief course which is well worth the time and money


For just about $2 per lesson and less than 6 hours altogether, you can get the edge in your English vocabulary building. From day-to-day English to high-fre...

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For just about $2 per lesson and less than 6 hours altogether, you can get the edge in your English vocabulary building. From day-to-day English to high-frequent academic words, mastering prefixes, suffixes and roots definitely helps you to recognise and memorise these words quickly and logically. This is an extremely useful skill during the timed reading test such as the Toefl and Ielts where sometimes you have to guess the unfamiliar words within half a minute. Also it helps to avoid common spelling mistakes we frequently make in the writing test and listening test (especially when you hear it right but spell it wrong on the IELTS answer sheet!). Whether reading magazines and newspapers for enjoyment or just for answering English language test questions efficiently and correctly, this course will certainly let you know the secrets of decoding many words without dictionaries!

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