Creative Writing - Vocabulary and language activities

Creative Writing

Understanding words

Prefixes and suffixes


A prefix is a letter or a group of letters attached to the beginning of a word (or word root) that partly indicates its meaning. For example, the word prefix itself begins with the prefix pre-, which generally means before or in front of.

We do need to be careful: the same prefix may be spelled in more than one way (pre- and pro-, for example). Some prefixes (such as in-) have more than one meaning (in this case, not and into). Being able to recognise prefixes can help us to build our vocabularies.

Common prefix resources:


A suffix is a letter or a group of letters attached to the end of a word to form a new word or to change the grammatical function (or part of speech) of the original word. Understanding the meanings of the common suffixes can help you to figure out the meanings of new words you encounter. As you work on building your vocabulary, keep these points in mind:

  • In some cases, the spelling of a root or base word changes when a suffix is added. For example, in words ending in y preceded by a consonant (such as the noun beauty and the adjective ugly), the y may change to an i when a suffix is added (as in the adjective beautiful and the noun ugliness);
  • Also, in words ending in silent -e (such as use and adore), the final -e may be dropped before a suffix that begins with a vowel (as in usable and adorable). As with all spelling rules, there are exceptions of course.

Common suffix resources:

Classroom Activity

When it comes to using descriptive words, variety is key. Challenge your pupils to come up with new ways to appeal to their reader's senses. Effective use of descriptive words will paint a vivid picture in the reader's mind and make the writing impossible to put down.

Blockbusters game

This generic blockbusters PowerPoint template with instructions can be adjusted to suit different topics, for example:

  • Genre;
  • Prefixes and Suffixes;
  • Character and Setting Vocabulary; and
  • Other Ways to Say Game – use the lists of words resource.

Other ways to say

Classroom Activity

The Other ways to say resource has been designed to be as flexible as possible. For pupils working at or below Level 3, you could provide lists of words and allow them to sort the words into groups that are similar.

The words are listed in groups so that you have one alternative for each of the lead words in each list. This way, you can control how many words individual pupils are being asked to work with at once.

Level 4 pupils should be able to work independently on this activity, but may not get as many examples of each word as pupils working at 5 and above.