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The Prefix DIS-: A FREE Morphology Lesson

Cate O'Donnell

3 min read

Dec 12, 2023

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Morphology is a powerful tool for teaching older students both decoding longer words and understanding new vocabulary words. We use the prefix dis- to change the meaning of a word. The prefix dis- makes a word mean the opposite of the base word. We only use the prefix dis- with verbs, adjectives, and nouns. However, nouns are far less common than verbs and adjectives.

Also, the prefix dis- can mean “apart.” We usually use this meaning when we are working with roots that are not base words by themselves. We will explore words with this use of the dis- prefix when we work with Greek and Latin roots.



prefix dis example of disorganized


Luckily, we can add prefixes to base words without changing the spelling of the base word.

In this lesson, you will teach students many things.


  1. prefixes come at the beginning of words

  2. prefixes change the meaning of a word

  3. prefixes are not words, but they are units of meaning

  4. we use the prefix dis- to mean the opposite of the base word

  5. we only use the prefix dis- with verbs, adjectives, and nouns


It is helpful for students to know the parts of speech as they work on morphology. If your students need to work on parts of speech, I highly recommend this writing program. It teaches writing complete sentences based on parts of speech. If you need to, you can even use these two programs at the same time.


writing complete sentences




Teaching the Prefix DIS-

To teach your students about the prefix dis-, display the presentation below. You can access the presentation from this website for free. You can also purchase the slideshow for use at school.




Since prefixes do not change the spelling of the base words, I recommend focusing on the meaning of the words by having students write or say sentences.


  1. You display a base word from the presentation.

  2. Students write the word with the dis- prefix in their writing notebooks or on a whiteboard.

  3. You display the words with the prefix dis- from the presentation (the next slide).

  4. Students say or write a sentence using the base word. Then, say or write a different sentence using the word with the prefix.


This is a spiral review lesson. On day one, your students will learn how to add the prefix dis- to verbs. On day two, your students will learn how to add the prefix dis- to adjectives and review verbs. On day three students will learn how to add the prefix dis- to nouns and review verbs and adjectives. The next two days are review practice. You also get 25 mixed review practice slides to use later in the year.


Check out this list of words with the prefix. You can use this list to build your own activities for your classroom. You can also get a printable .pdf!


prefix dis word list


More Morphology Practice

Do you love this lesson? You can access all of the morphology lessons for FREE on this website! You can also purchase the presentations!


Base Words

The Suffixes -S and -ES

The Suffix -ING

The Suffix -ER for Comparative Adjectives

The Suffix -EST for Superlative Adjectives

The Suffix -ER for Someone Who

The Suffix -ED for Past Tense Verbs

The Prefix UN- MEANING OPPOSITE OR NOT

The Prefix RE- MEANING AGAIN

The Prefix DIS- 

THE Suffixes -ER and -OR MEANING A PERSON WHO

The Prefix IN- Meaning Not

The Suffix -FUL Meaning Full Of

The Suffix -LESS Meaning Without

The Suffix -Y Meaning What Something is Like

The Suffix -LY Meaning How an Action is Done

The Prefix UNDER

The Prefix OVER

The Prefix NON

The Prefix PRE

The Prefixes BI/DI

The Prefix TRI

The Prefix QUAD

The Prefix OCT

THE SUFFIX ION

THE SUFFIX NESS

The Prefix SEMI

The Prefix SUPER

The Prefix MULTI

The Prefix POLY

The Prefix TELE

The Prefix MID

The Prefix MIS

The Prefix INTER

The Prefix DECA/DECI

The Prefix KILO

The Prefix SUB

The Prefix MILLI/MILLE




prefix dis

#dis #morphology

Cate O'Donnell

3 min read

Dec 12, 2023

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0

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