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Ken Lackman & Associates


Educational Consultants

Word Formation
Games
Preapwork
f or
Activities
with Prefixes and Suffixes
Teaching Writing
Ken Lackman

Methods and activities for more effective teaching with less preparation

Word Formation Games

Contents
2
3
5
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7
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8
8
9
10
12
12
14
15
17
18

Introduction
Suggested Teaching Approach
Activities
Guess the Affixed Word
Papers on Walls
Categorizing Suffixes on the Board
Four Walls
Circle Brainstorm
FCE-style Gap Fill
Word formation Scavenger Hunt
Jeopardy
Word Building Card Game
Word Formation Family Feud
Guess the Affix
Bibliography
Appendix
Copyright Ken Lackman 2010. This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is granted for this material to be
shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyright statement appears on the reproduced materials
and notice is given that the copying is by permission of the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written
permission from the author.

Word Formation Games

Introduction
Affixation is the process of adding suffixes and prefixes to a base to change
the meaning of the word and/or change it to another part of speech.
Prefixes primarily affect the meaning of a word, the most common being the
ones which form opposites, like -un, -in, -im, -il, -ir, etc. However, in this
group are also those which add more specific meaning, like -de, which can
indicate the removal of something (de-ice, destabilize, dehydrate, etc.) and
-mis, which refers to things which are done wrongly or badly (miscalculate,
misquote, misuse, etc.). In addition, there are numerous prefixes with
specific connotation (-bi = two, -co = with, -pre = before, etc.)
Suffixes, on the other hand, primarily classify words. There are two types of
suffixes, inflectional suffixes, which denote the words grammatical function,
(-s indicates plural, -est, the superlative, -ed, -past tense and participles)
and derivational suffixes, which classify the part of speech. For example,
the suffix -al turns nouns into adjectives (accidental, regional, musical, etc.)
and ion changes verbs into nouns (action, creation, exhibition, etc.).
However, in this group there are still some that impart some semantic
notion, like er and or which form nouns to refer to people (actor,
drummer, etc.) and others like ence, which form nouns which refer to the
action, state or process connected to the original verb (insistence,
correspondence, preference). Then there are suffixes whose semantic
contribution is much more obvious, like -less, indicating the lack of
something (careless, endless, flawless) and proof, which indicates
protection against something (waterproof, foolproof, soundproof).
From the students perspective, affixation is a valuable aspect of English to
understand and use. Attention to meaning, even if its merely recognizing
the part of speech of an affixed word, will lead to improved receptive skills,
while understanding structural patterns would enhance production. Most, if
not all, students would agree that expanding their lexicon is a priority.
Affixation provides a relatively easy way of achieving that. The following
example, taken from an upper-intermediate class, shows the lengths that a
student had to go to because he lacked a relatively simple affixed word to
express a concept he was trying to describe. Had he known the affixed
word, outnumbered, he could have expressed himself a lot more clearly
and efficiently.
The Polish Army had only 4,000 soldiers. The Swedes were 10,000. There
were too many of the Swedes. But the Polish Army won the battle.

Word Formation Games

Suggested Teaching Approach


A systematic approach, especially in regards to the form and meaning of
affixed words and their interrelationship, would aid students both receptively
and productively. Although there are a limited number of rules for affixation,
there are many patterns and raising student awareness of these patterns
will help them understand affixed words when they come across them and
also help them create them by applying appropriate prefixes and suffixes to
root words.
Michael Lewis, in Implementing the Lexical Approach, said that ...it is
easier to remember patterns than random lists...we recognise wholes to be
broken down, not parts to be built up.(1998:56) The application of the
strategy that the Lexical Approach takes to semi-fixed expression could
provide a suitable system for teaching affixation. Consider the following
sample from Implementing the Lexical Approach:
Could you pass the ...., please?
The expression with the slot unfilled still carries clear meaning and filling the
slot reveals similarity among the items. Once we fill it, we realize that the
items we have chosen are all likely to belong on a dining table (salt, butter,
wine, etc.) Similarly, we could do the same sort of thing with affixation.
inform
pronounce
mis read
quote
hear
-mis + verb = to do wrongly or badly (verb)

believe
predict
un fathom
imagine
think

able

-un + verb + able = you cant do it (adjective)

In both the above cases the item(s) that are fixed carry some meaning and
the slot fillers are words that are similar. This is not to say that all words that
could fill the slots would bear similarity (consider misadventure, misgiving)
but that certain patterns can be established. Also, it is not necessary,
although perhaps preferable, that the fixed elements always carry meaning.
Although McCarthy suggests the teaching value of ...isolating a small
group of highly productive prefixes or suffixes, he also refers to research
that maintains that the general shape of the incoming word is important,
not every minute contour of its make-up. He points out that awareness of
the im___ly structure aids speakers in producing words like the following:
immediately, impossibly, impatiently, imperviously (1996:5,35).

Word Formation Games


Gairns and Redman assert that for lower level students...the best policy is
to treat the derivatives as individual items and teach those which are most
important for their productive (or receptive) vocabulary. (1996:49) However,
affixation which occurs in high frequency words at their level should be
explicitly pointed out. Using the example mentioned above, it wouldnt be
difficult to mention that the prefix -im creates the opposite of possible and is
stronger than not possible. Not only should this be corrected to avoid
fossilization, but low level students should be encouraged to use simple
affixes and discouraged from going around them, hence opening them up to
acquiring more affixes. McCarthy points out that the suffixes er and or are
highly productive as they can be attached to a large number of words and
lower level students can be made aware of the concept of affixation with
simple examples of this (write/writer, act/actor, read/reader, etc.)
(1996:100) Generally, the exercise which appears in the Headway
Elementary workbook, where students are asked to form nouns with ion
from given verbs and vice-versa, is a good example of an easy low-level
activity which will familiarize students the form and function of affixes.
For levels above elementary, affixation should be dealt with by highlighting
the affix and looking at groups of words which can be fit into the slot next to
it/them. Keeping to Michael Lewiss restriction of 5 frame fillers is a good
idea as it is a sufficiently low enough number to allow for selection of words
of similar nature. Once this pattern has been established, it would be a
good idea to let the students to pick out other words which fit the model
orthographically, phonologically or semantically. This could be done
receptively (listening or reading text) or they could be given lists of words
which they would have to sort according to their potential to fit into slots
provided by the teacher. For example, recognize would be more likely to fit
into the un______ able slot than to the one next to over__________. The
point is that students recognize the patterns.
A useful production activity could be to have the students use selected
groups of affixed words in context in a piece of writing. A collaborative effort
would be more likely to produce discussion about the correct use of the
particular items. For more communicative speaking practice, a pair of
students could try to use affixed words from a list in a conversation, with
production being monitored by another student.

Word Formation Games

Activities
Guess the
Affixed Word

Speaking
Vocabulary

Listening
Grammar

Reading
Pronunciation

Writing
Warmer/Icebreaker

A simple activity would be to have the student - once they were introduced
to an affixation pattern - think of a situation in which they could apply a word
from that pattern and then they would explain the situation, without the
word, to a partner who would have to apply the word to it. For example, if
the un_______able structure was being featured, a student might tell
another about seeing a friend in a costume and not realizing who it was.
The intention would be that the partner would say the friend was
'unrecognizable'. Students can quiz each other this way and they get a
point for each affixed word that is guessed correctly. The game could also
be played in threes, where one student gives the clue and the other two
compete to see how can say it first. This concept is observable in the game
below, where each student would be give a strip with a gap fill and they
have to mingle and say their sentence with a gap to another student, who
would then have to figure out the affixed word that belongs in the gap.

Fill in the spaces with a negative adjective. The negative prefixes are dis, im, in, ir and un.
1. He never agrees with anyone. He is very _______________________able.
2. He and his brother are never separate. They are ______________________able.
3. I cannot use that old computer. It is ________________________able.
4. I wouldnt advise you go there. Going there is _________________________able.
5. They are so different you cant compare them. They are __________________able.
6. You cannot escape the truth. The truth is _____________________able.
7. Nobody loves him. He is ______________________able.
8. Her company never makes a profit. The company is _______________________able.
9. You cannot move that heavy object. It is _______________________able.
10. You cannot break that glass. It is _________________________able.
Samples from guessing game with neg. prefix______able First Choice B2, Cornelsen, 2009

Word Formation Games

The above activity could be made more challenging for students by not
mentioning the root word in the clue and instead by using synonyms or
other words to get the same meaning across. For example:

1. He always argues with anyone. He is very _______________________able.


2. He and his brother are never apart. They are ______________________able.
And the above version of the activity could be simplified by only using the
same negative prefix. Consider the example below, which could be used by
learners at a lower level to elicit the words unhappy and unlike.

1. He is very sad. He is very un _______________________.


2. He is not the same as his brother. He is un ______________________ his brother.

Card version

Cards could be made for a game where the students could just turn over a
card with a clue and the answer. They would give the clue to the other
student(s) they would be playing against who would have to guess the
affixed word on the card. Cards could be prepared by the teacher or by
groups of students for other groups of students to use. Words with prefixes
can easily be located in a dictionary while words with the same suffix can
be found at http://onelook.com/. Type in an asterisk and then your suffix
(e.g., *ment) and then hit SEARCH. Then hit COMMON WORDS only.
This word is used to
describe the caps that
drug manufacturers put
on bottles so children
cannot open them.

This word is used to


describe the process of
treating metal so it will
not decay.

childproof
This word is used for
material that has been
treated so it will not
burn.

This word is used to


describe glass which
has been specially
made not to break
into small little
pieces on impact.
rustproof
Shatterproof

This word is used to


describe something that
is designed to survive
bad weather in general.

fireproof

This word is used to


describe a something
that has been treated
so liquids will not go
through it.

weatherproof
leakproof

Sample cards for guessing game from First Choice A2, Cornelsen, 2009

Word Formation Games

Papers on
Walls

Speaking
Vocabulary

Listening
Grammar

Reading
Pronunciation

Writing
Warmer/Icebreaker

This is a really useful activity to find out what students already know and to
get them familiarized with common affixes and certain affixed words. It can
It can be a great warmer for any lesson featuring affixed words. To prepare
for the activity, decide on which affixes you want to deal with (all prefixes,
all suffixes, a mixture of both, negative prefixes, etc.). Write each affix on
top of a sheet of paper and spread the papers out on the walls of the
classroom. You should have at least 6 different affixes/papers. Divide the
students into pairs or small groups and give each team a different coloured
marker. Explain that when you say to start, they will write some examples of
words on each sheet that feature the affix written on the top. The only rules
are they cannot write one that is on the sheet already and they cant write
two in a row in their colour (so that they dont just stand at one sheet). In
the end, whoever has contributed the most words, wins. Give teams a
minute to discuss their strategy (Ive seen students throwing the marker
around the room) then tell them to start. When theyve finished, eliminate
the incorrect words, provide explanation of others, if necessary, and have
each group total up their contributions to determine the winning team.
Alternate version

Categorizing
Suffixes on the
Board

Have enough sheets with affixes on them for every team in the class. Post
them on the walls. Each team has a different coloured marker. Tell each
team to start in front of a different sheet on the wall. When you say to start,
they race to write an affixed word on each sheet in succession (in a
clockwise direction) and the first team to finish all of the sheets wins. You
can have teams play for second and third place also.
Speaking

Listening

Reading

Writing

Vocabulary

Grammar

Pronunciation

Warmer/Icebreaker

This is a good game for getting students familiar with suffixes used to
create the different parts of speech. To prepare youll need a sheet of
words with common suffixes relative to the students level. There is a
sample sheet in the appendices that can be used with students who are
intermediate and above. Slice the sheet of paper up into individual words
and put them on your desk. Put a box or similar container next to them for
the ones that students finish with. Then divide the board up into four
columns, labeled VERBS, NOUNS, ADJECTIVES and ADVERBS. Put
students into pairs or threes and give each one a different coloured board
marker. Students then race to take a word from your desk, write it in the
correct column and then discard it in the box and take another. When they
are finished with all the words, erase and rewrite the ones on the board that
are in the wrong columns and have each team then count up how many
they did correctly to determine a winner.
In the next phase of this activity, students should work in their pairs/threes
and make a list in their notebooks of the suffixes in each part-of-speech
category. Then they should make some conclusions, with your guidance,

Word Formation Games


about the suffixes, e.g., ness is the most popular noun suffix, ly is really
the only adverb suffix, al can be used for adjectives and nouns and there
are relatively few verb suffixes, other than ed and ing, which, of course,
are used for adjectives also.

Four Walls

Speaking
Vocabulary

Listening
Grammar

Reading
Pronunciation

Writing
Warmer/Icebreaker

This is a very simple game that can be used as a warmer and a review of
suffixes used for different parts of speech. To prepare, you need four
sheets of paper labeled with the four main parts of speech and you need a
list of words with suffixes. You can use words that the students have dealt
with already or, if you want to make it more challenging, you can use new
words. Its possible to use words they are unfamiliar with as long as long as
they end in a suffix that would determine its part of speech. You could even
throw in words that could be more than one part of speech like professional
or acting. Just before you start the activity, you need to post each part-ofspeech sheet on a wall in the classroom. Then ask the students to stand up
and when you say a word from the list, they have to move to the wall
representing the part of speech it is. Let them know if they are correct.
Continue with other words.

Circle
Brainstorm

Speaking
Vocabulary

Listening
Grammar

Reading
Pronunciation

Writing
Warmer/Icebreaker

This is a brainstorming game is useful because it encourages students to


experiment with adding suffixes and prefixes. Students are in small groups
and sit in circles. The object is to go around the circle with each person
saying an affixed word which connects to the one before it. Every time a
word is added it should be written on the paper so it can be checked later
by the teacher. The group will be awarded a point for each correct word.
The game can be played in different ways determined by the way each
word connects to the one before it. The simplest way is to have the
students brainstorm all the words they know with the same affix. The list
below provides an example of words ending with ness:

happiness
sadness
darkness
illness
fitness

For higher level classes you can make the game more challenging by
having them alternate between matching affixes and matching the root
word. Following is an example:

Word Formation Games

information
organization
disorganized
disapprove
approval
professional

(suffix matched)
(root matched)
(prefix matched)
(root matched)
(suffix matched)

Alternately, you can allow them to match any part of the word. Example
below:
information
education
organization
organizer
player
replay
To make this game more challenging, disallow using ed and ing as
affixes. Make sure students that realize that in order to keep the game
going, if they cant think of a word, they should make one up. This is a very
useful activity because it encourages students to speculate by using their
basic knowledge of affixation to create affixed words that they are unsure
of.

FCE-style
Gap Fill

Speaking

Listening

Reading

Writing

Vocabulary

Grammar

Pronunciation

Warmer/Icebreaker

This activity is based on an a section of the Cambridge FCE and CAE


exams where the students are given a gapped text and root words which
have to be changed by adding suffixes or prefixes in order to properly fit in
the gap. The strategy students should use for this is to read the text first
and consider, using the context, which part of speech goes in each gap.
Teachers can train them to look for context clues like a gap after an article
(likely indicating a noun), a gap before a noun (likely an adjective), etc.
Once they have done that, they think of some common prefixes or suffixes
and try them with the root words to see if they sound right. Its always a
good idea to encourage students to take guesses even if they end up being
wrong, as thats how they will learn.

For many people punctuality is a big issue. Parents are often


keen to impress upon their children the ____________(1) of being
punctual because they see it as an aspect of ____________(2) and
consideration for others. It is also a quality that ____________(3)
regard as very positive, and those who are _____________(4) unpunctual
may end up being ____________(5) in their careers as a result
Sample with first 5 gaps from an FCE test

IMPORTANT
POLITE
EMPLOY
USUAL
SUCCESS

Word Formation Games

A great way to use this in class is to get students to write the gap-fill
exercises themselves. This not only saves the teacher lots of work but it
gives the students writing practice and a chance to attach affixes to words
and then work them into a context. Then, of course, once theyve written
the exercises, they can switch with other students and get practice filling in
the gaps. A good way to prepare students for this is to put them in pairs and
give each pair list of 5 or 10 root words, depending on how long a text you
want them to create. You can use the list in the appendices for this (page
20). Then students work in pairs and have to contextualize the root words
in different forms in a text. They can write about anything they want as
long as they can fit the words in. They use dictionaries to help them change
the form of the word and they write the root word in the margin and number
the gaps just like in the sample above. Students should write the exercises
on sheets of paper and when they are finished, they write their names on it
and hand it to you. When all students are finished put their papers in a pile
and start a race to see who can do the most gap fills correctly. Each pair
comes up at takes a paper. They cannot write on the papers so they must
write their affixed words in their notebooks instead. When they theyve
chosen an affixed word for each gap, they check with the team who wrote it
to see if they got them correct and they award themselves a point for each
correct affixed word. Then they take another paper and continue. When I do
this, I also write one which I contribute to the pile (with my name on it). This
ensures that there is always an extra exercise available for students to do.

Word
Formation
Scavenger
Hunt

Speaking
Vocabulary

Listening
Grammar

Reading
Pronunciation

Writing
Warmer/Icebreaker

This activity is unusual because it is a competitive game that involves


receptive skills rather than productive ones. You can use this game with
any text that is appropriate to the students level, i.e., at their level or even
above it. Students are given a checklist of certain types of affixed words
and they go over a text and try to find examples of each one. Ones that are
rarer or more difficult to find or categorize can be assigned higher point
values. You can write the scavenger list based on the affixed words that
you find in a certain text or you can use a general, all-purpose one as the
fact that some items may not appear in the text makes it even more
challenging for students. An example of a scavenger hunt list is below.

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Word Formation Games

CATEGORY

POINT
VALUE

a noun with a suffix

an verb with a suffix (not with


ed or ing)

25

an adjective with a suffix

an adverb with a suffix

an adverb of opinion

a word with a negative prefix

a prefix that has a specific


meaning (not just to negate)
a word with a negative prefix
with a positive meaning
a noun formed from an
adjective
a noun formed from a verb
a verb formed from an
adjective
an adjective formed from a
noun
an adjective formed from a
verb
an adverb formed from an
adjective

WORD 1

LINE
TOTAL

WORD 2

15
25
10
10
20
10
10
2
Total
To play this game, put students in pairs or threes and give each group a
copy of the text you have chosen and a copy of the scavenger list. They
work together and scan the text to find as many of the items as they can.
End the hunt and elicit the examples in each category to make sure they
are correct. After students have eliminated their wrong answers, get each
group to total their score to determine the winners. Note that you can
choose to have more than two columns for each category.

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Word Formation Games

Jeopardy

Speaking
Vocabulary

Listening
Grammar

Reading
Pronunciation

Writing
Warmer/Icebreaker

This game is fun and a great way to get students familiar with the meaning
and/or use of affixes and the types of words that go with them. You can
create your own games or you can use the ones included in the appendices.
If you are creating a game for suffixes, you may want to use
http://onelook.com/. Type in an asterisk and then your suffix (e.g., *ment)
and then hit SEARCH. Then hit COMMON WORDS only (under SEARCH).
But the best idea is to have your students create the game. Decide how
many categories (affixes) you are going to have and put students into small
groups and give them each one category (or two, depending on the number
of groups you have relative to the number of categories). Then using the
dictionary, they look up five (or three, if you want to create a quicker game)
words with the same affix, write the clues and arrange them in order of
difficulty. Once all students have done that, draw the game grid on the board
with columns for each affix (write the affix on the top) and then rows below
with the dollar amounts (100, 200, 300, etc.). Then one team starts and
picks any category other than their own. Then erase the dollar value for that
square. The team that wrote that category gives them the clue in the dollar
range they indicated. If they get it right, write the answer in the square and
write their points on the board, beside the team name. Continue in this way.

Word Building
Card Game

Speaking
Vocabulary

Listening
Grammar

Reading
Pronunciation

Writing
Warmer/Icebreaker

This is a fun and challenging game that familiarizes students with the most
common affixes and common root words that go with them. It provides an
excellent opportunity for student to use their knowledge and make educated
guesses about the formation of words. This game is probably best suited to
students at intermediate level and up. There are two versions of the game,
Game 1 which is fairly simple to understand and play and Game 2, which is
a bit more complicated but a lot more challenging and fun. The cards are on
photocopiable sheets in the appendices.
Game 1

Arrange students in groups of 3 to 6 players. You will need more than one
deck for larger classes unless you want to have students play as a pair.
One student is the judge and takes the set of cards with all the affixed
words on them. The judge places the cards with the affixed words in front of
him/her. The student to the left of the judge is the dealer. The dealer deals
four cards to each player. Each player chooses their worst card and passes
it face down to the player on the right, who then picks it up and adds it to
their hand. The dealer then puts a card down in the centre of the table. Next
player puts down another card on top of it to form a word by combining
either of the two words on the first card with a suffix /prefix on his/her card
or vice versa, meaning they combine the affix on the card in the centre with
either of the two words on their card. The judge checks the word on the
Judges Cards and if the word is legitimate, the student uses that word in a
sentence. Play continues to the left in the same way. If a player cannot

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Word Formation Games

play, he/she places a card face down in front of his/herself. Once all cards
have been played, each player counts the cards they placed face down in
front of them and that number is subtracted from 4 (total number of cards
they started with) to give them the final score for that round. The scores for
each player are written on a score sheet. For the subsequent rounds, all
cards are collected and shuffled and the judge and dealer roles move one
player to the left.
Note: any word which uses the root card and a suffix/prefix card is allowed.
Thus, the profess card is combinable with al to form professional even
if the player does not have the ion card. The winner of the game is the
one with the highest score at the end.
Game 2

Arrange students in groups of 3 to 6 players. You will need more than one
deck for larger classes unless you want to have students play as a pair.
One student is the judge and takes the set of cards with all the affixed
words on them. The judge places the cards with the affixed words in front of
him/her. The player to the left of the judge is the dealer. The dealer deals 4
cards to each player, puts the pile in the centre and then picks up the top
card from the pile and adds it to his/her hand. Dealer then chooses one
card from his/her hand and puts it in the centre. Play moves to the left as
players must use the prefix/suffix on that card to form words with one of the
two words on their cards. Each card is played on top of the first card so that
the affix on the first card remains visible and is always the one that is
played upon. If a player cannot combine a word from one of his/her cards,
they place one of their cards upside down on the pile, still allowing the
original affix on the first card to show. Judge determines legitimacy of each
word and each player uses it in a sentence. The dealer plays last card. The
last card played face-up takes the trick, meaning that all cards in played in
that round are given to the last player to successfully form an affixed word.
The winner of each trick starts play again by picking a card from the pile
and choosing a card to start with. Tricks taken are totaled at the end of
each round and each players points are written down. The maximum score
will be 4. Then dealer and judge roles move to the left. Tricks where no
cards are played face-up are not won by anyone and are placed to one
side. The object of this game is to take as many tricks as you can while you
are dealer and to steal as many from other dealers when you are not
Another wrinkle you can add to this game is to ask the judge to write down
the sentences used by the players. This way you can check them for
accuracy after the game and take up any wrongly used words with the
class.

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Word Formation Games

Word
Formation
Family Feud

Speaking
Vocabulary

Listening
Grammar

Reading
Pronunciation

Writing
Warmer/Icebreaker

This activity is based on the popular game show where there are two teams
(usually two families) who each take turns trying to guess all the items in a
certain category (e.g., fruits that begin with O). In this version, there are
two teams and the teams try to name all the common affixed forms of a
certain root word. What the common forms actually are, is up to you. What
you need to do to prepare for this game is to choose a group of root words
you can use the Judges cards from Word Building Card Game, if youd
like. Usually a round of play with one word takes around 5 minutes so that
will determine how many words you will need when you do it in class. Then
you select your root words and choose a group of at least 4 affixed forms
for each that you feel your students should know or learn, e.g., excite,
excitement, exciting, excited, excitedly, excitable, unexciting.
To play the game in class, divide the students into two teams. For large
classes, you can go with three. Write the list of root words on the board.
One team decides to go first and they choose one of the root words to
attempt. Then list on the board the part of speech of each affixed word for
the root word. Below is the example for excite (including excite itself):
V
N
Adj/V
Adj/V
Adv
Adj
Adj
Then the team members guess one word each, in turn, that might go with
any of the parts of speech listed on the board. If the first member guesses
one correctly, write it on the board next to the part of speech designation
(example below). If a member gets it wrong, then give them an X, which is
written on the board. When they get 3 Xs, their turn is over but they get
points for each affixed word that they guessed. At that point, you can allow
the other team(s) one or more guesses (your choice) as to what the other
words are that they missed. Award them points for each one they guess.
Play then moves to another team who chooses another root word from the
list.
V
N
excitement
Adj/V
Adj/V
Adv
Adj
Adj

14

Word Formation Games

Guess the
Affix

Speaking
Vocabulary

Listening
Grammar

Reading
Pronunciation

Writing
Warmer/Icebreaker

This game provides students with a list of 10 root words which all take the
same affix. They have to guess what affix it is by listening to the words and
thinking about which affix they could apply to all of them. An easy way to
play this game is to put the students in teams of two to four and give each
team some strips of paper and a marker. Then you read out the list of 10
root words and they have to think of what affix would go with all of them.
You can choose to read less than 10, if youd like to make it more
challenging. Give them a time limit to think of the affix and then a warning
that they have 10 seconds left. They have to write the affix on the strip of
paper with the marker and when you say Go, they hold it up. Look at what
each group wrote and award teams with the correct affix a point. Play again
with another group of words.
Sample with root
words for -ment

MENT
1. Govern
2. Develop
3. Depart
4. Treat
5. Manage
6. Move
7. Environ
8. Agree
9. Invest
10. Equip

Alternative version

In this more challenging version, teams can write whatever affix they think it
is at any point while you are reading the root words. Read the list out
slowly, allowing time for students to write the affix before you say the next
word. Each time you say a word you say the number it is, going from 10
backwards. Students have to write whatever number you have just said
when they write the affix on their strip. That number represents the points
they will get if they are correct. So, for example, if the suffix was ment and
you said Ten, invest and they wanted to guess ment at that point, they
would write 10 ment on their strip of paper and hold it up before you gave
the number 9 word. The thing is they only get one guess and by going for
10 points, they are taking a chance they will get nothing if they are wrong.
Other students may decide to wait for more words before hazarding a
guess, but they will get fewer points. When you have read the final root
word, ask all teams to hold up their strips and those that got it right, award
themselves the number of points indicated by the number on their strip.

8 MENT
Sample strip for 8 points with ment

15

Word Formation Games


Finding root words

The best way to find root words for this game is to go to a corpora website
like http://www.americancorpus.org/ You will need to register to use it but it
is free and its a great tool for language learners and instructors. Simply
type in the affix with an asterisk in the WORD(S) box to get the words with
that affix. So, for example, if you type in *ment, and hit SEARCH, you will
get the following list:
1. Government
2. Moment
3. Development
4. Department
5. Treatment
6. Management
7. Movement
8. Environment
9. Agreement
10. Investment
11. Equipment
Note that moment is not actually an affixed word, so you can eliminate it
and replace it with equipment to get 10 words. If you scroll down you will
find a lot more words. The words are in order according to how frequently
they occur in the corpora databank. So, it would appear that the most
popular word with the suffix ment is Government. You can write ment
on the top of your list and just write the root words below, without moment,
of course.
MENT
1. Govern
2. Develop
3. Depart
4. Treat
5. Manage
6. Move
7. Environ
8. Agree
9. Invest
10. Equip

16

Word Formation Games


Corpora Website

http://www.americancorpus.org/

Bibliography
Gairns, Ruth & Redman, Stuart Working with Words CUP, 1996
Lewis, Michael Implementing the Lexical Approach LTP, 1998
McCarthy, Michael Vocabulary OUP 1996
Sinclair, John ed. Collins Cobuild English Guides 2: Word Formation
Harper Collins 1996
Lackman, Ken First Choice A2 Teaching Guide Cornelsen 2009

17

Word Formation Games

Appendix
Words for Categorizing Suffixes on the Board

fame

dependency

famous

excitable

action

independent

profession

excited

active

direct

professor

unexciting

actor

direction

professional

exciting

variety

director

professorship

excitedly

actively

directness

professionally

use

activist

directly

professionalism

useful

activism

directional

specify

useless

activate

personalize

decision

useable

compete

personality

undecided

usefulness

competition

various

indecision

uselessness

competitive

variable

decisive

approve

competitor

specific

decisiveness

approval

competitiveness

independence

specifically

disapprove

competitively

dependant

excite

approvingly

depend

dependability

excitement

approving

dependable

shortness

shortly

shorten

18

Word Formation Games

Jeopardy Games
Grid for Negative Prefixes (upper-intermediate - advanced level)

de

dis

il

im

in

mis non

ir

un

100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100


200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200 200
300 300 300 300 300 300 300 300 300
400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400 400
500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500 500

19

Word Formation Games

Negative Prefixes Answer Sheet

de

dis

il

im

in

de-ice
to remove
frozen water
from
something,
esp. airplane

dishonest
adj. for
someone who
doesnt tell the
truth

illegal
against the law

impolite
someone who
is rude

inaccurate
something
which is not
100 % correct,
esp. statistics

devalue
to decrease the
worth of
something,
esp. currency

disable
to take from
something the
power to work
or function

illogical
something
which makes
no sense

imperfect
something that
isnt 100% - it
has some small
flaws or
mistakes

indirect
not straight,
roundabout

decentralise
to remove
power from
one place and
distribute
equally, esp.
gov.

displeasure,
dissatisfaction
a noun for
unhappiness
about
something

illiterate
adj. to describe
someone who
cant read or
write

immature
an adult who
acts like a child

deodorise
to remove the
smell from
something

discomfort
the feeling of
just a little bit of
pain or
physical
unpleasantness

illegible
adj. to describe
handwriting
which cannot
be read

immeasurable
something very
big cannot be
measured

decompose
break down or
separate into
small parts,
esp. after
death

disobey
to not do what
someone
orders you to
do

illegitimate
contrary to
laws or rule,
esp. children of
unmarried
parents

improbable
something
which is not
likely to happen

ir

un

non-alcoholic
drinks without
anything which
makes you
drunk, e.g.
some kinds of
beer

irresponsible
adj. for one
who doesnt
care about the
results of their
actions

unfair
not right
according to a
set of rules or
principles

misfortune
bad luck

non-fiction
literature which
is true stories

irresistible
adj. for something which you
have an
uncontrollable
attraction to

unused
something
(esp.
manufactured
which is new

indefinite
undecided or
uncertain, no
fixed limits, like
the article a
or an

misbehave
to act badly,
esp. for
children

non-profit
companies
which are
designed not to
make money

irregular
not straight, or
according to
rules or in rate
of occurrence

unwelcome
uninvited
adj. for guests
that you dont
want

infinite
not having an
end

misinform
to tell someone
something
wrong

non-violent
someone who
doesnt believe
in physical
force esp. to
get civil rights

irrelevant
something that
is not
connected to
what is being
talked about

unbeaten
adj. for a sports
team which has
not yet lost a
game

inflexible
rigid, not
moveable, esp.
for peoples
opinions

misadventure
an exciting
experience
which turns out
badly

non-resident
someone who
lives
somewhere but
without a
permit

irreversible
adj. for something which
cannot be
changed back
to what it was

unborn
word for a child
that a pregnant
woman is
carrying

20

mis non
mispronounce
verb for saying
words, esp. in
another language with the
wrong sound

Word Formation Games

Prefixes (intermediate - advanced)


inter

over

under

pre

international
between or among
different countries

overtime
noun for when you
work later than your
scheduled hours

underground
adj. to describe
something which is
below the surface of
the earth

prefix
noun for something
which is attached to
the beginning of a
word to change its
meaning

rewrite
to write something
again

subtitles
translated words
under the screen in
foreign language
films

transcontinental
word to describe
something, (e.g.
train) which goes
across Europe,
Africa, North
America, etc.

interpersonal
adj. to describe
relations between
people

overweight
adj. to describe
someone who is
heavier than they
should be

undergraduate
noun for someone
who has not yet
completed university

prehistoric
adj. used to describe
something that
existed before
history was recorded

refill
to pour some more
liquid to the top of a
something after it
has been emptied

subplot
not the main story in
a film or play, but a
lesser one that also
happens

transform
verb to describe a
change in
appearance, shape
or character

interracial
adj. for between or
among different
races of people

overcrowded
adj. to describe
somewhere where
there are too many
people

underdeveloped
adj. used esp. to
describe agricultural
countries without
much industry

preview
to see something,
esp. a film before it
is released for the
general public

reappear
when something
goes away or you
cant see it and then
you can

subhuman
adj. to describe a
person who is more
like an animal than a
person

transplant
to move something
growing in the
ground to somewhere else. Also
used for organs

interplanetary
between or among
planets

overflow
verb for when water
or other liquid runs
out of something
because it is too full

undercharge
verb for when
someone asks you
to pay less than you
should for something

prejudge
to form an opinion
about a person
before you really
know them, esp.
based on ethnicity

reconstruct
to rebuild something

sub-standard
adj. to describe
something that is
below the usual
acceptable level

transaction
a business deal

intersection
place where two
lines or roads meet

overestimate
verb for guessing the
price something will
be or the time it will
take and you guess
too much

underestimate
verb for guessing the
price something will
be or the time it will
take and you guess
too little

predate
verb to say
something existed
before a certain time
in history.

reconsider
to think about
something again,
esp. a decision

subdivide
to separate
something into equal
parts a second time

transcribe
to write down notes
into complete
sentences, or from
spoken language

21

re

sub

trans

Word Formation Games

Suffixes (intermediate advanced)


...ment

...less

...ness

ship

ize

able

ity

ism

a thing or
substance, often
related to
something else

without
something

a state or
condition

state, condition or
quality an art or
skill

to make or create

having the ability

name of a quality

a belief or
practice

payment
money given to
someone usually
for a service

harmless
something that
won't hurt you

blindness
a condition where
a person cannot
see

friendship
the state of being
in a relationship
which is not
family, romantic
or sexual

apologize
to make a
statement saying
you are sorry for
something

comfortable
when something
makes you feel
relaxed, for
example a piece
of furniture

creativity
the quality of
making new
things or ideas

racism
a belief that some
people are better
than others
depending on the
colour of their
skin

basement
part of a building
which is below
ground level

fearless
not at all afraid

weakness
the condition of
having very little
strength

dictatorship
the state of living
in a country
where one person
has all the power

equalize
to make two or
more things the
same

affordable
something you
are able to buy
because you
have enough
money

infinity
the quality of
going on forever

journalism
the practice of
reporting news for
the media

judgement
a decision or
evaluation made
about someone
or something

worthless
describing
something that
has no value

closeness
the state of two
things or people
being near each
other, physically
or emotionally for
people

ownership
The state of
possessing
something

magnetize
to make a piece
of metal so it
attracts another
piece of metal

unforgettable
memorable
a word to
describe
something you
will always
remember

maturity
the quality of
acting your age or
even older than
you are

optimism
the belief that
everything will get
better

treatment
a substance used
to care for an
illness or wound

speechless
describing
someone who
cannot or will not
talk, usually just
for the moment

likeness
the state of
resembling
something

companionship
the state of
having someone
with you to keep
you from being
lonely

penalize
to punish
someone for
doing something
wrong

disposable
Something you
can throw away

humidity
the quality the air
has when it is
very moist

anarchism
the belief in a
country without
government

fragment
a piece or part
broken off of
something

mindless
describing
something not
requiring or
displaying any
intelligence

dullness
the state of being
boring, stupid or,
for objects, not
sharp

apprenticeship
the state of being
an assistant while
learning a job or
profession

monopolize
to take complete
possession or
control of
something, esp. a
conversation

arguable
a statement or
position you are
able to disagree
with

mobility
the quality of
being able to
move

liberalism
a belief in
progress and
reform, especially
in politics

22

Word Formation Games

Common Root Words from FCE Exam Word Formation


able
accept
accommodate
accurate
act
active
actual
adequate
admire
advertise
advise
affect
agent
agree
allow
ambition
appear
apply
acquaint
arrange
arrive
attract
authority
base
beauty
behave
believe
bore
breath
build
care
centre
certain
champion
change
child
choose
collect
commerce
common
compete
concentrate
confident
consider
construct
contribute
convenient

convince
correct
cost
courage
cure
danger
dark
day
decide
defend
deport
depressed
design
desire
detect
develop
difficult
direct
discover
distant
drama
early
educate
else
employ
engage
enjoy
entertain
enthusiastic
equal
excite
exhibit
exist
expect
expense
explain
extend
fail
fair
famous
fault
finance
fit
fortunate
fortune
free
frequent

friend
full
generate
grand
harm
heavy
help
hide
high
honest
hope
imagine
important
impress
improve
increase
influence
inhabit
injure
intelligent
intend
invite
judge
know
legal
like
likely
literate
live
logic
lonely
long
luck
manage
marry
mature
medicine
member
memory
migrate
miss
modern
move
nature
necessary
notice
occasion

23

operate
oppose
organize
origin
paint
patient
perfect
permit
please
polite
politic
popular
possible
praise
predict
prefer
prepare
press
pride
probable
produce
profession
pronounce
protect
publish
qualify
rain
rare
rational
react
real
reason
recognize
relate
relation
religion
remark
remove
require
repute
research
responsible
ripe
risk
round
sad
safe

scarce
science
secure
select
sell
sense
settle
shock
short
shy
sign
similar
skill
slip
sociable
solve
south
speak
special
spell
state
steady
strong
stubborn
success
sufficient
sure
surprise
suspect
tact
through
tradition
train
treat
true
upset
use
usual
value
various
warn
wide
will
win
wise
wonder
worth

in

affect

certain

effect

generate

attract

understand

quality

dictate

compete

perfect

success

in

wonder

dis

patient

able

equip

a / t / ion

famous

al

use

ible

value

acy

settle

ence / ency

addict

ive

predict

ment

sense

allow

verb

accurate

modern

explain

equal

nature

tradition

educate

occasion

or

invite

ness

adequate

al

recognize

ment

legible

ive

habit

ity

solve

im

expect

ive

manage

a / t / ion

precise

ive

convenient

vary

exist

oppose

detect

require

friend

organize

agree

imagine

cure

un

observe

able

forget

mis

member

less

courage

im

popular

acy

resent

un

person

ant

develop

or

accommodate

ness

correct

advise

help

scarce

impress

state

treat

react

repute

relate

please

ful

depend

ful

admire

in

taste

less

notice

in

profess

un

select

ity

honest

dis

probable

a / t / ion

act

ity

construct

desire

entertain

produce

care

engage

mature

operate

expense

politic

move

less

arrange

ence / ency

improve

able

prepare

ful

literate

dis

judge

able

concentrate

ship

secure

ness

fortunate

ible

able

im

employ

consider

similar

skill

reason

present

perfect

lonely

possible

like

place

ship

logic

a / t / ion

real

a / t / ion

train

il

pronounce

non

acquaint

mis

social

un

defense

ment

tact

ment

harm

less

pure

appear

remark

frequent

enjoy

believe

direct

excite

exhibit

change

polite

ful

fair

il

contribute

non

accept

un

prefer

ness

edit

in

legal

ity

important

un

luck

ant

separate

able: ability, disability, inability, unable, enable,


accept: acceptable, unacceptable, acceptance,
acceptability
accommodate: accommodation,
accommodating
accurate: accuracy, inaccurate, inaccuracy,
accurately, inaccurately
acquaint: acquaintance, acquainted,
acquaintanceship, unacquainted, reacquaint
act: action, active, inactive, inaction, actor,
acting, actively, inactively, actionable, activist,
activism, acted, enact, enactment
addict: addictive, addiction, non-additive
adequate: inadequate, (in)adequately, admire:
admirable, admiration, admirer, admirably,
admired
advertise: advertisement, advertiser,
advertised, advert, adverts
advise: advisable, inadvisable, advisor,
advisedly, advisory
affect: affective, unaffected, affection,
affectation, disaffected, disaffection,
affectionately
agree: agreement, agreeable, disagreeable,
disagreement, agreeably, agreed, agreeing
allow: disallow, allowance, allowable,
allowably, allowed, allowedly, allowing

appear: appearance, appearances


disappear, disappearance, disappeared,
apply: application, applicable, inapplicable,
applied, applying
acquaint: acquaintance, unacquainted,
acquainting, acquainted
arrange: arrangement, unarranged, arranging,
arranged, arranger
attract: attractive, attraction, unattractive,
attracted, attracting
believe: believable, unbelievable, disbelief,
non-believer, believed, believer, believing
care: careful, careless, uncaring, caring,
certain: uncertain, certainty
change: changeable, unchangeable,
unchanged, changed, changing, unchanging
collect: collective, collection, collectible,
collector, collecting, collected
compete: competition, (un)competitive, noncompetitive, competitor, competitiveness,
competitively, competently, competency,
competence, competing
concentrate: concentration, concentrated
consider: considerable, consideration,
considerate, considerately, considerably
inconsiderate, considering, considered

construct: construction, reconstruction,


reconstruct, reconstruction, constructive,
deconstruct, deconstruction, constructor,
unconstructed
contribute: contribution, contributor
convenient: convenience, inconvenient,
conveniently, inconveniently
correct: corrective, correction, correctness,
corrector, incorrect, correctly, correctitude,
courage: discourage, discouragement
cure: curable, incurable, cured, curing
defense: defensive, defensible, defensiveness,
indefensible, defenseless
depend: dependable, dependability,
independence, independent, dependence,
dependant, dependency, undependable,
interdependent, independently
desire: desirable, undesirable, desirous,
desirability, desirableness
detect: detectable, detective, detection,
detector, undetected
develop: development, undeveloped,
developer, developmental, non-development
decide: decision, undecided, indecision,
decisive, decisiveness, indecisiveness,
indecisive, decidedly
dictate: dictator, dictatorship, dictation,
dictatorial

direct: direction, indirect, directive, director,


misdirect, directness, directly, redirect,
directional, directory, directorate
edit: editor, edition, editorial, editorship, reedit
educate: education, educator, uneducated,
educational, educable
effect: effective, effectiveness, effectual,
effectualness, ineffective, ineffectual ,
effectively, effectuate
employ: employment, employable, unemployed, unemployment, employee, employer
engage: engagement, disengage, engaging,
enjoy: enjoyable, enjoyment,
entertain: entertainment, unentertaining,
entertainer, entertained
equal: equality, inequality, unequal, equalling,
equalize, equalization, equalizer
equip: equipment, unequipped, equipped,
equipping
exhibit: exhibitor, exhibition, exhibiting,
excite: excitement, excitable, unexcited,
unexciting, exciting, excitingly
exist: existence, non-existence, non-existent,
existent, existential, existentially, existentialism,
existentialist
expect: expectation, expectant, unexpected,
expectantly, expecting, expectancy

expense: expensive, inexpensive


explain: explanation, explained, explaining,
explanatory
fair: unfair, fairness, fairing, fairly
famous: infamous, famously, fame, famed
forget: forgetful, forgetfulness, unforgettable,
forgettable, forgot, forgotten, forgetting,
forgetfully
fortunate: unfortunate, unfortunately,
fortunately
frequent: frequency, frequencies, infrequent,
frequently, infrequently, frequenter
friend : friendship, friendliness, friendly
generate: generator, generation, regenerate,
degenerate
habit: habitable, habitation, inhabit, inhabitant,
inhabitable, inhabited, uninhabited,
uninhabitable, habitat, habitual, habituate
harm: harmless, harmful, unharmed,
help: helpless, helpful, unhelpful, helper,
honest: dishonest, honestly, dishonestly
hope: hopeless, hopeful, hoped
imagine: imagination, imaginative,
unimaginative, imaginable, unimaginable
important: importance, unimportant,
importantly

impress: impression, impressive, impressed,


unimpressive, unimpressionable,
impressionable, impressiveness
improve: improvement, unimproved,
improvable, improved
invite: invitation, uninvited, invitational
judge: judgment, judgmental, non-judgmental,
misjudge, prejudge
like: likely, likeable, unlikely, liken, unlikeable,
likeness, disliked, likelihood, likewise
literate: illiterate, literal, literacy, literature,
literally,
logic: logical, illogical, logically, logician
lonely: loneliness, lonesome
luck: luckless, unlucky, luckily, luckier/est
legal: legality, illegal, legally, legalize, legalistic
legible: legibility, illegible, legibly, illegibly,
illegibility
manage: management, manageable,
unmanageable, mismanage, mismanagement,
managed, manager, managerial
mature: maturation, maturity, immature,
maturely, maturate, maturing, immaturely
member: membership, non-member
modern: modernity, modernization, modernize,
modernist

move: moveable, immovable, movement,


unmoved, mover
nature: (un)natural, (un)naturally
notice: noticeable, unnoticed d, noticeably
observe: observation, unobserved, observant,
observance, observable, observational,
observatory, observantly
occasion: occasional, occasionally
operate: operator, operation, operable,
inoperable, operative, operational
oppose: opposition, unopposed, opposable,
organize: organization, unorganized,
organizational, organizer, disorganized
patient: impatient, (im)patiently, patience,
perfect: perfection, imperfect, perfectionist,
(im)perfectly, perfectionism, imperfection,
person: personality, personal, personable,
impersonal, personification, impersonator,
personae, persona, personage, personalize,
personally, personate, personified, personifying,
impersonation, personnel, personify
place: placement, misplace, displace,
displacement, placed, misplaced
please: pleasant, displease, pleasantry,
pleasantly, pleasantness, pleased, pleasure,
pleasurable, pleasurably
polite: politeness, impolite, (im)politely,

politic: political, non-political, politicked,


politicking, politician, politicization, politicize
popular: popularity, unpopular, popularized,
popularly, popularization
precise: precision, imprecise, imprecision,
precisely, imprecisely,
present: presentation, presentable, presence,
presently, presenter,
predict: prediction, predictable, unpredictable,
predictor, predictably, predictability
prefer: preference, preferable, preferential,
non-preferred,
prepare: preparation, unprepared,
preparedness, prepared, preparing
probable: probability, improbable, probably
produce: production, productive unproductive,
productiveness, productivity, productively,
producer
profess: profession, professor, professorship,
(un)-professional, professionally, professorship
professionalism, professorial, professed,
possible: possibility, impossible, impossibility
pronounce: pronunciation, unpronounced
pronounceable, pronouncement, pronounced,
protect: protection, protective, protectiveness,
protector, unprotected, protected, protecting,
protectionism, protectorate,

pure: purity, pureness, impure, impurity,


impurely, purely, puritan, purify
qualify: qualification, unqualified, disqualified
quality: qualitative, qualitatively
react: reactive, reaction, reactant, reactor,
reactionary
real: reality, unreal, realistic, realistically,
realism, really
reason: reasonable, unreasonable
recognize: (un)recognizable, recognition
unrecognized, recognizance
relate: relation, relative, unrelated, relationship,
relativity
remark: (un)remarkable, remarkably
require: requirement, requisite, requisition
repute: reputable, disrepute, disreputable,
reputation, reputedly
resent: resentful, resentfulness, resentment,
resentfully
scarce: scarcely, scarcity,
secure: (in)security, insecure, securely
select: selection, selective, selectiveness,
selector, selectively
sense: sensitive, insensitive, sensitivity,
insensitivity, sensation, nonsense, sensible,
sensibility, senseless, sensual, sensuality,
sensibly, sensuous

separate: separation, separable, separateness,


inseparable, separator, separately, separatist
settle: settlement, unsettled, settler
similar: similarity, dissimilar
skill: skilful, unskilled, skilled
settle: settlement, unsettled
social: sociable, socialization, unsociable
solve: solution, unsolved, unsolvable, solvable,
dissolve
steady: steadiness, unsteady
state: statement, stateless
success: successful, successor, succession,
successive, unsuccessful
tact: tactful, tactless, tactlessness
taste: tasteful, tasteless, distasteful
train: trainable, untrained, untrainable
tradition: traditional, non-traditional
treat: treatment, treatable, untreatable,
mistreat, mistreatment
understand: understandable, misunderstand,
misunderstanding, understandably
use: useful, useless, useable, misuse, disuse,
usefulness, uselessness
value: valuable, valueless, invaluable
vary: variety, variation, variable, variant
verb: verbal, non-verbal
wonder: wonderful, wonderment, wondrous

Game 2 Instructions (Card 1)

Game 2 Instructions (Card 2)

Game 1 Instructions (Card 1)

Game 1 Instructions (Card 2)

Arrange students in groups of 3 to 6


players. Youll need more than one deck
for larger classes unless you want to have
students play as a pair. One student is the
judge and takes the set of cards with all
the affixed words on them. The judge
places the cards with the affixed words in
front of him/her. The player to the left of
the judge is the dealer. The dealer deals 4
cards to each player, puts the pile in the
centre and then picks up the top card
from the pile and adds it to his/her hand.
Dealer then chooses one card from
his/her hand and puts it in the centre.
Play moves to the left as players must
use the prefix/suffix on that card to form
words with one of words on their cards.
Each card is played on top of the first
card so that the affix on the first card
remains visible and is always the one that
is played upon. If a player cant combine
a word from one of his/her cards, they
place one of their cards upside down on
the pile, still allowing the original affix
on the first card to show.

Judge determines legitimacy of each


word and each player uses it in a
sentence. The dealer plays last card. The
last card played face-up takes the trick,
meaning that all cards in played in that
round are given to the last player to
successfully form an affixed word.
Winner of each trick starts the play by
picking a card from the pile and choosing
a card to start with. Tricks taken are
totaled at the end of each round and each
players points are written down. The
maximum score will be 4. Then dealer
and judge roles move to the left. Tricks
where no cards are played face-up are not
won by anyone and are placed to one
side. The object of this game is to take as
many tricks as you can while you are
dealer and to steal as many from other
dealers when you are not

Arrange students in groups of 3 to 6


players. You will need more than one
deck for larger classes unless you want to
have students play as a pair. One student
is the judge and takes the set of cards
with all the affixed words on them. The
judge places the cards with the affixed
words in front of him/her. The student to
the left of the judge is the dealer. The
dealer deals four cards to each player.
Each player chooses their worst card and
passes it face down to the player on the
right, who then picks it up and adds it to
their hand. The dealer then puts a card
down in the centre of the table. Next
player puts down another card on top of
it to form a word by combining either of
the two words on the first card with a
suffix /prefix on his/her card or vice
versa, meaning they combine the affix on
the card in the centre with either of the
two words on their card.

The judge checks the word on the


Judges Cards and if the word is
legitimate, the student uses that word in a
sentence. Play continues to the left in the
same way. If a player cannot play, he/she
places a card face down in front of
his/herself. Once all cards have been
played, each player counts the cards they
placed face down in front of them and
that number is subtracted from 4 (total
number of cards they started with) to
give them the final score for that round.
The scores for each player are written on
a score sheet. For the subsequent rounds,
all cards are collected and shuffled and
the judge and dealer roles move one
player to the left.

Another wrinkle you can add to this


game is to ask the judge to write down
the sentences used by the players. This
way you can check them for accuracy
after the game and take up any errors.

Note: any word which uses the root card


and a suffix/prefix card is allowed. Thus,
the profess card is combinable with
al to form professional even if the
player does not have the ion card. The
winner of the game is the one with the
highest score at the end.