Academic Word List- vocabulary with negative prefixes

A LESSON PLAN FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE TEACHERS

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Published: 7th Jan 2013

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Academic Word List- vocabulary with negative prefixes

Find the words below which have negative prefixes but don’t have negative meanings. 

abnormal

deregulation/ deregulate

disproportionate

illegal

illiberal

illogical

immature/ immaturity

imprecise/ imprecision

inaccessible

inaccurate

inadaptable

inadequate

inappropriate

incapable

incoherent

incompatible/ incompatibility

inconsistency/ inconsistent

indemonstrable

indiscrete/ indiscretion

inflexible/ inflexibility

insecurity

insignificant

instability

insufficient

invalid/ invalidity

irrational

irrelevant/ irrelevance

misinterpret/ misinterpretation

nonconformist

unachievable

unambiguous

unapproachable

unbeneficial

unbiased

unclear 

uncommitted

uncommunicative

unconfined

unconstitutional

unconstrained

unconstructive

uncontroversial

unconvincing

uncooperative

uncreative

uncultured 

undiminished

undiscriminating

undynamic

uneconomical

unempirical

unenergetic

unethical 

unfocused 

unideological

uninjured 

uninvolving 

unjustifiable

unlicensed

unmethodical

unmotivated 

unprofessional

unrefined

unregulated

unreliable

unsustainable

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013

Hint: There are eight. 

Try to remember the negative prefixes of the words below:
accessible

accurate

achievable

adaptable

adequate

ambiguous

approachable

appropriate

beneficial

biased

capable

clear 

coherent

committed

communicative

compatible/ compatibility

confined

conformist

consistency/ consistent

constitutional

constrained

constructive

controversial

convincing

cooperative

creative

cultured 

demonstrable

diminished

discrete/ discretion

discriminating

dynamic

economical

empirical

energetic

ethical 

flexible/ flexibility

focused 

ideological

injured 

interpret/ interpretation

involving 

justifiable

legal

liberal

licensed

logical

mature/ maturity

methodical

motivated 

normal

precise/ precision

professional

proportionate

rational

refined

regulated

regulation/ regulate

relevant/ relevance

reliable

security

significant

stability

sufficient

sustainable

valid/ validity

Try to argue that some of the words are not necessarily in the right section and/ or that 
some of the opposites do not have opposite connotations. You will get one point for each 
one that you argue convincingly. 

Use the list on the next page to help you if you need to.

What phrases can you use to talk about positive and negative aspects?

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013

Academic Word List- vocabulary with negative prefixes
Suggested answers
Positive words with negative prefixes
deregulation/ deregulate

nonconformist

unbiased

unconstrained

uncontroversial

undiminished

unideological

uninjured

Words which could be debated
adequate
biased
clear/ clarity
committed
confined
conformist
constitutional
constrained
controversial
cooperative
diminished
dynamic
empirical
flexible/ flexibility
focused
ideological
interpret
justifiable
liberal
licensed
mature
methodical
nonconformist
normal
professional 
refined
regulated
regulation/ regulate
reliable
security
stability
sufficient
sustainable
unambiguous
unconfined
unconstrained
uncontroversial

Written by Alex Case for UsingEnglish.com © 2013

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