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Un Prefix

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Un is a prefix meaning not. It's used to give opposite and negative meanings to adjectives, adverbs and nouns.

10 Common Un- Prefixes


Root word: Able.

Meaning: To not be able to do something.

Example: She's unable to attend tomorrow's meeting.


Root word: Aware.

Meaning: To not know something.

Example: I was unaware the plans had changed.


Root word: Beat.

Meaning: To not have lost any games.

Example: In 2004, Arsenal went the whole football season unbeaten.


Root word: Common.

Meaning: Unusual or rare.

Example: Because the public transport system is so good, it's uncommon for me to drive to work.


Root word: Dress.

Meaning: To take off clothes.

Example: Get undressed and get into the shower.


Root word: Employ.

Meaning: The number of people who do not have jobs.

Example: The government reported a small decrease in the unemployment rate.


Root word: Fair.

Meaning: Not equal or not right.

Example: It's unfair to ask James to work late again.


Root word: Fit.

Meaning: Not healthy or not good enough.

Example: I'm too unfit to play tennis with you.


Root word: Miss.

Meaning: So good that it must be seen.

Example: She described the film as unmissable.


Root word: Rely.

Meaning: Can't be trusted or depended on.

Example: He's totally unreliable, I wouldn't ask him for help.

Now take a look at these sentences and decide which un- words are needed:

  • 1) What's wrong? You look ___.

  • 2) I ____ my suitcase as soon as I arrived.

  • 3) Some people think it's ___ to break a mirror.

  • 4) She didn't believe him, she thought his story was ___.

  • 5) See a doctor if you feel ___.

  • 6) It's ___ to eat so much candy.

  • 7) You need to clean your desk, it's ___.

  • 8) When are you going to ___ your birthday presents?

  • 9) She's ___ to work weekends.

  • 10) Be careful, that ladder looks ___.