Learning English
Grammar Rules
Grammar Exercises
Grammar Terms
Vocabulary
Prepositions
FCE practice ▼ Grammar ▼ Word formation ▼ Phrasal verbs ▼ Expressions ▼ Collocations

FCE (First Certificate)
Word Formation: Negatives

For the FCE exam, there's nearly always at least one negative in the word formation paper. There are lots of prefixes and suffixes we can use to make negatives.

  1. Negative prefixes can be used with nouns, verbs, adjective and adverbs. For example disapproval, disapprove, disapproving, disapprovingly.
  2. Usually im + p (impatient) but not always (unpleasant).
  3. Often il + l (illegal) but not always (unlikely).
  4. Often ir + r (irregular) but not always (unresponsive).
  5. Usually -ful changes to -less (harmful/less) but not always (endless).
  6. If you can't remember, choose un - it's the most common negative prefix.

Look at the information in the table for 1 minute and try to remember the words. Then click below to hide the information and try to answer the questions at the bottom.


un-indis-im-
unexpected unaware unbelievable unknown unable inaccurate inappropriate inefficient incapable ineffective disapprove dislike disagree disbelief dishonest improbable impossible impolite imperfect impatient
il-ir-mis--less
illegal illiterate illogical illegible irregular irresponsible irrational irregular misbehave misunderstand misspell misuse careless harmless helpless endless

Click here to show/hide this information



Write the correct NEGATIVE form of the word in brackets to complete these sentences. Be very careful: some words have different negative forms (e.g. unbelievable/disbelief, unlikely/dislike, unable/disabled).


  1. The politician was accused of being (HONEST)
  2. His story was so I thought he was crazy. (BELIEVE)
  3. She looked at him in when he told her the shocking news. (BELIEVE)
  4. Many people are of the dangers of mobile phones. (AWARE)
  5. He's invited me to his party. It would be to say no. (POLITE)
  6. Too many children nowadays are growing up . (LITERATE)
  7. That's not what I said! You've me. (UNDERSTAND)
  8. My dog is completely . I promise he won't bite. (HARM)
  9. The medicine was - he didn't recover. (EFFECT)
  10. His answers were very so he failed the Maths exam. (ACCURATE)
  11. It's that people will ever live on the moon. (LIKELY)
  12. He waited for the train. (PATIENT)
  13. It's to smoke in public places nowadays. (LEGAL)
  14. I would never teach children. They always . (BEHAVE)
  15. The shirt he's wearing is completely for a job interview. (APPROPRIATE)
  16. His speech was . I thought he'd never stop talking. (END)



Go back to FCE List

Sponsors