Uncomfortably, disinterested, unmanageable, indifferently, unnecessarily, anticlockwise, misrepresentation...
Do long words scare you?

In this series of lessons on building words with prefixes and suffixes we'll look at how these 'long' words aren't so scary and difficult to learn if you break them down into manageable and memorisable chunks.


You can improve your spelling, increase your knowledge of words and spellings, and dramatically improve your confidence with spelling if you understand that long words are often made up of a 'root' word plus 'bits' added to the beginning and/or end." (These "bits" are called prefixes and suffixes). Basic Skills Agency

Watch the video below + read the info


1. root word/base word - a word which a prefix and suffix can be added to make another word.

2. prefixes are little words that go before a root word to change its meaning.
un + certain = uncertain, mis + understanding = misunderstandingil + legal = illegal, ir + regular = irregular.

3. suffixes are little words that are added to the end of a word to change the way that a word is used = want + ed = wanted, regular + ly = regularly, start - starting ,  incredible, happiness  

Spelling Strategy - syllable breakdown

Breaking these words down into syllables is a great way to remember these words. Check out my video here Spelling tip number 6 - Using syllable breakdown.

Understanding how to identify syllables helps you to tackle long words, by breaking the word down into manageable parts.

This means you break them down into little spoken chunks and each chunk is called a syllable.

Each syllable usually has a vowel in it:

Say ‘qualification’ aloud. Listen to the way it breaks into syllables:

qua - li - fi - ca - tion (5 syllables)

advertisement = ad / ver / tise / ment (4 syllables)

When you break a word down into syllables it helps you see the part of the word you need work on.

Look at the following words and how we break them down.

We can see the prefix and suffixes

dissatisfied = dis /sat/is/fied
uncomfortable  = un/com/for/ta/ble
irregularly = ir/ reg/u/lar/ly
immoveable = im/ move/ a/ ble

Breaking words into syllables also helps you remember the silent letter(s) in the word.

Let's look at Wednesday with that horrible silent 'd' in there.

We say ‘wens day’ but spell it Wed/nes/day. When you need to spell it say it slowly and exaggerated, Wed / nes / day, and you'll be able to spell it every time

Click here for more on syllables - Spelling tip number 6 - Using syllable breakdown.

Check out my Language of Spelling lesson Click here to find out the key words to understanding spelling rules and building words

Then click here to go to the Building words with prefixes lesson