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Home > Reading Comprehension > Word Parts > Pre



This is a common prefix that can be connected to fairly common words as well as more challenging ones. Both are included in this list.

Note that 'before' can have to do with time *or* space. To "predict" is say something will happen before it does; but to "present" something to you is to place it before you in space.

"Pre" can have other meanings than "before," though (as in the words prevail, pretend, prehensile, and prevaricate).


1. Write the word

2. Write what it means

3. Draw a picture to go with it

4. Answer the question about it.


meaning and example

what to draw

question to answer

(you may draw your answer, too)


To tell what one thinks will happen in the future, such as the weather, peoples' behavior, or the outcome of a contest.

Someone predicting something

What are two things you would like to be able to predict?


To keep something from happening before it happens, such as a window being broken or a person catching a cold

Someone preventing something (and explain what it is)

What are three things you would like to be able to prevent?


a view or showing ahead of time such as "previews" of a movie

Something being previewed (and explain what it is)

What is something besides a movie or TV show that you could preview?


care or an action taken ahead of time against danger or failure, such as locking the door as a precaution against theft.

An example of something done as a "precaution"

What are four examples of precautions for four different things?


To choose first or like better (such as preferring vacation over school)

Something you would prefer to do

What are three things you prefer doing?


happening or coming before; such as "on the previous page," meaning the page before, or "in a previous class," meaning some class before this one

What are three things you learned in previous classes?


before birth, or during pregnancy

A "prenatal" baby

What would "prenatal care" mean?


Owned by someone else before now; "used."

A pre-owned car

What are three things people often buy "pre-owned?"


a part that comes before something else, such as a prelude to a piece of music, or dark clouds as a prelude to a storm.

A prelude to an event you enjoy

What are three examples of "preludes?"


having your attention already taken up by something, so you are not paying attention to what is happening around you. For example, if you are preoccupied with a test that is coming, you might not pay attention to what people are saying to you.

Someone who is preoccupied

What are three things someone who is "preoccupied" might say?


a book or story or movie that is set before something that has already been written. For example, the "Star Wars" series had a prequel set before the first Star Wars movie, where you found out about earlier times and people. The sixth book in the Chronicles of Narnia is a prequel because it tells how Narnia began, even though that book was written after other stories about Narnia.

A scene from the prequel to *your* life story.

Why would someone write a prequel?


to make something more likely to happen, before it does. For example, not getting enough sleep predisposes people to catching colds or being grumpy. (It is the opposite of taking precautions.) If a person is "predisposed" to act a certain way (such as to agree with others), they are already more likely to act that way than some other way.

Someone who is predisposed to win a marathon

What are three things you could do so that you were predisposed to get good grades?


an introductory statement before an important statement. The preamble to the constitution explains why the people of the U.S. thought they needed one.

How is a preamble like a prelude?


to take over something, (such as by getting in front of anyone else who would want it or being more important). Examples: to take over someone's land, to take over a group of people, or for one TV show to replace another (such as a news story or baseball game preempting a regular show).

Something being preempted

What are two things you would not like to be preempted?


Introductory remarks

Where in a book would you find or put the preface?


before the evening meal

Someone doing something "preprandially"

What are two of your favorite preprandial activities?

Here are some other words where "pre" means before

pretext, predecessor, preconception, precede, preclude, precognition, preliminary, premeditate, premature, premonition, prenuptial, preordain, prerogative, prerequisite

Complete these sentences with the "pre" word. Be sure to mix these sentences with words learned in previous lessons.

predict, prevent, preview, precaution, prefer, previous, prenatal, pre-owned, prelude, preoccupied, prequel, predisposed, preempt, preface, preprandial

1. I like to take a _____________________________________ walk to work up my appetite for dinner.

2. I don't like it when the networks _________________________ my favorite TV shows because of sports.

3. One of the jobs of the meteorologist on the news is to _______________________________ tomorrow's weather.

4. Just as a ________________________ , I always lock the car doors when I am driving.

5. Which of these coats do you ________________________ to wear tonight?

6. I don't think Mike heard a word I said because he was so __________________________ about his sick sister.

7. We got to the concert at the symphony hall just in time -- we barely sat down before the conductor started the _______________________________ .




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