Negative prefixes - Are you Not happy or Unhappy?

Have you ever wondered what the opposite of Happy is?

If your immediate thought was ‘Sad’ then well done. That is the correct answer.
However, there is an alternative ‘Unhappy’.

Un’ is probably the most popular Negative Prefix in the English language and there are many words that you can Negate, simply by adding ‘Un’ to the beginning.

What is Negation?

Negation is very simply creating a negative form of a word or phrase. You will probably be familiar with using the word ‘Not’ in negative tense forms.
I am happy. - A Positive or Affirmative statement.
I am not happy. - A Negative statement.

Instead of using ‘Not’ all the time, and to make your writing and speaking more interesting, you should try to use prefixes to create negative meaning sentences.

I am unhappy. - A Negative statement.

There is absolutely no difference in meaning between ‘not happy’ and ‘unhappy’, you can use both to express how you feel.

Here are some more examples of words that can be Negated by using the prefix ‘Un’.

Able - Unable
Interesting - Uninteresting
Usual - Unusual
Helpful - Unhelpful
Real - Unreal
Friendly - Unfriendly
Fair - Unfair
Prepared - Unprepared
Real - Unreal
Healthy - Unhealthy

‘Un’ is not the only negative prefix available, there are others and I am sure that you will be familiar with some of the words that begin with these prefixes.

a–, dis–, il–, im–, in-, ir–, non–

I disagree with you. (agree / disagree)
That is impossible. (possible / impossible)
You made an irrational decision. (rational / irrational)
It is illogical. (logical / illogical)

It is important to remember that not every word that begins with one of the prefixes is negative. Some words that you are familiar with, which are not negative include.

Important - This does not mean Not-portant.
Discuss - This does not mean Not-cuss.
Involve - This does not mean Not-volve.

So, have a play with your negative prefixes and see what words you can conjure up.

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