In this English tips lesson, I’m going to encourage you to learn and use more phrasal verbs in your English.
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What are phrasal verbs?
Phrasal verbs are verbs that have two or three parts. They are generally used in spoken English and informal texts.
While some phrasal verbs have a literal meaning and can be easily understood, many phrasal verbs can have a figurative or idiomatic meaning which makes them difficult to understand.
Phrasal verbs examples
A phrasal verb is a phrase or expression that consists of a verb plus another word or two, such as:
[verb + adverb] e.g: look up
[verb + preposition] e.g: look after
[verb + adverb + preposition] e.g: look forward to
The whole phrase acts as a verb, and has a different meaning to the original verb. For example, look up, look after and look forward to do NOT mean the same as look.
For more examples you can view this list of 30 common phrasal verbs with meanings and example sentences.
Check out my video on two confusing phrasal verbs: Go back vs Come back.
Who should learn more phrasal verbs?
Phrasal verbs are best for upper-intermediate and advanced-level students. At this level of English, students are likely to be in more situations around native speakers, and for you to be able to understand what is being said more easily, you need to know phrasal verbs.
You will also make a much better impression of your English if you know and use phrasal verbs because it’s going to make your level seem much higher.
Why it is important to learn phrasal verbs
It’s important to learn them if you speak English at work or you live in an English-speaking country. This is because it is the language that we, as native speakers, find most easily pops into our heads.
Phrasal verbs are also good to use because they can often be very descriptive and very vivid. For example, ‘pop out’ used in the sentence where ‘your eyes can pop out of your head’ to describe that you’ve seen something surprising.
Phrasal verbs are conversational as well. When we’re talking to our friends we use phrasal verbs without really thinking about it.
Tabloids often use phrasal verbs. If we think about newspapers in the UK, we’ve got the broad sheets which are the more respectable such as The Times or The Telegraph, or we’ve got the tabloids such as The Mirror or The Sun where there’s gossip, football and so on. Tabloid language uses a lot of phrasal verbs. That doesn’t mean it’s bad and you shouldn’t use it. They simply use language that reflects the way that people speak.
If you know more phrasal verbs it will make watching tv series easier for you and it’s also good for brevity, which means keeping what you want to say short. Phrasal verbs can really help people get straight to the point.
How to learn phrasal verbs
My first tip to learning phrasal verbs is to pace yourself. You need to be realistic about learning these as there are so many phrasal verbs out there. You are not going to be able to learn them all at once. Don’t rush, they’re not the only important element when seeking to improve your English. Take your time and learn a few of them. Try to use them often and let them become active in your learning.
Best Phrasal Verbs Book
I also think it’s good to refresh and learn some of the grammar about phrasal verbs so that you can spot them in a sentence. I would definitely recommend a book called ‘100 Practical English Phrasal Verbs’ by Alex Makar to assist with your learning. This book includes plenty of useful explanations.
Buying a phrasal verbs book will also help you learn them more efficiently. There are hundreds of English phrasal verbs, which confusingly often have multiple uses. It’s a waste of your time to learn all of them! Therefore, you should focus your effort on learning the 100 most useful phrasal verbs. Alex Makar’s book does an excellent job at selecting the most useful phrasal verbs for you to learn and start using.
Thank you for watching and joining me for this lesson. I hope that i’ve encouraged you to learn more phrasal verbs and to start using them.
Be sure to come back again for another video for learning English and improving your accent.
Extend Your Learning
▶︎ Read my article on How to Expand Your Vocabulary
▶︎ Check out my video on two confusing phrasal verbs: Go back vs Come back
▶︎ Download the Phrasal Verbs PDF