As an English learner, I imagine you’ve struggled with the grammar of phrasal verbs many times. Yes? Well, you’re not alone. Phrasal verbs are notoriously difficult for English learners to master.
This blog will give you a brief introduction (and some examples) to the world of phrasal verbs. I’m also going to let you in on a secret weapon that will help you in your battle to figure out phrasal verbs – our new phrasal verbs course.
In English, we use phrasal verbs all the time. We use them to give commands, to express an opinion, to share stories. They’re such an important part of the English language because we use them in almost all conversations.
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What is a phrasal verb?
Phrasal verbs consist of a root verb (such as go, put or set) and an adverb and/or preposition (such as away, on or out).
For example: go away (verb + adverb).
‘Go away’ means to leave a place or person’s company.
Inseparable phrasal verbs
Inseparable phrasal verbs can’t be separated which means they must remain in their original form.
Here’s an example using the phrasal verb ‘fall back on’ which means to have something to use when you are in difficulty. ‘If you don’t focus on your education and pass your exams you’ll have nothing to fall back on in life.’
Separable phrasal verbs
Some phrasal verbs can be separated. This happens when we insert an object or pronoun. You can put an object between the verb and the preposition/adverb or after the phrasal verb, just like we do for inseparable phrasal verbs.
It’s important to note that it is a choice to separate a phrasal verb as it can be used in its non-separated form.
For example: ‘Pick up the washing’ vs ‘Pick the washing up.’
Transitive Phrasal Verbs
Phrasal verbs that require an object within the sentence are called transitive phrasal verbs. If the sentence is without an object (meaning it only contains the phrasal verb) then the sentence is incomplete.
Here’s an example: ‘She looks after the dog.
Intransitive Phrasal Verbs
Phrasal verbs which don’t require an object in the sentence are intransitive. The sentence makes complete sense without an object.
Here’s an example: ‘The car broke down.’
Figurative or Literal
A literal meaning is a true, real or physical meaning.
A figurative meaning is a concept, idea or metaphor. Here’s an example: ‘I’ll put you up for the night.’
In this context, ‘put up’ means to let someone stay the night. It is a figurative meaning as nobody is literally putting anything/anyone up.
What to expect from the Figure Out Phrasal Verbs course
There are thousands of phrasal verbs in English and it can be overwhelming for English students to learn each of them individually. In my experience of teaching students from all over the world, the best strategy is to study phrasal verbs one theme at a time. That’s why I created the Figure Out Phrasal Verbs course in the Intrepid English Academy.
In the course, you will learn dozens of phrasal verbs covering a variety of different themes. You will study phrasal verbs about sport, love, nature, business meetings, negotiations, and many more. You will learn the grammar in context – accompanied by audio recordings of native English speakers using phrasal verbs in conversation.
Throughout the course, you will be asked if the phrasal verb in question is separable or inseparable and if the meaning is literal or figurative. Don’t worry, I will explain the rules again in greater detail at the beginning of the course to make sure you have understood these points. So you can study lots of new vocabulary and grammar, take notes and test your knowledge regularly.
We also have a Community of English learners to practise with. Write your own sentences in our Figure Out Phrasal Verbs forum or book a lesson with one of our teachers who will correct any mistakes.
You’ll be confidently using new phrasal verbs in your English conversations very soon!
If you have any questions, please post them in the comments section below or email us at Intrepid English.
This blog was written and recorded by Intrepid English Teacher, Tom.
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