Phrasal Verbs

When students set out to learn English, they are usually held up by phrasal verbs. We have to make out the meaning of most of these idioms (phrases that don't make literal sense) in context because we usually can't look them up in the dictionary. You may feel like you want to put off learning these words, but don't give up!

Did this paragraph make sense to you? If not, you were probably held up by all the phrasal verbs!

What is a phrasal verb? 
Phrasal verbs are everywhere! Phrasal verbs are verbs made up with a verb and a particle (usually a small preposition). When these parts are put together, the result is a brand new word that has little or no relation to its parts.

For example, we know the word give and we know the word up. However, the phrasal verb give up has nothing to do with gifts or the sky; give up means "to quit or abandon hope."
  • give + up = give up (quit)
  • call + off = call off (cancel)
How do I learn phrasal verbs?
To learn phrasal verbs, we just have to memorize them like normal vocabulary words. There are thousands of them, but continue to learn them one-by-one, just like you learn new vocabulary. You can find many lists of phrasal verbs (like this one) online to help you study.

How do I use phrasal verbs?
Phrasal verbs are used almost the exact same way that regular verbs are used. They come after the subject. The trick to learn is whether or not to separate the verb and the particle. For example, we can say, "Turn off the TV" or we can say, "Turn the TV off." Be careful, though: Some phrasal verbs cannot be separated! We can say, "We ran out of food" but we cannot say "We ran of food out."

Although phrasal verbs are somewhat difficult to learn and remember, you will have fun discovering all of their new meanings. To learn more about phrasal verbs and other idioms, visit us at Nomen Global.

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