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English Grammar Phrasal Verbs

English Grammar – Phrasal Verbs

In this blog I will be talking about phrasal verbs and giving lots of examples of how to use them! There are so many different phrasal verbs and they are very common in everyday English grammar and language; most native speakers don’t even realise they are using them most of the time! I have realised since starting on my teaching journey, that this is one of the main aspects of English grammar that students struggle with the most. So, I am hoping this blog will make them a bit easier to understand and easier for students to use in everyday language. 

What is a Phrasal Verb?

A phrasal verb is made up of 2 or 3 words, including a verb, which when put together, change the meaning of the verb. They are made up of a verb plus an adverb or preposition, or both, and are generally used in informal conversations or language. 

Phrasal verbs can have different meanings so it is important to understand the context of the sentence before trying to translate it. Some phrasal verbs can be really easy to understand and have a literal meaning, however some phrasal verbs within English grammar are more difficult to understand because they have a figurative meaning.  Some are also split out so the verb and adverb or preposition is separated by the subject, another curveball when trying to understand phrasal verbs!

I’ll be sharing examples of all types of phrasal verbs to help you understand, so don’t worry! 

There are over 10,000 phrasal verbs! So, don’t try to learn them all! If you can understand the structure and general layout out of them, then this will give you a good start in understanding the majority of phrasal verbs going forward. 

English Grammar Phrasal Verbs

How is a phrasal verb formed?

The main structures of a phrasal verb are:

Verb + preposition

Verb + adverb

Verb + adverb + preposition

Don’t forget though, the above structures can sometimes be split up by the subject:

Verb + subject + adverb/ preposition

Phrasal Verb Examples

Here are a selection of phrasal verbs with example sentences:

Phrasal Verbs with GET:

Get on with – continue doing something

Example – The teacher asked us to get on with our work.

Get over – to recover from

Example – I can’t go to the party if I don’t get over this cold.

Get rid of – throw something away

Example – She needs to get rid of some of her clothes, she has far too many!

Phrasal Verbs with BACK:

Back down – withdraw from a position or commitment usually within an argument

Example – The staff backed down from striking after talks with their management team.

Back up – make copies of something, usually data related

 Example – Don’t forget to back up your computers before the end of every day.

Phrasal Verbs with BE:

Be fed up – to be bored, upset or sick of something

Example – They were all fed up being stuck at home all the time.

Be away – to be somewhere else, i.e. on holiday 

Example – They are away on holiday for the next 2 weeks.

English Grammar Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal Verb with CARRY:

Carry on – to continue something

Example – We have to carry on with the game despite the extreme weather.

Phrasal Verb with LIVE:

Live with – to accept something which is unpleasant or not nice

Example – I’ve learnt to live with the wet weather here.

Phrasal Verb with PLAY:

Play Up – behave badly

Example – The children had played up all afternoon.

Phrasal Verb with GIVE:

Give away – give something to someone for free

Example – She was giving away sweets for Halloween.

Phrasal Verb with PUT:

Put off – delay or postpone

Example – We’ve had to put off the football match due to the snow.

Phrasal verb with TAKE:

Take down – to remove something from a previous place

Example – We need to take down the Christmas decorations now.

This is just a selection of phrasal verbs and how they can be used in sentences. As I said earlier, there are over 10,000 phrasal verbs, so I can’t give examples of them all 😊! However, as always with my grammar blogs, feel free to contact me with your feedback or get in touch to share your experiences using the different grammar aspects I write about!