What is a Phrasal Verb?

Commonly used and commonly misunderstood

So, what is a phrasal verb?

Sometimes called a compound verb, a phrasal verb is a group of words that function as one. Phrasal verbs are composed of a verb with a preposition or adverb, or both. Verb + preposition Verb + adverb Verb + preposition + adverb

Phrasal verbs with prepositions

Look after - to take care of someone or something (My friend will look after my dog while I’m on vacation.) Talk about - to discuss (Can we meet later today? There’s something we need to talk about.) Get through - to pass through an experience or period of time, usually one that’s challenging in some way (We tried to watch that scary movie, but we couldn’t get through the first ten minutes!)

Phrasal verbs with adverbs

Look up - to research (Can you look up the name of the actor in this movie?) Turn down - to refuse or decline (My parents were shocked when I turned down the offer.) Get up - to leave the bed after sleeping (My bed was so comfortable that I didn’t want to get up!)

Phrasal verbs with both

Look forward to - to anticipate (I’m really looking forward to meeting your parents tomorrow night!) Put up with - to tolerate or endure something or someone unpleasant (Your boss is so rude! I don’t know how you put up with him!) Run out of - for a supply of something to be completely used up ( I bought extra eggs just to make sure we don’t run out of them.)

Phrasal verbs in context

Phrasal verbs can often change meaning based on the context they’re used in. For example Give up To discontinue an effort (She finally gave up her dream of being a clown.) To give something to someone after a period of resistance (The suspect finally gave up the information.) Break off To end an agreement, oftentimes abruptly and under negative circumstances (She broke off her engagement when she heard the truth.) For a piece of something to break and be entirely removed from the original (A piece of my screen broke off when I dropped my phone.) Phrasal verbs are really important! English speakers use phrasal verbs extensively in their everyday speech. Many phrasal verbs aren’t appropriate for very formal or academic settings, such as writing an important university paper. However, most English speaking is done in situations where formality is not much of an issue. Sometimes there can be several phrasal verbs used in one sentence! Many times, English speakers simply drop the rest of the sentence and just use the phrasal verb! Standalone phrasal verb examples “Come on.” (Often said with the intention of inviting or urging someone to follow the speaker) “Get out!” (To very aggressively urge someone to leave a space) “Go away!” (To very aggressively make someone leave the speaker or their vicinity) “Get in.” (To encourage someone to enter a space, such as a vehicle) Phrasal verbs have many uses. Their flexible meanings allow you to create unique, natural sounding sentences in English. So, make sure to brush up on your phrasal verb knowledge in order to speak and understand English more fluently!
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