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Ricardo Garrett
Ricardo Garrett

English Phrasal Verbs In Use


English has a number of verbs used with particles. Examples are get up, take off, sit down, go out. These phrasal verbs are extremely common in everyday usage and are made with some of the most frequently used verbs and particles in English. The verbs include get, go, come, take, make, do, and the particles include words such as up, in, out, on, off, down. Here are some examples in sentences:




English Phrasal Verbs in Use



Phrasal verbs are closely related to prepositional verbs, which consist of a verb, a preposition and an object, for example, It depends on the weather; She looked at me. Sometimes, the two types are combined in phrasal-prepositional verbs, as in You have to face up to your responsibilities; I must get on with my essay.


What we see from these examples is some phrasal verbs can take an object (e.g. put on) and the object may come before or after the particle, but not if it is a pronoun (e.g. it). Other phrasal verbs take no object (e.g. eat out) but can be used with adverbial phrases (e.g. at a local restaurant).Phrasal verbs often function as informal versions of more formal expressions. For example, I really messed up is more informal than I made some serious mistakes. Prices have shot up is more informal than prices have soared. Being aware of formality is also important.All this means that phrasal verbs present a considerable challenge to teachers and learners.


The first thing we need to do is to establish realistic targets for learning these types of verbs. To do this, a large corpus (computerised database of spoken and written texts) is essential. The Cambridge Phrasal Verbs Dictionary and English Phrasal Verbs in Use were both written using a database of phrasal verbs from the multi-billion-word Cambridge English Corpus. We cannot possibly teach 6,000 phrasal verbs, but the corpus enables us to extract the most common ones to offer to learners. The advanced level of English Phrasal Verbs in Use, for example, covers 1,000 items, which for an advanced level learner is a realistic target for learning.


As with all aspects of vocabulary learning, we can never teach enough items, so, along with learning new phrasal verbs, it is important to train learners in an awareness of what phrasal verbs are and how they operate in context. In that way, we help to create learners for life.


What is a phrasal verb? A phrasal verb is a group of words that functions as a verb and is made up of a verb plus a preposition, an adverb, or both. They are important in English. Here are 3 phrasal verbs that you may already know:


Why are phrasal verbs important? It is important to learn phrasal verbs because they are very common in English, and because the meaning of a verb often changes significantly when it is used in a phrasal verb.


What is the best way to learn how to use phrasal verbs? The best way to learn how a phrasal verb is to look it up on LearnersDictionary.com and read the example sentences that show how it is used. The example sentences have been selected to illustrate the correct use of these words.


One more thing: Phrasal verbs less appropriate in formal language. If you are writing a formal document or an academic essay, try to avoid using phrasal verbs and use more formal alternatives instead. You can find alternatives in the dictionary.


Speaking of browsers, another phrasal verb that became a noun is plug in. You know that you can plug a wire into the wall. Now, we add small programs to perform specific tasks in the computer, and call them plugins.


One of the best ways to learn English phrasal verbs is to see them in context. This lesson will teach you 15 common English phrasal verbs related to sports and health by showing each one in use in an example sentence.


  • The following is a list of commonly deployed phrasal verbs that find one use or another in academic texts. These (and others) can be acceptably used in academic texts. Along with these examples, however, are a number of one-word substitutions to illustrate that in each case the phrasal verb can be easily replaced.Table of contentsSeparable

  • Inseparable



This flexibility means that although these substitutions work for the examples given, and although the examples are common uses of phrasal verbs, a suggested replacement will not cover every possible use of its phrasal verb.


Sometimes it can be tricky to do on your own, though, especially since phrasal verbs might be split up or you might have trouble figuring out the exact meaning. As an English learning resource, FluentU approaches this by combining native English content with interactive subtitles that explain phrasal verbs, slang, and other expressions:


In the traditional grammar of Modern English, a phrasal verb typically constitutes a single semantic unit composed of a verb followed by a particle (examples: turn down, run into or sit up), sometimes combined with a preposition (examples: get together with, run out of or feed off of). Alternative terms include verb-adverb combination, verb-particle construction, two-part word/verb or three-part word/verb (depending on the number of particles) and multi-word verb.[1]


Phrasal verbs ordinarily cannot be understood based upon the meanings of the individual parts alone but must be considered as a whole: the meaning is non-compositional and thus unpredictable.[2] Phrasal verbs are differentiated from other classifications of multi-word verbs and free combinations by criteria based on idiomaticity, replacement by a single-word verb, wh-question formation and particle movement.[3][4]


The category "phrasal verb" is mainly used in English as a second language teaching. Some textbooks restrict the term to verbs with particles in order to distinguish phrasal verbs from prepositional verbs.[5] Others include verbs with prepositions under the same category and distinguish particle verbs and prepositional verbs as two types of phrasal verbs.[6] Since a prepositional phrase can complement a particle verb, some explanations distinguish three types of phrasal verb constructions depending on whether the verb combines with a particle, a preposition phrase, or both,[7] though the third type is not a distinct linguistic phenomenon.


Particle verbs (phrasal verbs in the strict sense) are two-word verbs composed of a simple verb and a particle extension that modifies its meaning. The particle is thus integrally collocated with the verb. In older grammars, the particle was usually analyzed as an adverb.[8][9]


In these examples, the common verbs grow and give are expanded by the particles up and in. The resulting two-word verbs are single semantic units, so grow up and give in are listed as discrete entries in modern dictionaries.


In general, the discrete meanings associated with phrasal verbs cannot be readily understood solely by construing the sum of their respective parts: the meaning of pick up is distinct from the various meanings of pick and up, and may acquire disparate meanings depending on its contextual usage. Similarly, the meaning of hang out is not conspicuously related to a particular definition of hang or out.


While this distinction is of interest to linguists, it is not necessarily important for language learners, and some textbooks recommend learning phrasal verbs as whole collocations without considering types.[9]


The terminology of phrasal verbs is inconsistent. Modern theories of syntax tend to use the term phrasal verb to denote particle verbs only; they do not view prepositional verbs as phrasal verbs.[18] In contrast, literature in English as a second or foreign language ESL/EFL, tends to employ the term phrasal verb to encompass both prepositional and particle verbs.[19]


Note that prepositions and adverbs can have a literal meaning that may be spatial or orientational. Many English verbs interact with a preposition or an adverb to yield a meaning that can be readily understood from the constituent elements.


The terminology used to denote the particle is also inconsistent. Sometimes it is called an adverb and at other times an intransitive prepositional phrase.[20] The inconsistent use of terminology in these areas may be a source of confusion regarding what qualifies as a phrasal verb and the status of the particle or a preposition.


The value of this choice and its alternatives (including separable verb for Germanic languages) is debatable. In origin the concept is based on translation linguistics; as many single-word English and Latinate words are translatable by a phrasal verb complex in English, therefore the logic is that the phrasal verb complex must be a complete semantic unit in itself. One should consider in this regard that the actual term phrasal verb suggests that such constructions should form phrases. In most cases however, they clearly do not form phrases. Hence the very term phrasal verb is misleading and a source of confusion, which has motivated some to reject the term outright.[22]


A complex aspect of phrasal verbs concerns the syntax of particle verbs that are transitive (as discussed and illustrated above). These allow some variability, depending on the relative weight of the constituents involved. Shifting often occurs when the object is very light, e.g.


By contrast, particle verbs are much rarer in cross-language comparison. Middle English particle verbs developed from Old English prefixed verbs: OE inngan > English go in.[23][5] They are related to the separable verbs in other Germanic languages, which can be seen historically as a parallel, though independent development. For example, in Dutch, de lamp aansteken (to light the lamp) becomes ik steek de lamp aan (I light the lamp on) in a principal clause. 041b061a72


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