Learn Laugh Speak. Phrasal Verbs. Full Guide Explained Simply.

The Ultimate Guide To Understanding Phrasal Verbs

The Ultimate Guide To Understanding Phrasal Verbs

It can sometimes be hard to understand what a word means when it has been used in an unusual way. Phrasal verbs are a type of verb that is made up of two words, which often include an adverb, verb and preposition or adverb. These types of verbs often have a different meaning than if they were just the verb on its own. For example, to put something off could mean to delay doing something or to make it less likely for someone to do something. Every language has phrases like this, but English speakers tend to use them more often than speakers of other languages might!

What are phrasal verbs?

Phrasal verbs are two-word phrases that consist of a verb and a preposition or adverb. The combination of these two words creates a new meaning that is different from the original verb. Phrasal verbs are common in both spoken and written English.

There are three types of phrasal verbs: separable, inseparable, and semi-separable. Separable phrasal verbs can be separated by an object. The object can be a noun, pronoun, or gerund. For example, in the sentence “I’m looking forward to seeing you,” the phrase “looking forward to” is separable because it can be separated by the object “you.” In contrast, inseparable phrasal verbs cannot be separated by an object. In the sentence “She’s running late for her appointment,” the phrase “running late” is inseparable because it cannot be separated by an object. Semi-separable phrasal verbs can be partially separated by an object. In the sentence “We put up with his bad behavior,” the phrase “put up with” is semi-separable because it can be partially separated by the object “his.”

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Phrasal verbs are often used in informal situations. However, they can also be used in formal situations. It is important to choose the right phrasal verb for the situation. For example, if you want to say that someone continues to do something even though it is difficult, you would

What is the difference between phrasal verbs and other verbs?

When it comes to verbs, there are a few different types that you might come across. These include action verbs, linking verbs, and helping verbs. However, one type of verb that often causes confusion is the phrasal verb.

So, what exactly is a phrasal verb? A phrasal verb is a verb that is made up of two or more words (usually a verb and a preposition or adverb). For example, the verb “pick up” is made up of the words “pick” and “up.”


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Phrasal verbs often have a different meaning than the individual words that make them up. For example, the phrasal verb “pick up” can mean to lift something off of the ground, or it can also mean to learn something new.

Now that you know what a phrasal verb is, you might be wondering how it differs from other types of verbs. Here are some key differences:

1. Phrasal verbs are often more informal than other verbs. This means that they are more commonly used in everyday speech than in formal writing.

2. Phrasal verbs often have multiple meanings. As we saw with the example of “pick up,” one phrasal verb can sometimes have several different meanings. This can be confusing for learners of English as a second language.

3. Phrasal verbs are not always regular. This means that they do not always follow the same rules as other verbs when it comes to conjugation (changing the verb to fit the subject). For example, the regular verb “read” becomes “reads” in the present tense, but the phrasal verb “pick up” remains the same.

How do you use phrasal verbs?

If you’re wondering how to use phrasal verbs, the answer is quite simple. Just like any other verb, you can use them in a sentence to indicate an action. For example, if you wanted to say “I’m looking for my keys,” you could use the phrasal verb “look for.”

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Phrasal verbs are made up of a verb and one or more adverbs or prepositions. The combination of these two words changes the meaning of the original verb. In the example sentence above, the addition of “for” changes the meaning of “look” from simply observing something to actively searching for something.

There are many different types of phrasal verbs, so it’s important to choose the right one for the situation. For example, if you want to say “I put my books on the shelf,” you would use the phrasal verb “put up.” However, if you want to say “I put my books away,” you would use a different phrasal verb, “put away.”

To help you choose the right phrasal verb, here are some tips:

– Pay attention to the context clues in the sentence. This will help you determine which meaning of the verb is being used.

– If you’re unsure about which phrasal verb to use, try using a dictionary or doing a quick Google search.

– Don’t be afraid to experiment with different phrasal verbs. The more you use them, the more comfortable you’ll become with them.


Examples of phrasal verbs

There are literally thousands of phrasal verbs in the English language, so it’s impossible to list them all here. However, we can give you some examples of commonly used phrasal verbs to help you understand how they work.

The most basic type of phrasal verb is made up of a verb and a particle, such as “get up,” “turn off,” or “put down.” These types of phrasal verbs usually have a literal meaning and a figurative meaning. For example, when you “get up” from your chair, you’re literally rising to a standing position. But if you “get up” your courage, you’re figuratively mustering the bravery to do something difficult.

Other types of phrasal verbs include intransitive phrasal verbs (which don’t take an object), transitive separable phrasal verbs (which take an object that can go between the verb and particle), and transitive inseparable phrasal verbs (which take an object that can’t go between the verb and particle).

Here are some examples of each type of phrasal verb:

Intransitive: break down, back out, blow over
Transitive separable: pick up, look after, bring about
Transitive inseparable: run into, get through, put up with

Thank you for reading!

This was written by me. Bryce Purnell, founder of Learn Laugh Speak.

Check out more on my Medium or send me an email if you’re ever curious about anything at all 


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