To phrasal verb or not to phrasal verb, that is the question

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Nadim BakriEnglisch
30. März 2017
916
3 Minuten
So, you've reached B2 (upper intermediate) English and it suddenly 'hits you' ('dawns on you,' 'strikes you') that you've never used a phrasal verb in your life!

Well well well. What would Shakespeare say?

Phrasal verbs are short-cuts to meaning that you should be using - especially when speaking to native speakers. I would personally avoid using them with intermediate level and below speakers in order to avoid confusion, but in general conversation with native speakers they will be scattered about the place, so you should be learning them....NOW.

But here lies the problem. Which ones are the most useful? Which ones have more than one meaning?

Luckily for us, Gardner and Davis (2007) analysed a 100,000,000 word English language corpus to identify the most frequently used phrasal verbs.

Here are the results, with definitions and example sentences for each. I will post 20 more each week as there are more than 100, so keep an eye out! Remember, practise practise :-)

Go on - to continue or start

  • It’s hard to go on like this
  • The lights go on at night

Carry out - to do or complete something

  • The students carried out their plan to perfection

Set up - to start an organisation; to arrange; to make equipment ready

  • I want to set up a business
  • He set up a meeting
  • I will set up the computer

Pick up - to lift something; to take someone in a car; to learn something new

  • He picked up the box
  • I will pick you up later
  • I’m picking up a new skill

Go back - to return; to have existed since

  • We’re going back home
  • It goes back a long time

Come back - to return; to remember again; to be fashionable again

  • We came back last night
  • It (the memory) will come back to me
  • Hats are due to come back

Go out - to leave your home, to go and enjoy, to be romantically involved

  • We’re going out in a bit (in a little while)
  • Let’s go out tonight
  • Are they going out together?

Point out - to indicate/show/tell (someone/where/thing)

  • Can you point him out?
  • Thanks for pointing it out

Find out - to discover a piece of information

  • I found out (about) something very interesting yesterday

Come up - to approach someone; to become available; to arise (a problem)

  • She came up to me
  • A job has come up
  • A problem came up

Make up - to invent an explanation, story, or poem; to constitute; to become friends again

  • He made up a lie
  • I made up a lovely story
  • Women make up almost 50% of the workforce in developed countries
  • We made up last week after a big fight

Take over - to take control of something

  • I’ll take over the driving when we’re half way there
  • The new rulers took over the country

Come out - to become available; to be removed; to become known

  • The film hasn’t come out yet (it hasn't premiered)
  • The stain won’t come out
  • Everything came out in the end (all the information)

Come on - to progress or improve; to start functioning; to hurry someone; to appear on tv/radio/stage

  • My studies are coming on very well thank you
  • The lights came on at 9pm
  • Come on slowcoach let’s go!
  • He came on in the middle of the show

Come in - to enter; to go to your place of work; to be useful

  • Please come in
  • I can’t come in to work today
  • A pen and piece of paper come in handy/useful sometimes

Go down - to reach a lower point; to decrease

  • The sun goes down at 7pm
  • Prices must go down soon

Work out - to solve a problem; to do physical exercise; to understand someone

  • Can you work this math problem out?
  • I’m going to work out at the gym now
  • I can’t work him out at all

Set out - to begin a journey; to explain something clearly

  • We’re setting out today
  • Can you set it all out for me?

Take up - to start a new hobby; to fill a space

  • I want to take up golf as a new hobby
  • The table took up the whole room

Get back - to return from; to receive something given/lost/stolen; to get revenge

  • We need to get back home right now
  • He borrowed a t-shirt and I need to get it back soon
  • I want to get back at her for what she did



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Nadim

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Englisch
globe
Vereinigtes Königreich
time
34
Englisch
Muttersprachler
,
Spanisch
C1
,
Portugiesisch
B1
,
Italienisch
A2
Hello! N.B. Please schedule classes with at least 48 hours notice! I'm Nadim from Canterbury, south-east England. I am a native British English language teacher with over five years teaching experience. I teach and have taught online (1500+ hours), offline (2500+ hours), one-to-one, group, and from ages six to 66. I also develop and create English language courses and materials. I have some great resources I can share with you for free. Ask me. As far as language teaching qualifications are concerned, I have a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults; Cambridge English). Apart from teaching English I have worked in healthcare management and recruitment consultancy in England. I speak English natively, Spanish fluently (I live in Colombia), Portuguese not too badly, and Italian-ish (ish!). Whether you want focused business English, general vocabulary building, grammar clinics, film/movie English, reading (working together to find materials that connects with you), pronunciation and speaking skills, writing practice, or just to have a chit chat with someone who knows how to ask questions, come and say hello sometime. I take all students, from A1-C2 (beginner to advanced). Whatever your level, whatever your reason. Have a good morning/afternoon/evening/night. Thank you for reading. Nadim P.S. There is one mistake (error) in my profile text above. Can you spot (see) it? Have fun!
Flag
Englisch
globe
Vereinigtes Königreich
time
34
Englisch
Muttersprachler
,
Spanisch
C1
,
Portugiesisch
B1
,
Italienisch
A2
Hello! N.B. Please schedule classes with at least 48 hours notice! I'm Nadim from Canterbury, south-east England. I am a native British English language teacher with over five years teaching experience. I teach and have taught online (1500+ hours), offline (2500+ hours), one-to-one, group, and from ages six to 66. I also develop and create English language courses and materials. I have some great resources I can share with you for free. Ask me. As far as language teaching qualifications are concerned, I have a CELTA (Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults; Cambridge English). Apart from teaching English I have worked in healthcare management and recruitment consultancy in England. I speak English natively, Spanish fluently (I live in Colombia), Portuguese not too badly, and Italian-ish (ish!). Whether you want focused business English, general vocabulary building, grammar clinics, film/movie English, reading (working together to find materials that connects with you), pronunciation and speaking skills, writing practice, or just to have a chit chat with someone who knows how to ask questions, come and say hello sometime. I take all students, from A1-C2 (beginner to advanced). Whatever your level, whatever your reason. Have a good morning/afternoon/evening/night. Thank you for reading. Nadim P.S. There is one mistake (error) in my profile text above. Can you spot (see) it? Have fun!

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