PHRASAL VERBS IN ENGLISH VOCABULARYE-Learning English Vocabulary 

PHRASAL VERBS IN ENGLISH VOCABULARY

Phrasal verbs are in very common use in spoken and colloquial English. However they are idiomatic and students need to give them special attention if they wish to speak the language fluently.

 

“A phrasal verb is a verb followed by a preposition or an adverb; the combination creates a meaning different from the original verb alone.”

Example :

 

To get  =  to obtain

I need to get a new battery for my camera.

To get together  =  to meet 

Why don’t we all get together for lunch one day?

 

It is essential for students who are learning English as a foreign language to master phrasal verbs. They take the following forms:

  • verb +adverb
  • verb+ preposition
  • verb+ adverb+ preposition

NOTE:- Phrasal verbs have to be learned because many of them are idiomatic, in other words you cannot deduce their meaning. Take the common phrasal verb ‘put’ and its different meanings.

  • I decided to put on my best clothes – I got dressed
  • My mother put on a lot of weight over Christmas – she increased in weight
  • I wanted to go out for a walk but the weather put me off. It discouraged me
  • John put off going on holiday for another month. He postponed it.
  • We have put aside some money for Christmas. We have saved it.

NOTE:-   There are still other phrases such as put out, put through, put up, put up with meaning extinguish, connect, give accommodation and tolerate, respectively. All rather difficult to understand when the verb ‘to put’ means simply to ’to move or place something’ – I put my glass on the table.

  • I decided to put on my best clothes – I got dressed
  • My mother put on a lot of weight over Christmas – she increased in weight
  • I wanted to go out for a walk but the weather put me off. It discouraged me.
  • John put off going on holiday for another month. He postponed it.
  • We have put aside some money for Christmas. We have saved it.

NOTE:- There are still other phrases such as put out, put through, put up, put up with meaning extinguish, connect, give accommodation and tolerate, respectively. All rather difficult to understand when the verb ‘to put’ means simply to ’to move or place something’ – I put my glass on the table.

English is known for its use of many phrasal verbs which is why it is important to learn them thoroughly. They are very common in spoken and colloquial English although less so in formal or written form. For instance in conversation someone might say ‘I’ve gone through all the house but I cannot find my keys’ but in written or more formal conversation they would say ‘I have searched all the house.

Exercise

 Underline the phrasal verbs in these texts. Remember the particle or preposition may not be immediately next to the verb.

  1. I decided to take up gardening, so I went to the library, took a book out and read up on the subject. I found out so many interesting things, such as the best time to plant flowers out for the summer and how to grow vegetables. I’ve really got into it now and spend hours in the garden every weekend.
  2. The other day we went off on a hike in the mountains. We put our wet-weather gear on as the weather forecast wasn’t good. We set off early to avoid the rush hour and soon reached the starting point for our walk. The whole walk took about four hours and when we got back we were exhausted.
  3. I have to catch up on my coursework this weekend as I’ve fallen behind a bit. I worked on till midnight last night but I still have loads to do. I have to hand one essay in on Tuesday and another one on Friday. I’m not sure whether I’ll make it, but I’ll try.

We often use verbs with these words:

On                                   Off

In                                    Out

Up                                  Down

Away                              Back

Over                               About

Round                            Forward

Through                         along

 Now let us look at the phrasal verbs given below:-

  1. Put about

                To put about is to start a rumor or to create trouble.

  1. Put across

                To put across is to communicate an idea well so that others can understand it.

      Example :She could not put across her plan.

      He puts himself across well.

  1. Put aside / by

                To put something aside is to save it for future use. The expression ‘set aside’               has the same meaning.

  1. Put aside can also mean ‘place to one side’.

       Put aside those books and come with me.

  1. Put away

             To put something away is to save it for later use.

             You must learn to put away a few dollars a week.

             To put away is to discard.

             Example : The master exhorted his students to put away those superstitions.

               To put somebody away is to confine them in a mental hospital or a jail.

     Example:  He was put away for five years.

  1. Put down

               To put something down is to write it down or register.

               To put down a rebellion is to suppress it.

               Put down can also mean ‘attribute’ or ‘ascribe’.

            Example:  I would rather put down these mistakes to carelessness.

  1. Put forth

                 To put forth is to bring out or propose.

                 Example: No one has put forth a viable solution

                 To put forth can also mean ‘exert’ or ‘exercise’.

                 Example:  They put forth their best effort to win.

  1. Put forward

          To put something forward is to propose it.

          Example:  Jane put forward an interesting idea.

  1. Take over –to take charge; to assume control

          Example:  The competition was in 1 hour so there would have been no time for another member of the crew to try to take over the controls.

  1. Come in – to receive or acquire something. (Also literal.)

        Example:  Don’t just stand outside in the snow; come on in and sit by the fireplace. Much feedback from Korean citizens will come in if Namdaemun is to be rebuilt.

  1. Look forward to

           a- To expect (something) with pleasure.
          Example: “William is really looking forward to going on holiday”

  1. Look up

         a- Improve.
         Example: “The economy is finally looking up”

         b- To search for (something) in a reference book, on the Internet, etc.
         Example: “Let’s look up his number in the yellow pages”

  1. Make out

         a- To write down the required information on (something, such as a check).
        Example: “Who shall I make the check out to?”

        b- To hear and understand (something)
        Example: “I can’t make out what you’re saying, can you speak louder?”

        c- To kiss and touch for a long time in a sexual way.
        Example: “We made out in the back of his car”

  1. Pass out

        a- To fall asleep or become unconscious.
        Example: “Lisa was so tired, she got home and passed out on the sofa”

        b- to give (something) to several or many people.
        Example: “I passed out leaflets with information on our course”

  1. Pull over

         a- To move a vehicle to the side of the road and stop.
        Example: “That looks like a lovely restaurant, can you pull the car over and park?”

  1. Put down

        To place (someone or something that you have been holding or carrying) on a  table, on the floor, etc.
        Example: “You can put the suitcases down in the bedroom”

        To write (something) : to record (something) in writing
        Example: “He put down his memories to write a book when he was older”

         c- To give (an amount of money) as a first payment when you are buying something that costs a lot of money
       Example: “My husband and I are going to put down some money to buy that house in the centre of town”

        d- To kill (an animal) in a way that causes it little pain usually because it is injured or sick
        Example: “Jessica had to have her rabbit put down; it was very sick”

  1. Put off

         a- To decide that (something) will happen at a later time : postpone.
         Example: “Graham was so tired he put the shopping off until next week”

         b- To cause (someone) to dislike someone or something
       Example: “You’re putting me off my food, stop talking about insects!”

  1. Put up with

         a- To allow (someone or something unpleasant or annoying) to exist or happen.
       Example: “My mother won’t put up with my sisters or I swearing”

  1. Turn up

        a- To be found usually unexpectedly.
       Example: “Oh! My phone turned up in my bed!”

        b- To arrive at a place
       Example: “As always, Julian turned up late”

        c- To increase the volume, temperature, etc., of something by pressing a button, moving a switch, etc.
       Example: “Please turn the music up, I love this song!”

20 .  Watch out

         a- To be aware of something dangerous.
         Example: “Watch out in the mountain, there are bears there!”

 

 

See few more examples:

Be away

Get down

Put up with

Get off

Get down

Be our

Hand over

Hand in

Hand out

Jot down

Dream up

Go on

 

Jack in

Knuckle down

Leap up

Lay down

Let down

Let out

Let off

Mess up

Be on

Set out

Cling on

Do up

By: Dr. Riju Pawar, TPO, Radha Govind Group of Institutions, Meerut
The author has more than 12 years of experience in English language & Literacy. 

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