PHRASAL VERBS EXERCISES
Every week, Break Into English will teach you five new phrasal verbs in English with images, definitions, examples and remarks. Follow us regularly and learn all the main English phrasal verbs you’ll need to speak like a native!
Click on the Phrasal Verbs below to learn their meanings and practice using them with a quick exercise:
WHAT ARE PHRASAL VERBS?
The term phrasal verbs is usually used to describe two or three distinct but related constructions in English: a verb and a particle and/or a preposition to form a single semantic unit. This unit cannot be understood based upon the meanings of the individual parts on their own, but rather it must be taken as a whole. Phrasal verbs that use a preposition are called prepositional verbs and phrasal verbs that use a particle are also called particle verbs. Other names for phrasal verb are compound verb, verb-particle construction, verb-adverb combination, two-part verb, and three-part verb and multi-word verb.
There are three main types of phrasal verb constructions depending on whether the verb is used with a preposition, a particle, or both. The words making up the phrasal verb constructions in the following examples are in bold:
- Verb + preposition (prepositional phrasal verbs)
- a. She ran into an old friend. – into is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase into an old friend.
- b. We picked on nobody. – on is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase on nobody.
- c. Who is looking after the children? – after is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase after the children.
- d. He takes after his father. – after is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase after his father.
- e. John passes for a pianist. – for is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase for a pianist.
- f. You should stand by your decision. – by is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase by your decision.
- Verb + particle (particle phrasal verbs)
- a. They brought that up twice. – up is a particle, not a preposition.
- b. You should think it over. – over is a particle, not a preposition.
- c. Why does he always dress down? – down is a particle, not a preposition.
- d. You should not give in so quickly. – in is a particle, not a preposition.
- e. Where do they want to hang out? – out is a particle, not a preposition.
- f. She handed it in. – in is a particle, not a preposition.
- Verb + particle + preposition (particle-prepositional phrasal verbs)
- a. Who can put up with this? – up is a particle and with is a preposition.
- b. She is looking forward to a vacation. – forward is a particle and to is a preposition.
- c. We stocked up on soda and peanuts. – up is a particle and on is a preposition
- d. Jill has been sitting in for me. – in is a particle and for is a preposition.
The difference between these types of phrasal verbs is the function of the element or elements that appear in apart from the verb. When the elements form part of a preposition the phrasal verb is a prepositional phrasal verb. When the element is a particle, it can not be considered as a preposition, but rather it’s a particle because it does not take a complement. Finally, many phrasal verbs are used with both a preposition and a particle.
What all of these types of phrasal verbs have in common is the fact that their meaning cannot be understood based upon the meaning of their parts taken in alone one by one. When one picks someone up, one is not selecting that person for anything, but rather taking them somewhere in a vehicle. When one runs over something, one is in no way actually running but driving or at the very least rolling. The meaning of the two or more words together is often very different from what one might guess it to be, based upon the meanings of the individual parts on their own.
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