Phrasal Verbs 11


“No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.”

A phrasal verb is an idiomatic phrase made up of a verb and a particle, typically either an adverb, as in break down (cease to function), or a preposition, for example look into (investigate), or a combination of both, such as look forward to (await eagerly).

As mentioned in earlier posts, idioms should only be used with caution. Phrasal verbs, on the other hand, are almost unavoidable. They are an important part of everyday language and are also often used in more formal language instead of a more formal verb, even in business. For example put off (postpone) and call off (cancel) are standard expressions when it comes to arranging meetings.
In some cases the more formal verbs have become almost too formal and the phrasal verb has become the preferred choice. For example, if you were to offer to accommodate or house somebody, this might sound slightly stiff. To put someone up would sound much more natural, e.g. If you are ever in town I can put you up for a few days.

Another challenge for learners is that many phrasal verbs have more than one meaning, although the differences mostly become clear in context. e.g.
put down – criticize, lay a baby down to sleep, kill, pay a deposit, land (an aeroplane)
put off – postpone, cause someone to lose interest or enthusiasm, cause someone to feel dislike or distrust, distract someone
Of course, you can decide whether to put off or postpone the meeting, but understanding phrasal verbs will greatly enrich your language.

get up – get out of bed
show up – arrive
dress up –  dress in smart or formal clothes
get dressed –  put on one’s clothes
stiff – formal, cold

Phrasal Verbs – Money (Vocabulary)
Phrasal Verbs – Money (In context)
Phrasal Verbs – General (Vocabulary)
Phrasal Verbs – General (In context)

11 thoughts on “Phrasal Verbs

  1. Reply brahim Sep 15,2013 %I:%M %p

    Very useful, keep up the good work ;)

  2. Reply Peter Johnson Sep 16,2013 %I:%M %p

    Hi buddy,
    Excellent public service. Fantastic website. You desrve high praise for dedicating your website for the benefit of the global community.
    In the next issue, please include some advanced verbal phrases for the benefit of University students, with sentence examples and exercises.
    Great job. Continue with your noble service.

  3. Reply Tatyana Letyaikina Sep 17,2013 %I:%M %p

    Hi! Thank for your work, special thanks for context. And it would be even better if you could split practice exercise in manageable parts: e.g. ‘money’: verbs denoting increase/dicrease/obtaining. When they are too many on a page then it looks overloading and it’s a bit frustrating. Good luck! Tatyana A.

  4. Reply anny Sep 17,2013 %I:%M %p

    very educative please keep it up

  5. Reply Michael Sullivan Sep 19,2013 %I:%M %p


    do you think “turn up” can be used for “investigate” or “find?” “turn down” can mean “refuse” but “turn up” doesn’t mean “accept.”

    why not? i suppose one might say, “have you turned up anything interesting lately?” though i don’t hear people use this.

    mike sullivan

  6. Reply Shabnam Sultana Sep 19,2013 %I:%M %p


    Very useful for my learners.

  7. Reply joy Sep 25,2013 %I:%M %p

    Great stuff!

  8. Reply Amy Oct 12,2013 %I:%M %p

    could someone please tell me what is the regular charge per hour of ESL teaching now a days???

  9. Reply Carolyn B. Coughlin Mar 26,2015 %I:%M %p

    I enjoyed looking at your blog, particularly phrasal verbs, which can be quite challenging for new English language learners. You have categorized the verbs nicely, with manageable breakdown.

  10. Reply Leesa Johnson Aug 1,2017 %I:%M %p

    Nice post. You have shared a quality post on topic ‘phrasal verbs’ which is good for English language learners.

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