PHRASAL VERBS – Definition
PHRASAL VERBS are sometimes called two-word or three-word verbs, or verb phrases.
A Phrasal Verb is a verb plus a particle. A particle is a small word. Usually, but not always, the particle is a preposition.
Many Phrasal Verbs are idiomatic. This means that if you know the meaning of the individual words, it will not help you understand the meaning of the Phrasal Verb. When the words are put together, the meaning changes.
For example, your friend tells you that they are going to give up smoking. You know that give means to make a present and that up is a direction. You are confused!
But if you know that the Phrasal Verb give up means to quit doing something, then you know that your friend plans to stop smoking.
Spoken English is filled with Phrasal Verbs. You MUST learn Phrasal Verbs in order to understand spoken English.
Here is a simple overview of the rules for Phrasal Verbs.
There are two kinds of Phrasal Verbs – inseparable and separable.
1. Inseparable Phrasal Verbs are easy. You use them the same way you would use any main verb.
eg. Check out means to pay your bill and return your key card when you leave a hotel. “We should check out at 11:00 am.”
2. Separable Phrasal Verbs can be kept together or separated.
Remember that basic sentence structure is: SUBJECT + VERB + OBJECT
With a Separable Phrasal Verb the OBJECT goes between the two parts of the Phrasal Verb.
eg. Hand in means to give something to someone in authority. “Please hand in your tests.” “Please hand your tests in.”
Some Phrasal Verbs have many meanings. On this website, we have included the meaning that relates to the blog where the Phrasal Verb is used.
More definitions are included in our free Phrasal Verb e-book.
This e-book also explains more of the rules, and ways to use each Phrasal Verb.
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Note: We used s.o. for someone and s.t. for something in the Phrasal Verb definitions.