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Phrasal verbs

Average: 3.7 (19 votes)

Some verbs are made up of two parts; a verb and a particle:
Make + up -...are made up...

Grow + up
He is growing up into a smart young boy.

The particle often gives the verb a new meaning:
Take + in
It's difficult to take in so much information.
It's difficult to remember/absorb so much information.

Take + after
Sarah takes after her mother.
Sarah looks or behaves like her mother.

Some phrasal verbs are two part transitive verbs which only have one pattern
She takes after her mother.
She                             takes after                  her mother
Noun (subject)        verb + particle         noun (object)
I                                   can count on                        my brother
My father                   comes from               London

Some phrasal verbs are two part transitive verbs which have two different patterns
She gave the money back
She                             gave                           the money                 back
Noun                          verb                            noun                          particle
He                               knocked                     the glass                    over
They                           will be leaving          their cat                      behind
But sometimes these verbs have a different pattern
She gave back the money.
She                             gave back                  the money
Noun (subject)        verb + particle         noun (object)
He                               knocked over                        the glass
They                           will leave behind      their cat

When the object is a personal pronoun these verbs always have this pattern:
Noun + verb + noun + particle
She gave it back.
He knocked it over.
They will leave it behind.

Most phrasal verbs are transitive however some phrasal verbs can be intransitive:
He hasn’t woken up.
The money ran out.

Lesson by Tristan, English teacher at EC Malta English school

Choose the right explanation for the phrasal verbs in the following:

  • 1. What did the injured man say when he 'came to'?

  • 2. The manager suspected Peter was 'covering up' for John.

  • 3. Mary was 'cut off' while she was talking to Sarah on the phone.

  • 4. Did your sister 'get through' her driving test yesterday?

  • 5. How does he manage to 'get off' helping with the house chores?

  • 6. I think Sarah will 'get over' her ex.

  • 7. The meat has 'gone off' because of the heat.

  • 8. 'Hang on' for a minute and I’ll help you.

  • 9. Peter 'jumped at' the opportunity to work abroad.

  • 10. We 'let off' fireworks at the wedding.