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What are phrasal verbs?

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A phrasal verb is a verb that has two or more words.

They are basically made of a verb and a particle.

For example:

Turn up means increase volume: Turn up the radio, I love this song!

Call off means cancel: They called off the football game because of the bad weather.

Take back means return: I need to take back these books to the library.

Changing Participles

Changing the participle used with a verb totally changes its meaning.

Keep on means continue: He kept on working after everyone else went home.

Keep out means prevent from entering: Please keep out of my bedroom.

Keep up means stay on schedule: I found it hard to keep up with my friends when we all went jogging.

Splitting Phrasal Verbs

Some phrasal verbs may be split i.e. the object of the sentence can come after the phrasal verbs or in-between the two parts. This does not change its meaning.

I gave away some old books to a charity store.

I gave some old books away to a charity store.

Other phrasal verbs cannot be split. For example: My alarm goes off at 6am, is correct, but, My goes alarm off at 6am, is not.

Phrasal verbs are very common particularly in casual English. Let's test your knowledge - complete these sentences with the correct phrasal verb.

  • 1) (Force entry) Somebody broke ___ to my neighbour's place last night and stole his TV.

  • 2) (Lose) My hair started to fall ___ when I was only 21.

  • 3) (Remove) I ___ off my clothes and jumped into the lake.

  • 4) (Consult/Research) We looked ___ the information online.

  • 5) (Fall asleep) I'm worried I will nod __ if it's boring.

  • 6) (Reduce) My doctor told me to cut ___ the amount of fat I eat.

  • 7) (Make tired) All that gardening has worn me ___.

  • 8) (Continue) She kept ___ working after everyone else finished.

  • 9) (Pay debt) Let's settle ___ the bill now.

  • 10) (Vomit) You will throw ___ if you drink too much beer.