Monday, February 28, 2011


Last post, we discussed what phrasal verbs were essentially about. Today, we'll look at examples, starting with the letter A.

ACHE FOR - want something a lot
Ex. Tom's aching to go surfing again next weekend.

ACT ON - take action as a result of information obtained or of an event
Ex. Acting on evidence found at the crime scene, police are now looking for two suspects instead of one.

ACT UP - behave badly or strangely
Ex. I called you here because your son has been acting up all week in class.

ADD UP -to be a satisfactory explanation for something.
Ex. If you left your house an hour ago, you couldn't have been here for the past two hours. Something doesn't add up!

ANSWER FOR - be responsible for someone or something
Ex. Mary is the team leader, so she'll have to answer for any of its members.

ASK OUT - invite someone on a date (can also be expressed as "Take out")
Ex. I wanted to ask her out, but she's already got a date for the dance.

ASK OVER - invite to your home or place
Ex. Forget about the dance, ask her over to your place next time.

And speaking of aching and not having the nerve to ask or take someone out, here's a song from Scottish rock band Franz Ferdinand that deals with just that. Check it out and practice today's phrasals!

Monday, February 21, 2011


So what’s up (happening) with phrasal verbs? Why do we need to know them?

First of all, phrasal verbs are used by native speakers to describe things in a natural way. So, to truly understand them, you’ll have to get friendly with them. And the first step to doing that is understanding what they are and what they are not.

So what are phrasal verbs then?

Basically, they’re two or three word phrases that native speakers use in place of a more formal or academic way of describing a verb idea or phrase. In other words, they don't use phrasal verbs to show off (demonstrate with pride) how cool they talk. It is how they talk.

But here’s the thing about PVs. You know, phrasal verbs... Oh wait, we just invented an acronym. A what? An acronym. You remember, right?

Naturally, if you checked out (studied closely) our last POST, you know what we mean. If you didn’t, maybe it’s a good idea to catch up (reach the same point others have reached before you). LOL!

Anyway, for the lovers of technicalities out there, a phrasal verb is made up (composed) of a verb plus one or more prepositions or adverbs.


But, guess what? That’s basically irrelevant.

You see, the meaning of that verb or that preposition or adverb alone will tell you nothing about the meaning of the phrasal verb.

Why? Because a PV has a meaning of its own.

It’s the way native speakers naturally express themselves. In fact, often you might notice native speakers stress the preposition or adverb (also called particle) more than the verb. Almost as if the real meaning was there, although it really isn’t.

But don’t some native speakers - perhaps managers or scientists - speak without the use of phrasal verbs? What about the British? No, not really. So get over (overcome the reality of) it.

So what’s the best way to learn PVs? Learn a few and practice them in context any chance you get. Catch on (understand)?

Great! So that sums up (concludes) this first approach on phrasal verbs. Next time, we’ll check out (study closely) a few more. In the meantime, look out (be alert) for any PVs that might come your way ;)

Oh, look, here are some... in this famous song by The Beatles. So what's that phrasal verb John, Paul, George and Ringo are singing? And what on Earth does it mean?