Phrasal verbs explained with examples (for complete beginners)

1. What are Phrasal verbs?

Phrasal verbs consist of a main verb and one or more particles, typically prepositions or adverbs. Their structure may seem confusing at first, but understanding phrasal verbs is crucial for achieving fluency in English.

2. Phrasal Verbs vs. Regular Verbs?

Phrasal verbs are distinctive because their meanings cannot be deduced from the individual words that make them up. In essence, they are idiomatic expressions, with meanings that often diverge from the literal definitions of their constituent words.

These verbs can be transitive (taking a direct object) or intransitive (not requiring a direct object), and their particles can change the meaning significantly.

Phrasal verb Meaning
break down stop functioning
break up end a relationship
break out escape
bring (somebody) up raise a child
call off cancel
call on ask for answer
calm down relax after anger
catch up get to the same point
check out investigate
find out discover
hand in submit something
hold up delay
look over check
clean up tidy
pick out choose
put off postpone
set up to arrange
get over recover from sickness
cheer up make happier
come apart separate
drop out quit a class
get away go on a vacation
get back return
keep up with maintain pace with
give up relax after anger
go on continue
look into investigate
talk over discuss
try out test something
go through consume
run in to meet
look after take care
get along with have a good relationship
get rid of eliminate