7 Phrasal Verbs to Talk About Love and Relationships

Have you been learning English for a long time and still struggling to speak it and understand it comfortably?

You’re not alone. So many of my students come to me with that same problem. They can read English well, have small conversations, and with some effort, understand most of what they hear. But they’ve been at the same level for years. They want to have deeper conversations, express more complicated ideas and understand things effortlessly and they don’t know how.

You might be wondering: why do some people continue to improve and achieve higher levels of English fluency, while others stay stuck at the same level for years? You might be thinking that some people are just born that way; naturally good at learning languages. But I’ve taught and observed the progress of hundreds of students, and I can assure you: your English ability is like a muscle. If you train it correctly, it will get stronger. 

Now, the question is what’s blocking your progress? 

From my teaching experience, one of the biggest problems I’ve noticed is neglecting phrasal verbs. 

Some traditional English courses, schools and textbooks ignore phrasal verbs or just focus on them superficially because of the common misconception that they’re only used in informal conversations. This is simply false. In fact, the book Macmillan Phrasal Verbs Plusstates:

“Expert speakers use phrasal verbs in all kinds of contexts; not just in informal conversations or emails, but quite often in formal and technical writing too. There are many contexts where a phrasal verb is simply the best, most natural sounding way of expressing an idea and so students should be encouraged to use them.
And yes, some phrasal verbs are only used in casual settings, but even those are essential to achieve a higher level of fluency in English. Think of it this way, most of us don’t write academic essays in our daily lives. Instead, we use colloquial language when we have conversations with friends and colleagues. So learning and practicing informal English is absolutely necessary.

This is why I dedicated a whole series to phrasal verbs in this blog. I group the phrasal verbs in a functional way to help you learn how to use them in everyday contexts. For example, in the past I shared  7 Phrasal Verbs to Describe Your Feelingsand 7 Phrasal Verbs to Describe Your Friends’. Today, I’m going to share with you 7 phrasal verbs we commonly use to talk about current or past romantic relationships. Let’s get started.

 

1. ASK OUT

[asks out; asked out; asked out; asking out]

I think it’s fine for girls to ask boys out. I actually prefer it. — Zac Efron
When you ask someone out, you invite them to go to the cinema, restaurant, etc. because you want to start a romantic or sexual relationship with them. So we can say,

“He’s too shy to ask her out.”
“Why don’t you ask him out the next time you see him?”


Synonym

Invite out.


Grammar Points

1. We can separate this phrasal verb: 

“He finally asked Maria out.”
“He finally asked out Maria.“

2. Ask out is commonly used with for:

“She asked me out for dinner.”
“She asked me out for a coffee.”

3. Ask out is commonly used with to:

“She asked me out to dinner.”
“She asked me out to a coffee shop.” 


Common Collocations

To/for dinner, to/for lunch, for coffee, for a drink, to the movies (US), to the cinema (UK)

2. GO OUT

[goes out; went out; went out; going out]

If you go out with someone, you’re in a romantic relationship with them. For example,

“They’ve been going out for 2 months."
“We went out for a few weeks but I decided to end it.”


Synonym

Date.


Grammar Points

1. We can’t separate this phrasal verb.

2. We use with after go out:

“I used to go out with a French guy.”

3. We commonly use it with together:

“How long have you been going out together?”


3. OPEN UP

[opens up; opened up; opened up; opening up]

When you open up to someone, you start to talk more about yourself and your inner feelings and emotions. So we can say,

“I’ve never opened up to anyone like I do with you.”
“Last night was the first time that she opened up about her feelings.”


Grammar Points

1. We can’t separate this phrasal verb.

2. We use to after open up:

“He’s finally starting to open up to me.”


4. MOVE IN

[moves in; moved in; moved in; moving in]

When you move in with someone, you start living in the same home with them. For example,

“I asked her to move in with me.”
Moving in with him is not a good idea.”


Antonym

Move out.


Grammar Points

1. We can’t separate this phrasal verb.

2. We use with after move in:

“I think I moved in with him too soon.”

3. We commonly use it with together:

“They moved in together a few weeks ago.”


5. SETTLE DOWN

[settles down; settled down; settled down; settling down]

When it comes time to settle down, find someone who wants an equal partner. Someone who thinks women should be smart, opinionated, and ambitious. — Sheryl Sandberg

When you settle down with a partner, you’re ready to make a commitment to them and start living a stable life with them. So we can say,

“She’s not ready to settle down with one person yet.”
“I think he’s too young to settle down.”


Grammar Points

1. We can’t separate this phrasal verb:

2. We use with after settle down:

“He said that he wants to settle down with me.”


6. LEAD ON

[leads on; led on; led on; leading on]

When you lead someone on, you deceive them especially to make them think that you love them. For example,

“He led her on. He was only interested in her money.”
“I thought she loved me, but she was just leading me on.”


Grammar Points

We can separate this phrasal verb:

“You’re leading the guy on.”
“You’re leading on the guy.”


7. BREAK UP

[breaks up; broke up; broken up; breaking up]

When you break up with someone, you end your relationship with them. So we can say,

“He hasn’t seen her since they broke up.”
“They broke up last year.”


Synonyms

Separate, split up.


Grammar Points

1. We can’t separate this phrasal verb.

2. We use with after break up:

“She’s breaking up with him tonight.”

I have a little challenge for you today. Practice what you’ve just learned and use these phrasal verbs in a paragraph or a little story and share it with us in the comments below. I’d love to read your answers! And if you found this post useful, please share it with your friends.
September 11, 2019
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Sama Alkhalili

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Become a more confident, fluent and natural English speaker! If you feel stuck in English, book your lessons now. I help students just like you every day! What would your life be like if English was not a limitation? ★ Would you be able to have conversations in English without getting stuck? ★ Would you be able to express your personality and be yourself in English? ★ Would you be able to understand fast English speakers? ★ Would you have more work options? ★ Would you be able to answer interview questions confidently? My lessons are perfect for you if: ★ You are worried that others won't understand your pronunciation. ★ You forget words and grammar when speaking. ★ You need to prepare for interviews and presentations. ★ You are an intermediate or advanced English learner. ★ You're thinking about living in Canada or the US, or moved there recently. ★ You are finding it difficult to understand and communicate with people in English. I've been helping English learners become more fluent and natural speakers for over ten years. My mission is to help you transcend your limitations in English and finally experience the progress that will help you achieve your dreams. Here's how you'll benefit from my lessons: ★ Gain the confidence to express yourself in English. ★ Learn real conversation and natural vocabulary. ★ Understand fast native English conversations. ★ Improve your pronunciation and reduce your accent. ★ Learn more about North American culture, how to connect with people. If you have moved to the US recently, I can help you learn the English you need to make new friends, communicate with colleagues, and adapt to the culture easily. I have limited hours available, so book your lessons now! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to send me a message. I look forward to working with you! MORE ABOUT ME I'm a certified English teacher from Canada with over 10 years of experience. I'm also a writer. I write articles to help students achieve their goals in English. I've always loved traveling, so in 2012 I traveled to Europe and I lived and taught English in Italy, Spain and the Canary Islands for 5 years. I returned to Canada in 2017 and I now live in Victoria, a beautiful city in Western Canada, 2 hours away from Vancouver. I still travel when I can. I spent 3 months in Taiwan last year. And I fell in love with the country's beautiful nature, culture and people. When I first started teaching in 2010, I taught in classrooms. Like every other teacher, I used textbooks or lessons that I found online. Planning my classes was SO frustrating, because a lot of the books and learning websites taught a style of English that native speakers NEVER use in real life. 😑 I thought that if the lessons were boring for me to teach, of course they would be boring for my students, too! This inspired me to design my own lessons. I looked for short, recent videos, articles and blog posts that discuss interesting topics, and designed lessons around them. My students love them! They are excited to learn, are never bored, and experience incredible progress in just a few months. What's the secret to fluent and natural English? REAL, authentic and interesting materials! There's no other way. This way, you'll start to understand fast native speakers and improve your speaking quickly when you're learning naturally: using the new words and grammar to follow a real story or video, not just to learn a lot of boring rules! You’ll also learn how to use common words and expressions that traditional language schools NEVER teach you. Book your lessons today, and let me show you how you can finally speak English confidently and without stress!
Flag
English
globe
Canada
time
231
Speaks:
English
Native
,
Spanish
A2
,
Italian
A2
Become a more confident, fluent and natural English speaker! If you feel stuck in English, book your lessons now. I help students just like you every day! What would your life be like if English was not a limitation? ★ Would you be able to have conversations in English without getting stuck? ★ Would you be able to express your personality and be yourself in English? ★ Would you be able to understand fast English speakers? ★ Would you have more work options? ★ Would you be able to answer interview questions confidently? My lessons are perfect for you if: ★ You are worried that others won't understand your pronunciation. ★ You forget words and grammar when speaking. ★ You need to prepare for interviews and presentations. ★ You are an intermediate or advanced English learner. ★ You're thinking about living in Canada or the US, or moved there recently. ★ You are finding it difficult to understand and communicate with people in English. I've been helping English learners become more fluent and natural speakers for over ten years. My mission is to help you transcend your limitations in English and finally experience the progress that will help you achieve your dreams. Here's how you'll benefit from my lessons: ★ Gain the confidence to express yourself in English. ★ Learn real conversation and natural vocabulary. ★ Understand fast native English conversations. ★ Improve your pronunciation and reduce your accent. ★ Learn more about North American culture, how to connect with people. If you have moved to the US recently, I can help you learn the English you need to make new friends, communicate with colleagues, and adapt to the culture easily. I have limited hours available, so book your lessons now! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to send me a message. I look forward to working with you! MORE ABOUT ME I'm a certified English teacher from Canada with over 10 years of experience. I'm also a writer. I write articles to help students achieve their goals in English. I've always loved traveling, so in 2012 I traveled to Europe and I lived and taught English in Italy, Spain and the Canary Islands for 5 years. I returned to Canada in 2017 and I now live in Victoria, a beautiful city in Western Canada, 2 hours away from Vancouver. I still travel when I can. I spent 3 months in Taiwan last year. And I fell in love with the country's beautiful nature, culture and people. When I first started teaching in 2010, I taught in classrooms. Like every other teacher, I used textbooks or lessons that I found online. Planning my classes was SO frustrating, because a lot of the books and learning websites taught a style of English that native speakers NEVER use in real life. 😑 I thought that if the lessons were boring for me to teach, of course they would be boring for my students, too! This inspired me to design my own lessons. I looked for short, recent videos, articles and blog posts that discuss interesting topics, and designed lessons around them. My students love them! They are excited to learn, are never bored, and experience incredible progress in just a few months. What's the secret to fluent and natural English? REAL, authentic and interesting materials! There's no other way. This way, you'll start to understand fast native speakers and improve your speaking quickly when you're learning naturally: using the new words and grammar to follow a real story or video, not just to learn a lot of boring rules! You’ll also learn how to use common words and expressions that traditional language schools NEVER teach you. Book your lessons today, and let me show you how you can finally speak English confidently and without stress!