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Tips for Learning Phrasal Verbs in English

5 years ago

Learning phrasal verbs can be daunting and tough for language learners.  But maybe you have managed to learn them all, but simply forget when to use them, or can’t identify when native English speakers are using them? In this post, you will find out how to learn phrasal verbs.
Let’s go through 4 tips and tricks which can help you to remember, but most importantly use phrasal verbs!

1. Learn phrasal verbs by topic

Among the most commonly used phrasal verbs are get up and get dressed.  So, now we have two phrasal verbs, but how can we possibly know all the phrasal verbs?  Let’s start with a group the phrasal verbs according to a topic.
For example, if you have come across the phrasal verbs get up or get dressed.  Try making a list of all other phrasal verbs which are related to morning activities.  For example, go to work, get home, have a shower, come home, etc…
So … when you cover a topic in class, or on your own, learn a few phrasal verbs with other related vocabularies.

2. Personalize them

There is no point in getting a dictionary or making a word list and remembering these words.  Look you may have some success with this, learning to translate the words in your mother tongue, but in the long term, you will have difficulties using these words!
How can we better remember these words?
By personalizing them to your needs!
OK, please explain! What are you on about?…..
Let’s choose the phrasal verb get dressed
So I would make a few sentences using this phrasal verb in my own situation:
For example:
I get dressed at 8 a.m. every morning
I love to get dressed up when I go out on the weekends.
When you learn a new phrasal verb, make sentences about your life or about people and things you know.

3. Awareness of phrasal verbs in context!
When you are listening to the news, reading a book, listening to a song, whatever you are doing using the English language, try to pick out the phrasal verb!  At first, you may not be able to figure out what is being said, but try to look at the reaction and tone which is being used in the sentence.  Do you sense a positive or a negative connotation?  Does the person look or sound angry or calm, happy or sad?

4. Perfect practice makes perfect

Making a list of phrasal verbs is not a bad idea, though it could be even better!
How about using those new phrasal verbs?  The most important thing to be doing is to be using new phrasal verbs which you are learning!

Now your turn….

Here are a few phrasal Verbs.  Try using these tips, and personalize them.  Leave your sentences in the comments below

Ask around
ask many people the same question
She asked around how to make chocolate cake

back up
My husband backed me up when I had an argument with my friend

break down
stop functioning (vehicle, machine)
My computer broke down yesterday

break down
get upset
He broke down when he heard the bad news

count on
rely on
She is counting on me to go with her to the movies

cut back on 
consume less
I need to cut back on sweets.

Remember to practice! PPP (Perfect Practice makes Perfect)

If you do not practice using your English in a natural context, then you will loose your English.  It is one thing to be able to know all of these rules, structures and hearing these tips; though another to be using and applying your knowledge!
A common mistake that many English learners make (maybe EVEN YOU!)  is that they do not practice!  The more you practice, the better you will get.  You have to be practicing on a consistent basis, applying your knowledge.  Only in this way WILL YOU IMPROVE YOUR SPOKEN ENGLISH.   

Good luck! Sign up for a trial lesson if you want to practice these phrasal verbs or speaking!