Phrasal verbs are often an English learner's worst nightmare. Unfortunately, they are so commonly use by English speakers you can’t escape them!
The best way to learn them is in context and check them with your teacher after applying them to a variety of situations. They can often be quiet specific so this is especially important.
I have listed here a few examples for each phrasal verb and intentionally used the less common ones to give you a chance to really expand your vocabulary.
1. GET ACROSS
To communicate an idea successfully, to make someone able to understand something
The local residents got their point across at the council meeting. The book really got across what it was like to be a soldier during WWII.
2. GET AROUND
To travel to many places
I’ve been to France, Australia and Mexico this year. I get around!
To become known or to circulate information
Word got around that he was leaving the company.
To avoid something difficult
Is there any way of getting around the rules so that we can bring our dog into the country?
To find the time to do something (used with ‘to’)
I’ll get aroundto (doing) the washing up once I’ve finished my dinner.
3. GET AT
To criticise someone frequently, be unpleasant to someone
She keeps getting at me for every little thing. I can’t do anything right!
To reach something successfully, gain access to
The kids can’t get at the sweets because I’ve hidden them!
To suggest, mean or intend
When you mentioned “local problems”, what exactly were you getting at?
To annoy or irritate someone
The dogs’ barking outside really started to get at me.
4. GET AWAY
To leave or escape from someone or something
Get away from me!
To go somewhere to have a rest or holiday
It’ll be nice to get away! Work has been so stressful this past month.
A holiday, often short (noun)
We enjoyed a weekend getaway in a lovely hotel in the countryside.
5. GET AWAY WITH
To avoid getting caught for something you weren’t meant to do
I got away with sitting in the reserved seats at the cinema!
To do something successfully even though it may not be the best choice or way
I think we could get away with just gluing the wood together, rather than nailing it in place.
6. GET BY
To manage something with difficulty, to make ends meet
Some poor families manage to get by on just £10 a day.
To succeed with the minimum effort
He hasn’t revised for his exams at all, but he’s clever enough to get by.
To move past something or someone
Excuse me, could you please move your bag so I can get by?
7. GET DOWN
To feel depressed or unhappy
The political situation at the moment is really getting me down.
To party, sometimes dance
You guys were really getting down last night! Did you have a good time?
To swallow food
I know you don’t like eating vegetables, but you need to get them down.
8. GET DOWN TO
To start working on something, especially something you’ve been avoiding
I must get down to (doing) these tax returns today, or I’ll never finish them!
To start work or focus attention on a task
Ok, let’s get down to business!
9. GET ON
To physically put yourself on or in something
We got on the bus at the usual stop.
To have a good relationship with someone
They’re brother and sister but don’t get on very well.
To grow old
I saw Uncle Max the other day. He’s getting on, isn’t he?!
To manage a situation or continue a task
How are you getting on with renovating your new house?
It’s getting on a bit and will be dark soon.
Almost or nearly
She must be getting on for 30, I would think.
10. GET OUT OF
To avoid something
She got out of the washing-up by saying she had homework to finish.
To physically remove yourself from somewhere
When I saw the cyclist coming I got out of the way.
To stop doing something
I used to sing in a choir three times a week, but I got out of it last year.
11. GET OVER
To recover from something, usually an illness or unhappiness
It was really hard when Dave and I split up, but I got over it eventually. I had the flu all last week and I’m still getting over it.
To accept something that you’re unhappy about
I was a little disappointed I didn’t get the job, but I got over it.
To overcome something
She managed to get over her shyness and give a speech at the wedding.
12. GET RID OF
To eliminate or throw something away
I want to get rid of all these boxes. They’ve been lying around for ages! Let’s get rid of all this mess before mum comes home.