Phrasal Verbs

Beginning with Podcast #15, you will be doing a lot of practice with two-part verbs. A two-part verb is also referred to as a phrasal verb.

Look at this sentence with a simple verb:

I handed my father some nails.

The simple verb to hand means to give something from your hand.

Now look at this sentence that contains a phrasal verb:

We have to hand in our reports to the science teacher on Monday.

The phrasal verb to hand in is used with written assignments that are given to a teacher or a superior at work. It is also used when teachers submit grades to the school authorities.

A phrasal verb like to hand in consists of a simple verb like to hand and one or more short words like in. These short words are called particles.

Very often, the meaning of a phrasal verb seems to have nothing to do with the meaning of the main verb or the meaning of the particle.

Jill and David had a big fight, but then they made up.

This sentence means that after a big fight, Jill and David had a talk and then were no longer angry with each other. They did not make anything and nothing went up!

English has hundreds of phrasal verbs. Each time you learn one of these, you should learn it as a single unit. If you are using cards to help you remember words, you would have a card for the phrasal verb to hand in and a card for the two-part verb to make up, for example.

Now look at these two sentences that are slightly different but have the same meaning:

I handed in my report on Monday.
I handed my report in on Monday.

As you can see, for some phrasal verbs the particle can either immediately follow the main verb, as in

I handed in my report on Monday.

or the particle can be separated from the main verb, as in

I handed my report in on Monday.

In the practice sessions with two-part verbs,

If a two-part verb can be used only separated or only
unseparated, that is the form you will hear and practice.
If a two-part verb can be used either separated or unseparated, you
will be given both forms to practice.

Beginning with Podcast #34, some of the practice sessions will concentrate on just one or two verbs. You will practice using the simple form of those verbs and also phrasal forms of those verbs. For example, if the verb is to put you will practice some sentences with the simple form of the verb, put,  then you will practice sentences with phrasal forms like to put across, to put away, to put down, and to put forward.

Make a comment

The ESL Aloud podcast lessons are designed for people who want to increase their abilities in speaking English as a second language (ESL).