Phrasal Verbs


A Phrasal Verb is a two-part verb formed by a verb and a particle.

This particle usually gives verbs a whole new meaning. It is usually very difficult to understand the meaning of a Phrasal Verb from the words it is formed by.

A sentence containing Phrasal Verbs usually has the following structure:
Subject + verb + object + particle (preposition/adverb).

  • Break
    1. They broke up last week.
    2. One prisoner broke out of jail.
    3. Our car broke down in the middle of the road.
  • Come
    1. They came back very late yesterday.
    2. I came across my friend last week.
    3. How did this subject come up?
  • Look
    1. When we’re away, my cousin looks after our chicken.
    2. What are you looking for?
    3. She always looks up to her father.
    4. Look out! You’re going to fall down!
    5. I’m looking forward to your reply!
  • Put
    1. We have to put the picnic off, it’s raining.
    2. You can put your backpack down on the bed.
    3. I can’t put up with the noise you’re making.
  • Take
    1. Take my coat off, it’s too hot.
    2. Susie takes after her mother.
    3. He has to take his bike back.

Phrasal Verbs are small phrases formed by a verb and a particle.

They usually have a completely different meaning from the original verb. You can see the meanings of common Phrasal Verbs:

  1. Break up: End a relationship;
  2. Break out: Escape;
  3. Break down: Stop working;
  4. Come back: Return;
  5. Come across: Seem to be or meet by coincidence;
  6. Come up: Be mentioned;
  7. Look after: Take care of something or somebody;
  8. Look for: Search for;
  9. Look up: Respect;
  10. Look out: Be careful;
  11. Look forward: Wait for something with excitement;
  12. Put off: Postpone;
  13. Put down: Place something on the table/floor;
  14. Put up with: Tolerate;
  15. Take off: Remove a piece of clothing;
  16. Take after: Follow somebody as an example;
  17. Take back: Return.

A Phrasal Verb is a two-part verb formed by a verb and a particle and normally gives a verb a completely new meaning.

The structure of a sentence which contains a Phrasal Verb normally is:
Subject + verb + object + particle (preposition/adverb).

For example:
— “He told his girlfriend to come back.” = The meaning of the sentence is changed by the Phrasal Verb.
— “She should take her book back.” = The meaning of the sentence is changed by the Phrasal Verb.

Let’s revise this content within the [Form] section. Take a look at the [Example] section that shows its use within a context.