Unit 10.2

Phrasal Verbs



A phrasal verb is a two-part verb formed by a verb and a particle. The particle usually gives a whole new meaning to the verb.


A phrasal verb has two parts: the first part is called the base, in which the verb is located; the second part consists of an adverb or a preposition that follows the base.

Sentences containing phrasal verbs usually have the following structures:
… + verb + object + preposition/adverb + …
… + verb + preposition/adverb + object + …

There are some rules:

  • some phrasal verbs are transitive, which means they must be followed by an object;
  • some phrasal verbs are intransitive, so they cannot be followed by an object;
  • while some of the phrasal verbs are separable and you can put the object in the middle of them, some are not, so you cannot put the object between the two parts.

The most commonly used are: come in, get uplook for, switch off


  • Come in. The door is open.
  • Get up now. It’s 12 a.m.
  • I have to look for the grammar book.
  • Can you switch the light off, please?
  • We’re not asking for your opinion. 
  • They broke up because he cheated on her. 
  • Don’t come back here again. 


Phrasal verbs usually have completely different meanings from the verbs that form them. It is usually very difficult to understand the meaning of a phrasal verb from the words it is formed by.


Phrasal verbs are small phrases formed by the combinations of either verbs and prepositions or verbs and adverbs.

There are some rules:

  • phrasal verbs are either transitive, which need to be followed by an object, or intransitive, which are not followed by an object;
  • also, some of the phrasal verbs are separable, so it is possible to put the object in the middle of the two parts, but some are not, so we cannot do that.

Their meanings are completely different from the original verb and we cannot understand a phrasal verb by looking at its components. There is no rule regarding this topic, therefore you need to learn them by heart (come in, look after, turn off…).

For example:
— “I’ll wake you up at 8am.” = Wake someone up means making the object (you) awake.
— “They brought up publicity campaigns in the Chamber of Commerce.” = Bring up means mentioning a topic.

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

More exercises


External link to Phrasal Verbs exercises (122).