phrasal verbs


So-called phrasal verbs

phrasal verbs

A set of exercises on: Phrasal Verbs.

These exercises are intended for intermediate to advanced students of English who feel they have a problem understanding the meaning of what are called Phrasal Verbs, i.e. verb + preposition or adverb combinations such as give up, turn off.

Given that native speakers almost never have problems understanding phrasal verbs, even new combinations which have only recently been invented, I’ve always suspected that students having a problem with them is due to the way they are presented and taught. This has been reinforced by reading recently that the term “phrasal verb” only dates from 1925(1). Native speakers don’t need to look up phrasal verbs in a dictionary because they have other tools to discover the meaning autonomously. Each word of the phrasal verb combination spontaneously evokes an image in their minds which, when applied to the situation in which they hear or see the words used, suggests the new meaning to them. The new meaning does not come from nowhere, it is closely related to the old meanings in each part of the phrasal verb. Non-native speakers can learn to function in the same way.
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