Phrasal verbs present a whole new world of English speaking opportunities. Phrasal verbs are words which give verbs a completely different meaning. They are often used in everyday English conversation, so to know about them becomes all the more important.
Usually, phrasal verbs consist of 2 words, verb + adverb or verb + preposition. Some phrasal verbs also consist of 3 words. Phrasal verbs should not be memorised but studied as they come across you in daily English conversation.
The two words in a phrasal verb, i.e. verb + adverb need to but used together, for example, "fall down" but in some cases, you can separate the verb and adverb by using other words in between them. For example, turn off can be used as "It was a bad movie. It really turned me off".
Another important point to remember while using phrasal verbs is that the verb part of the sentence can be altered depending on the tense of the sentence.
Given below, are some of the most commonly used phrasal verbs in English communication. You can start using them to build up a good vocabulary for your IELTS exam attempt.
1) Bring up – to mention something (the verb & adverb in this phrasal verb can be separated)
e.g. John was sick and had to miss your birthday party, so please don't bring it up. I don't want him to feel bad for missing it.
2) Bring it on – to accept a challenge with confidence
e.g. You want to have a race? Bring it on!
3) Call off – to cancel something
e.g. The match was called off because of rain.
4) Cheer on – to support someone by giving them words (the verb & adverb can be separated)
e.g. Even though Claire was in the last place, her sister cheered her on through the entire competition.
5) Come up (with something) – to think of an idea
e.g. I came up with this idea for the school play about a woman living with her best friend & son.
6) Come up – to bring up a topic, or when something happens unexpectedly
e.g. I wanted to tell him that I got a new job but the chance never came up.
e.g. I was going to a movie with my friends, but something came up so I had to cancel the plan.
7) Come across – to meet/find by chance
e.g. I was cleaning the room and I came across my old school uniform.
8) Drop by/in – to stop by for a visit, for a short time
e.g. John is such a great friend when he heard that his friend had a fever he dropped by to bring him some fruits & soup.
9) Fill (someone) in – to give someone the details about something (usually separated by the person getting the filled in or information)
e.g. Quickly, let's go! There's no time to explain, I'll fill you in on the way.
10) Get back to – to return to someone or something.
e.g. John's assistant wasn't sure what time the meeting was, so he said he'd get back to me with the time.
11) Get back at — to get revenge on someone.
e.g. Her ex-husband took her house so she got back at him by taking his dogs.
12) Take off — this phrase can mean to remove clothing.
Or to leave for a journey (i.e. planes take off when they begin their flights).
e.g. He was very happy when she finally got home and took off his shoes.
13) Take out — to remove something, like from a pocket or a bag.
This phrase can also mean to take someone on a date. (Can be separated by the item or person being taken out). The phrase can also mean to remove someone, as in by killing them but this is probably not something you would need to use in everyday conversation!
e.g. The children sat at their desks and took out their pens and paper.
e.g. He took her out to the most expensive restaurant in the city.
14) Work out — to exercise.
e.g. I try to work out every morning, by repeatedly lifting a heavy doughnut to my mouth.
15) Work (something) out — to come up with a solution or a compromise with someone.
e.g. Don't worry, I'm sure we can work something out so that everyone is happy.
Now check how many of the above phrasal verbs did you already know? The English language phrasal verbs are everywhere! Just start with a few at a time and soon you'll be an expert.