key_small1. What is a phrasal verb?

A phrasal verb is a verb followed by a preposition or an adverb; the combination creates a meaning different from the original verb alone.

There are hundreds of PHRASAL VERBS in English and it is often impossible to guess the meaning even though you may understand the separate parts that make up each verb. On top of that many phrasal verbs have more than one meaning !!!

Example : (with and without a preposition)

To get  to obtain

I need to get a new battery for my camera.


To get away  =  to escape 

The prisoners tried to get away last night.


Example : (with more than one meaning)

To make up :

To invent

To comprise

To assemble or put together

To be reconciled

To put cosmetics


Phrasal verbs are part of a large group of verbs called “multi-part” or "multi-word” verbs.

The preposition or adverb that follows the verb is sometimes called a particlePhrasal verbs and other multi-word verbs are an important part of the English language. However, they are mainly used in spoken English and informal texts.  They should be  avoided in academic writing where it is preferable to use a formal verb such as “to postponerather than “to put off”.


2. Transitive and intransitive phrasal verbs :

Some phrasal verbs are transitive. (A transitive verb always has an object.)

Example : I made up an excuse. ('Excuse' is the object of the verb.)


Some phrasal verbs are intransitive. (An intransitive verb does not have an object.)

Example : My car broke down.


3. Separable or inseparable phrasal verbs :


Some transitive phrasal verbs are separable.    (The object is between the verb and the preposition.)

Example : I always take my shoes off when I come home.


Some transitive phrasal verbs are inseparable.    (The object is placed after the preposition.)

Example : I will look into the matter as soon as possible.


Some transitive phrasal verbs can take an object in both places.

Example : I picked up the paper.       /     I picked the paper up.


However, if the object is a pronoun, it must be placed between the verb and the preposition.

Example : I picked it up.


On THIS PAGE you will find a good list of the most commonly-used phrasal verbs in English (100)  together with an example and the main meaning in English. My advice is you should try to memorize it.


If you want to practise, you can click HERE.