10 Phrasal Verbs Every English Learner Should Know!

Why are phrasal verbs necessary?

Speak like a Native

English Grammar

Phrasal verbs are important to learn because they are used by native English speakers everyday. They make up a large part of the English language and in order to fully understand what natives are saying, it is important to learn as many phrasal verbs as possible. In this article, you are going to learn 10 very commonly used phrasal verbs.


10 Phrasal Verbs Every English Learner Should Know

Phrasal verbs are among some of the most difficult things for English learners. The reason is because there are thousands of phrasal verbs and they are so different than what the verb itself actually means.


Let’s first begin this lesson by looking at what a phrasal verb is: A phrasal verb is two or three words put together made from a verb and a preposition or to preposition. When the preposition changes with the verb the phrasal verb takes on an entirely new meaning. when phrasal verbs have three words they are known as three part phrasal verbs.

Phrasal verbs can be used both concretely and abstractly what this means is that in a concrete form a phrasal verb can be used physically. Abstractly A phrasal  verb can also be used in an abstract way which means it can be used to describe a thought feeling or an emotion. Now let’s take a look at 10 Common phrasal verbs that every English learner should know.

10 Phrasal Verbs Every English Learner Should Know!

Add up

This phrasal verb has two different kinds of meanings, it has both an abstract and concrete meaning. With the abstract meaning we are talking about a thought so I would use this example: “The student’s grades were so good that things did not add up. The student never comes to class and never does his homework so having good grades does not add up.” You can see in this example that the way that add up is used is the type of thinking or understanding the reason for a situation or something. The other way that we can use out up is in the concrete weigh when we're actually doing math or adding something physically like one plus one equals two so this is the concrete way of using the phrasal verb add up.

Bring up

The phrasal verb bring up is used when you want to talk about a particular topic or idea or subject with someone. So I can say something like,” I would like to bring up the situation at work with you tomorrow.” And I am basically saying that I need to talk to you about something.

Call off

This is a phrasal verb that we use when we want to cancel something. So when there is a sports event often times when it rains the sports event will be canceled or they will call off the sports event because of the rain.

10 Phrasal Verbs Every English Learner Should Know!

Carry on

This phrasal verb has two different meanings, one meaning is used for a piece of luggage that is small and able to be carried onto an airplane. This is the luggage that you bring with you and you place above your head where you sit on a plane. You can call this a “carry on bag”. The other meaning of this is to continue doing something. Let’s say that I am with you and you are working on a project with another student. If I come and ask you guys how the project is going and you tell me it’s going well, then I can tell you to “carry on” or continue your project.

Come up with

means to create or invent. You can come up with some new ideas about how English learners can learn English. Or I can come up with some interesting courses for students to learn English.

Fall apart

This means to collapse or not remain together. This can be with things in a concrete or abstract meaning. When we speak about a physical falling apart, we are referring to something like a building or physical structure that no longer exists. When we talked about an abstract type of fall apart this often refers to an emotional or mental state of being. So if we see someone that we know is going through a difficult time in life then we can say that that person is falling apart or that person is experiencing a very difficult moment and it is causing them to fall apart.

Phrasal Verbs

Give up

This phrasal verb means to stop to quit or to no longer try doing something. So I often tell my English students not to give up learning English that all of their hard work will eventually be worth the time that they spend studying. And you should also never give up learning English or following your dreams.

Hold on

This phrasal verb has two different meanings one is when you are on a telephone call and you need to tell the other person to wait so you say to them,” Hold on I have to do something and I'll be right back.” You are telling this person to wait for you. The other is the concrete way of actually holding something so I can say that I am holding on to my pen or I am holding onto a stick.

Look forward to

This is a great phrasal verb to learn and it's because this phrasal verb is very commonly used among native English speakers. We use this phrasal verb when we are talking about something in the future that is going to happen and we are very happy or excited for it to happen. For example I can say,” I am looking forward to seeing you next week.” or I can also say “I look forward to seeing you next Saturday.”

Look up

This is the phrasal verb is look up. And this has two meanings one is to actually physically look up at something with your eyes. The other is to look for information to research information and it can be on the Internet or even a dictionary. So I can say that I'm going to look up some information on the Internet or I'm going to look up a word in the dictionary.

How many of these phrasal verbs have you already heard of? How many of these phrasal verbs are new to you?

Don’t forget to watch this video about the 10 phrasal verbs you learned about in this article!

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