How to Learn Phrasal Verbs

One aspect of English that can be sometimes difficult to produce and understand is Phrasal verbs.

Phrasal Verbs are actually quite common, especially in spoken English and informal texts (fiction, magazines, tabloid newspapers). They also usually have a more figurative meaning that can confuse the listener or reader. Also, they have grammatical aspects that you need to take into account.

As an English learner, I find it quite frustrating to memorise lists of phrasal verbs, especially the ones that have more complicated structures.

I believe that with the right tools you can achieve anything, and learning by playing can be a really good way to help you remember those tricky phrasal verbs.

There are a variety of useful apps and websites that you can use to practise and learn phrasal verbs.

Here are a few that I enjoyed using.

Website 1: Macmillan Phrasal Verbs Games

On the Macmillan website, you will find some useful games to help with practising phrasal verbs.

In the Phrasal Verbs Game 1 you are given three phrasal verbs which you need to match to their meaning. You may also be asked to choose the opposite of the original meaning.

You get 5 points for each correct answer, and a bonus of 10 points if you click the correct answer within 5 seconds. This is a game based on word meanings, so not only will your knowledge on phrasal verbs increase, but also your vocabulary at the same time.

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In the Phrasal Verbs Game 2 you will be given a sentence containing a phrasal verb. However, the preposition or adverb is missing and you will have to choose from a list of options. There will also be the meaning to help you find the answer.

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Task 1 – Go to Phrasal Verbs Game 1 or Phrasal Verbs Game 2 and have some fun with phrasal verbs.

Task 2 – Remember to copy and write down any phrasal verbs that you don’t know.

Task 3 – Challenge a friend to learn new words with you.

Website 2: ESL Lounge Student Phrasal Verbs Exercises

This website would appeal to more advanced learners as the exercises are a bit more difficult. However, a lot of the phrasal verbs are contextualised and there is also a section focusing on the meanings of many of the phrasal verbs used. You will also need to take the grammar of phrasal verbs into account.

You will have to complete the gaps in the sentences choosing from a list of main verbs and prepositions, but be careful if the phrasal verb is separable or not.

Other exercises will focus on phrasal verbs that have the same verb and you will have to choose from a list of prepositions.

Once again, this would be ideal for upper-intermediate and upwards students.

ESL Lounge Student Phrasal Verbs Exercises.png
Task 1 – Go to ESL-Lounge and try one of the many exercises they provide.

Task 2 – Remember to copy and write down any phrasal verbs that you don’t know.

Task 3 – Challenge a friend to learn new words with you.

The App: The Phrasal Verbs Machine

Now here is an app you can use on your phone or device. There is a large variety of phrasal verbs that you can learn and practise in an interactive way.

There are animations and explanations to help you learn the phrasal verbs and there are a wide range of exercises to help you practise the phrasal verbs. I found this app really user-friendly and fun to use, and the best thing about this app, it’s free.
Why not give it a go and see how it works for you.

Phrasal Verbs Machine App.png
Task 1 – – Download ‘The phrasal verbs machine’ app from the Play store or Itunes.

Task 2 – Before completing any of the exercises, remember to look at the explanations first.

Task 3 – Begin completing some of the exercises and remember to write down any new phrasal verbs you see.

Task 4 – Challenge a friend to learn new words with you.

Give it a try!

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