Learning Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are useful expressions in English. They are made by combining a verb plus an adverb or preposition. Sometimes, the combination of the words does not retain the same meaning as the individual parts. "Take off" can mean "to remove," as in, "Please take off your shoes when you enter the house." In this case, the words "take" and "off" make it easier to understand the phrasal verb "take off" because each word retains its original meaning. "Take off" can also mean to launch, accelerate, or move away quickly. This meaning may not be as obvious to students.

Learning phrasal verbs can be a challenge, but it is important for students to learn them in order to become more fluent speakers. It also greatly helps in understanding native speakers of English. Today, some of our students were introduced to separable phrasal verbs used in everyday situations. These are phrasal verbs that have an object, and are also known as "transitive phrasal verbs." While it is less important for students to learn what these are called, it is more important to know how to use them.

Some phrasal verbs can take a direct object, such as "hand in." We can hand in a report, our homework, etc. If the phrasal verb takes a direct object, then the direct object can be inserted between the parts of the phrasal verb.

We can say, "I handed in my homework" or "I handed my homework in."

We can also substitute a pronoun for the direct object.

"I handed it in" is correct,.

"I handed in it" is incorrect.

Pronouns that replace the direct object cannot go to the end of a sentence.

People have various learning styles, but one of the most common types of learners is the visual learner. With that in mind, students tried drawing pictures that represented some phrasal verbs that were learned today. This was done with a small group of adult women who study English for everyday situations. The students were encouraged to draw something that would help them remember the phrasal verbs later. Later in the day, a business English student was asked to do the same thing. Here are the resulting illustrations.

This activity can be adjusted according to ability. For some, there was plenty of time to create an illustration and a corresponding sentence.

 The first step was to learn the meanings of the phrasal verbs. The next step will be to use these in a way that practices how to insert the direct object between the parts of the phrasal verbs. By having students write sentences with the illustrations, the instructor can see what grammar points will need to be reviewed later. For now, the objective is to learn the new vocabulary.

The first step was to learn the meanings of the phrasal verbs. The next step will be to use these in a way that practices how to insert the direct object between the parts of the phrasal verbs. By having students write sentences with the illustrations, the instructor can see what grammar points will need to be reviewed later. For now, the objective is to learn the new vocabulary.

 For other students, more time was spent on the illustration to help remember the phrasal verbs. (I think there is an artist in the class.)

For other students, more time was spent on the illustration to help remember the phrasal verbs. (I think there is an artist in the class.)

 Other students needed more time to understand each phrasal verb and create a matching picture.

Other students needed more time to understand each phrasal verb and create a matching picture.

 This could be something that students do again as homework. It will be interesting to see how many of these phrasal verbs will have been retained when the class meets again the following week.

This could be something that students do again as homework. It will be interesting to see how many of these phrasal verbs will have been retained when the class meets again the following week.

 While these are not all separable phrasal verbs, these are examples of drawings that one of the students of business English created to help him remember the meanings of some commonly used phrasal verbs. He will review the meanings of each one and be asked to create spoken sentences using these in his next lesson.

While these are not all separable phrasal verbs, these are examples of drawings that one of the students of business English created to help him remember the meanings of some commonly used phrasal verbs. He will review the meanings of each one and be asked to create spoken sentences using these in his next lesson.