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22 / 10 / 2009

PHRASAL VERBS-3 (REVISION): meaning and examples

Good morning.

Today we finish our short series about phrasal verbs with 3 final suggestions. Phrasal verbs can be very complicated, and this short series is just the beginning. However, we will come back to phrasal verbs very soon.

5) Phrasal verbs are flexible. A phrasal verb reference list can be useful to quickly check meaning but it probably won't be complete. This is because phrasal verbs can be manipulated easily to create new meanings. For example, many of you may be familiar with the word chill-out to refer to relaxing music. But did you know that the verb to chill out means to relax? This is an example of a fairly new colloquial phrasal verb; one that was invented recently.

6) Phrasal Verbs are used more in spoken or informal English. If you want lots of contact with phrasal verbs, you need to increase your contact with informal native English (speaking with natives, watching films, etc.). This is because phrasal verbs are often used in informal speech. Some phrasal verbs have a more formal synonym, for example the phrasal verb come back versus the "normal" verb return.

If you speak a Latin-based language such as Spanish, Catalan or French, you probably feel more comfortable using return. However, a native English speaker would probably use come back. This is why you may sometimes have difficulty understanding native speakers; they use phrasal verbs where you would prefer the "normal" verb

7) Phrasal verbs have grammar. If you really want to become a proficient user of phrasal verbs, it is important to know how phrasal-verb grammar works because it affects the way that you combine them with objects. We won't cover the grammar of phrasal verbs today, but we will next week.

After reading the last three Daily Vitamins, you now have no excuses to throw up your hands in frustration and give up when you see a phrasal verb you don't know! However, if you still have questions about phrasal verbs, please post your comments by clicking on the "Add a Comment" button in the Daily Vitamin section on our website (

Remember that tomorrow we will send the Essential Weekly Vitamin for Spanish-speaking students of English.

Enjoy your day!