Phrasal verbs connect a verb with an adverb, preposition or both, ultimately providing additional meaning to the verb. For example, „chase” is a verb, but „chase off” is a phrasal verb. Phrasal verbs can be difficult to learn initially, because the syntax feels a little weird when you think about it (e.g., why connect a preposition with a verb?). Nonetheless, they are used practically in daily conversation, and using phrasal verbs fluently only requires a bit of time and commitment to learning and then using the words.
- Make a list of five to ten phrasal verbs that you want to learn each day. Develop this list from a dictionary of phrasal verbs. The websites UsingEnglish.com and Eslcafe.com provide an effective and reasonably comprehensive dictionary of phrasal verbs.
- Use the new phrasal verbs multiple times throughout the day. Incorporating the words into your daily conversations will assist in your comprehension of the verbs and help entrench the words in your long-term memory. Your goal is to commit the words to rote and reflexive memory, meaning that you want to be able to repeat the words automatically and without committing any substantial effort to remember the phrases.
- Write sentences incorporating the phrasal verbs. Four sentences for each word would be good, but ten sentences for each word would be excellent. Throughout the day, glance at the phrasal verb sentences you have written. By using the words in writing and in speech, your overall language skills with phrasal verbs will improve.
- Take phrasal verb quizzes on occasion to test your knowledge of the words. For example, UsingEnglish.com has quizzes freely available to anyone looking to study and retain phrasal verbs. Testing your ability with phrasal verbs will help ensure that you remember the words and do not use them inappropriately in speech and writing.
- Spend time reviewing an entire week’s set of phrasal verbs during the weekend. For example, instead of writing a few sentences for each word, try writing a paragraph or set of paragraphs that incorporate most of them. Similarly, instead of using only the five or ten phrasal verbs on your list for that day in conversation, trying use most of them or even all of them.
All the best,