Phrasal verbs are used all the time by native speakers of English. However, some English learners get confused by them and end up not using phrasal verbs at all. The thing is: phrasal verbs can be very helpful while speaking English. In this blog post, we will give a phrasal verbs list that you must know, as well as teach you about the separable and inseparable phrasal verbs. Keep reading if you want to master phrasal verbs!
What are phrasal verbs?
Phrasal verbs are considered verbs. They are composed of a main verb and a particle. A particle is a non-content word, but it is absolutely necessary for a phrasal verb. The particle can be a preposition (on, in, at, for, etc), an adverb (up, down, away, out, off, etc), or both a preposition and an adverb.
You should know that phrasal verbs are often idiomatic. This means that we don’t translate them literally. For instance, the phrasal verb “to get up”. We know that ‘get’ means several things, such as to arrive, to understand, to buy, or to bring –– among many others (be sure to check out our post about the meanings of ‘to get’ here). The adverb ‘up’ means toward a higher place or position. However, the meaning of the phrasal verb “to get up” has nothing to do with those definitions. “To get up” means to rise from bed after a night of sleep.
Many phrasal verbs are transitive, which means they require an object of the sentence to accept the action of the verb. Think about the phrase ‘turn off’. You have to say what you turn off, like she turned off the lamp. In this case, lamp is the object that accepts the action of ‘turn off’.
Other phrasal verbs are intransitive, which means they do not have an object of the sentence. Think about the phrasal verb sit down. She sat down. There is no object in this sentence, just a subject and the verb.
Check this phrasal verbs video lesson for more information about phrasal verbs:
Besides that, phrasal verbs can be divided into two categories: separable and inseparable. We will go over this below.
Separable or inseparable?
Here are some separable and inseparable phrasal verbs rules.
The separable phrasal verbs allow us to move the object of the sentence around, placing it between the verb and the particle in question. Here’s one example for you:
- Phrasal verb: to pick up
- Meaning: to collect someone from a place, usually by car
- Sentence 1: Mom, can you pick up Sienna today?
- Sentence 2: Mom, can you pick Sienna up today?
Both examples are correct. The only difference between them is the position of the object (Sienna, in this case). Therefore, the phrasal verb “to pick up” is one of those that we call ‘separable’ phrasal verbs.
On the other hand, the inseparable phrasal verbs don’t allow us to move the object around the sentence. The only way we can create a sentence with them is by placing the object after the particle. Take a look at the example below:
- Phrasal verb: to get along
- Meaning: to have a good relationship with someone
- Sentence: I don’t get along with my brother-in-law.
Okay, now that you learned the difference between the separable and inseparable phrasal verbs, you may be asking yourself: but how do I know which ones are separable and which ones are not?
I’m sorry to tell you the only way to know that is by memorizing them. However, my advice to you is to make these phrasal verbs a part of your everyday vocabulary. By using them often, you will learn to use them correctly very soon.
The good news is that down below we have 13 useful phrasal verbs that are inseparable. You can study this list in order to memorize them. You can also check for more in a phrasal verbs dictionary.
Examples of Phrasal Verbs
|Phrasal verb (inseparable)||Meaning|
|call on||ask someone to do something|
|come over||visit someone’s home|
|drop in||come for a visit, especially without having received an invitation for a specific time|
|drop out||not do something that you were going to do, or to stop doing something before you have completely finished|
|get along||If two or more people get along, they like each other and are friendly to each other|
|get back||to return to a place after you have been somewhere else|
|get in||enter a small method of transportation, like a car|
|get off||exit a big method of transportation, like a bus|
|get on||enter a big method of transportation, like a bus|
|get out of||exit a small method of transportation, like a car|
|get over||return to your usual state of health or happiness after having a bad or unusual experience, or an illness|
|run into||meet someone you know when you are not expecting to|
|run out||finish, use, or sell all of something, so that there is none left|
24 useful phrasal verbs that you should start using
Now let’s a look at some more phrasal verbs that you must know. All of these are separable, which means you can move the object around the sentence and place it between the verb and the particle. It is important to study them because we use phrasal verbs in daily English conversations.
|Phrasal verb (separable)||Meaning|
|ask out||ask someone on a date|
|call back||return a phone call|
|call off||decide that a planned event, especially a sports event, will not happen, or end an activity because it is no longer useful or possible|
|do over||repeat something|
|figure out||understand or solve something|
|fill in||add information such as your name or address in the empty spaces on an official document|
|fill out||to complete a form|
|fill up||make something full, such as a gas tank|
|give up||stop doing something that you do regularly|
|hang up||end a phone call|
|look up||search for and find a piece of information in a book or database|
|pick up||give someone a ride or lift something from the surface|
|put away||store things where they are usually stored|
|put back||return an object to where it was before it was moved|
|put off||postpone something|
|put on||to move something you wear onto your body|
|start over||begin to do something again, sometimes in a different way|
|throw away||put something into the trash|
|turn down||adjust a control on a device to reduce the volume or level.|
|turn off||stop a machine or light|
|turn up||adjust a control on a device to increase the volume or level or appear suddenly|
|wake up||stop sleeping|
|write down||write something on a piece of paper|
Well, there are many more phrasal verbs you can use in your everyday life. We will have more blog posts about this topic, but the phrasal verbs we just presented to you are a good start to the world of phrasal verbs in English. Let us in the comment section if you have any questions about this phrasal verbs list!