Phrasal Verbs

Sometimes, there are prepositions which completely change the meaning of the verb.

What does “fall” mean? What does “out” mean? Well, and do you know what “fall out” means?

Read and find out.

Must-know Phrasal Verbs

A phrasal verb is a verb with one or several prepositions. Unlike verbs with dependent prepositions, they have a completely new meaning.

Verb + Preposition = New Meaning = Phrasal Verb

For example, fall – падать. Out – из. По логике – fall out = падать из.

Well, we can say that Tom fell out of a tree. But also, fall out = have an argument with someone.

Jane and Michael fell out last year and now they’re not friends anymore.

So you see, phrasal verbs often have more than one meaning.

Some meanings are easy to understand and remember, they are quite literal (буквальные). Some meanings, however, are not literal, and you just need to remember them.

We have chosen some must-know phrasal verbs that you simply have to find out about!

BTW, “find out” is a phrasal verb. It means ‘to learn new information‘.

Some phrasal verbs have more than one preposition. Here are some of them:

Of course, these are not all the phrasal verbs in the English language. There are many more!

When we put a phrasal verb into another tense, we change only the verb part. So if you want to say “calm down” in past simple, it will be “calmed down”.

She calmed down after I told her my plans.

There are verbs which need an object and verbs which don’t. For example, “fall down” doesn’t need an object. He fell down. No object. We call such verbs ‘intransitive’. There’s no one receiving the action.

Transitive phrasal verbs need a direct object. For example, to turn off. You can’t just turn off, you need to turn off SOMETHING.

Turn off the TV please!

• Turn the TV off please!

Both sentences are correct.

As you see, we can divide the phrasal verb by putting the object in the middle. Such verbs are called separable, the verb and the preposition can be separated in a sentence.

“The TV” is the object of the sentence. What if I say “it” instead of “the TV”? “It” is a pronoun. Which sentence is correct?

Turn it off please!

Turn off it please!

Only the first sentence is correct.

If I can split the phrasal verb, if it is separable (I can put “TV” either in the middle or after the phrasal verb),

I must put pronouns in the middle. I have to separate the phrasal verb if I use a pronoun as the object. I can’t say “turn off + pronoun”, I must say “turn + pronoun + off”.

However, there are some verbs which cannot be divided, which are inseparable.

For example “look for”. Can I say “I looked the book for”? No, I can’t. I can only say “I looked for the book”. In this case, if I say “it” instead of “the book”, I’ll put “it” after the phrasal verb, because I cannot split it. I looked for it, I looked for the book.

For a list of separable and inseparable phrasal verbs, go here.

See also the Posters page for some more examples.