Basic English Phrasal Verbs (Pre-Intermediate to Intermediate)

Basic English Phrasal Verbs for Pre-Intermediate to Intermediate Students (Teacher's Resource)

If you have pre/lower-intermediate students or intermediate students who want to learn English phrasal verbs, then these materials are a good starting point. I compiled a list of 57 basic English phrasal verbs that every student should learn.

I've created two documents:

1) Basic English Phrasal Verb List 

Download: EC-Phrasal-verbs-Intermediate-list.doc (note: does not contain phrasal verb definitions)

This is a list of the phrasal verbs with an example sentence showing their usage. This may be all you need. Print this off and go over half a page or so per class. Your students will likely already know some of them. I am North American, so naturally, this list contains phrasal verbs that are most familiar to English speakers in North America.

Advice

  • Don't try to teach all of the phrasal verbs right away! Do half a page at a time and finish them off over the course of several classes.
  • Maybe save 15 minutes of class to study phrasal verbs. Don't spend a whole class on phrasal verbs.
  • Always review the phrasal verbs you studied in the previous class. Here is a good warm-up activity (requiring pictures) to review them.
  • After you have taught 10 or so phrasal verbs, do this role-play activity to give your students a chance to use the expressions in conversation.

Here is the Pre-Intermediate to Intermediate English Phrasal Verbs list:

calm down
"Calm down, Mike. There's no need to yell."
Definition

= to get control of your emotions
hold on
The secretary asked me to hold on while she checked her computer.
Definition

= to wait (while someone does something)
get along
I don't really get along with my boss.
Definition

= to have a good relationship with sb
give up
After an hour, Mike gave up. He couldn't fix the computer.
Definition

= to stop trying (to do sth)
grow up
I want to be a fireman when I grow up.
Definition

= to become a (mature) adult
fill out
"Please fill out this form."
Definition

= to complete by writing
break down
The stupid printer has broken down again.
Definition

= to stop working; to become inoperable
pass out
People were passing out flyers in front of the station.
Definition

= to distribute, to give sth to people by hand. (note: same as "hand out")
get together
Everyone from class is getting together tonight at 7pm.
Definition

= to meet or gather as a group
work out
Bryan likes to work out at least five times a week. 
Definition

= to exercise to make your muscles stronger
make up
I didn't have an excuse, so I made one up.
Definition

= to invent sth, e.g. a story or game
pass away
My grandfather passed away at the age of 98.
Definition

= to die (note: this expression is softer and more polite than 'die')
break up
Mark and Kate are always fighting. They should break up.
Definition

= to end a relationship with someone
eat out
I'm trying to save money. I don't eat out anymore.
Definition

= to go to a restaurant for breakfast/lunch/dinner
hang up
Kate hung up on me. She didn't want to speak anymore.
Definition

= to put down the phone to end a conversation
check out
"Hey, check out that man over there. He's huge!."
Definition

= to look at sth
figure out
No one could figure out where the ninja went.
Definition

= to find the answer to sth by thinking carefully
cheer up
Brenda looked sad, so I told her a joke to cheer her up.
Definition

= to make sb feel happier; to feel happier
look after
I agreed to look after Renee's dog while she is away.
Definition

= to take care of sth; to care for sth
shut up
"Shut up, Lisa! I can't hear the TV!" (note: impolite expression)
Definition

= to be quiet (strong/impolite)
look out
"Look out — there's a deer on the road!"
Definition

= to look up in order to see something dangerous
run out
The boys ran out of beer so they walked to the store to get some more.
Definition

= to no longer have enough of something you need
check in
We checked in to our hotel at 2 pm.
Definition

= to register after arriving at the hotel or airport
deal with
We have a big problem today that we need to deal with before we go home.
Definition

= to handle, or manage a situation or problem
pick up
I have to pick up my girlfriend at the airport at 8pm.
Definition

= to go somewhere to get sth; to collect sb
drop off
I need to drop off a book at the library.
Definition

= to take sb to a place they want to go to, or deliver sth to a place
end up
After college, and then two years in the military, Mark ended up in Taiwan.
Definition

= to finally finish in a certain position/situation, especially without planning it.
go on
The mountain climber could no longer go on. It was too cold.
Definition

= to continue
set on doing sth
Jason is set on becoming an Olympic wrestler. That’s all he talks about.
Definition

= to be firmly decided to do something
tie up
I was tied up so I couldn't answer the phone.
Definition

= to be too busy to do sth else
beat up
A tourist was beaten up last night in Central Park.
Definition

= to physically hurt sb in a fight
catch up
After her vacation, it took Janice all morning to catch up on her e-mails.
Definition

= to go from behind to where you should be; to reach sb ahead of you
cut back on sth
The doctor told Alan to cut back on fatty foods.
Definition

= to use less of sth; to consume less of sth
cut sth out
"Bobby, can you cut it out?? The sound your making is annoying."
Definition

= to stop doing sth (usually sth stupid/unreasonable)
find out sth
Yesterday, Mark found out that his wife has been cheating on him.
Definition

= to learn something new; to discover sth
do over
I had to do my report over because my computer crashed.
Definition

= to do again
go ahead
"A: Can we start eating, mom?” B: “Sure, go ahead."
Definition

= to start before sb else
go on
Mark heard shouting, so he went to the hallway to see what was going on.
Definition

= to happen
count on
I trust Mike. He’s responsible. We can count on him to do a good job.
Definition

= to depend/rely on sb to do sth; to trust sb will do sth
hit it off
Margaret likes her new boss. They have really hit it off.
Definition

= to quickly form a good relationship with sb
set up
The journalist managed to set up a meeting with the company CEO.
Definition

= to arrange/organize sth
keep sth up
Jenny hasn't smoked in 24 hrs but she's not sure how long she can keep it up.
Definition

= to continue doing sth
mess up
I don’t like giving big speeches. Every time I do it, I mess up.
Definition

= to make a mistake
call off
The football game was called off because of rain.
Definition

= to cancel sth
take after
Darryl takes after his father. They are both really funny.
Definition

= to resemble sb in your family
think sth over
"Give me a few days to think it over, OK?"
Definition

= to spend time thinking about a choice/problem
point out
Janice pointed out a small error on the report's cover page.
Definition

= to make sb aware of sth
put sth off
The meeting was put off until tomorrow because the boss was sick.
Definition

= to decide to do sth later
rip sb off
The cab driver tried to rip me off by charging 40 dollars for a ride to the airport.
Definition

= to get money unfairly from sb; to make sb pay too much money
show off
Greg enjoyed showing off his muscles at the beach.
Definition

= to show sth you are proud of
bring up
No one at the meeting brought up the issue of overtime.
Definition

= to mention sth in a conversation; to introduce a topic in a conversation
show up
Gladys didn't show up to the party until 10 p.m.
Definition

= to arrive at a place; to appear somewhere
sleep in
Mark usually sleeps in until noon on Saturdays.
Definition

= to sleep longer than usual
speak up
Alex had to speak up so his grandfather could hear him.
Definition

= to speak louder than usual
base on
This movie is based on a true story.
Definition

= to make sth by using an idea/story from somewhere else
work on
I need to work on my pronunciation.
Definition

= to work to improve sth
stand out
At 195 cm with red hair, Alan really stood out in Japan.
Definition

= to be easily noticeable in your surroundings; to be conspicuous

 

2) Basic Phrasal Verb Lesson Plan (7 one-page lessons)

Download: EC-Phrasal-verbs-Intermediate-lesson.doc (DOC)

I've also made seven short phrasal verb lesson plans. Each lesson plan teaches 8 or so of the basic phrasal verbs from the above list. This would be ideal for teachers who want to give their students some exercises based on the phrasal verbs, along with homework.

Here is a web-version of the lesson plans:

Group 1 – Phrasal Verbs
 
·       "Calm down, Mike. There's no need to yell."
·       The secretary asked me to hold on while she checked her computer.
·       I don't really get along with my boss.
·       After an hour, Mike gave up. He couldn't fix the computer.
·       I want to be a fireman when I grow up.
·       "Please fill out this form."
·       The stupid printer has broken down again.
·       People were passing out flyers in front of the station.
·       Everyone from class is getting together tonight at 7pm.
 
Write the correct phrasal verb beside its definition.
 
Phrasal Verb
Definition
 
to distribute, to give sth to people by hand
 
to complete by writing
 
to have a good relationship with sb
 
to stop trying (to do sth)
 
to get control of your emotions
 
to meet or gather as a group
 
to become a (mature) adult
 
to wait
 
to stop working, to become inoperable
 
Make your own sentences using the below ideas (note: good as homework)
 
hold on / schedule
e.g. I asked her to hold on while I checked my schedule.
dog / calm down
 
grow up
 
policeman / fill out
 
break down / angry
 
never / get together
 
get along / uncle
 
pass out / sample
 
give up / diet
 
 


 

Group 2 – Phrasal Verbs
 
·       I didn't have an excuse, so I made one up.
·       My grandfather passed away at the age of 98.
·       Mark and Kate are always fighting. They should break up.
·       I'm trying to save money. I don't eat out much anymore.
·       After new years, Ken plans to start working out.
·       Kate hung up on me. She didn't want to speak anymore.
·       "Hey, check out that man over there. He's huge!"
·       No one could figure out where the ninja went.
·       Brenda looked really sad, so I told her a joke to cheer her up.
 
Write the correct phrasal verb beside its definition.
 
Phrasal Verb
Definition
 
to go to a restaurant for breakfast/lunch/dinner
 
to make sb feel happier
 
to look at sth
 
to exercise to make your muscles stronger
 
to die
 
to end a relationship with someone
 
to invent sth, e.g. a story or game
 
to put down the phone to end a conversation
 
to find the answer to sth by thinking carefully
 
Make your own sentences using the below ideas (note: good as homework)
 
eat out / month
 
cheer up / ice cream
 
check out / new house
 
lazy / work out
 
pass away / 2011
 
break up / girlfriend
 
pet / make up / name
 
hang up / quickly
 
figure out / mystery
 
 
Group 3 – Phrasal Verbs
 
·       I agreed to look after Renee's dog while she is away.
·       I dropped off my car at the repair shop yesterday. I hope they have fixed it by now.
·       The boys ran out of beer so they walked to the store to get more.
·       Shut up, Lisa! I can't hear the TV!"
·       We checked in to our hotel at 2 pm.
·       I have to pick up my girlfriend at the airport at 8pm.
·       After high school, and then five years in the military, Mark ended up in Taiwan.
·       Look out — there's a deer on the road!"
 
Write the correct phrasal verb beside its definition.
 
Phrasal Verb
Definition
 
to take care of sth; to care for sth
 
to take sb to a place they want to go to, or deliver sth to a place
 
to finally finish in a certain position/situation, especially without planning it.
 
to no longer have enough of something you need
 
to register after arriving at the hotel or airport
 
to go somewhere to get sth; to collect sb
 
to look up in order to see something dangerous
 
to be quiet (strong/impolite)
 
Make your own sentences using the below ideas (note: good as homework)
 
look after / old
 
angry / shut up
 
look out
 
emergency / run out
 
check in / late
 
pick up / dinner
 
drop off / park
 
end up / Mexico
 
 

 

Group 4 – Phrasal Verbs
 
·       Yesterday, Mark found out that his wife has been cheating on him.
·       I was tied up so I couldn't answer the phone.
·       The mountain climber could no longer go on. It was too cold.
·       The doctor told Alan to cut back on fatty foods.
·       "A: Can we start eating, mom? B: Sure, go ahead."
·       I had to do my report over because my computer crashed.
·       "Bobby, can you cut it out?? The sound you’re making is annoying."
·       After her vacation, it took Janice all morning to catch up on her e-mails.
 
Write the correct phrasal verb beside its definition.
 
Phrasal Verb
Definition
 
to use less of sth; to consume less of sth
 
to be too busy to do sth else
 
to continue
 
to go from behind to where you should be; to reach sb ahead of you
 
to stop doing sth (usually sth stupid/unreasonable)
 
to learn something new; to discover sth
 
to do again
 
to start before sb else
 
Make your own sentences using the below ideas (note: good as homework)
 
cut down on / health
 
tied up / all day
 
tired / go on
 
catch up / schoolwork
 
singing / cut / it / out
 
boy / find out
 
do over / quiz
 
lady / go ahead
 
 

 

Group 5 – Phrasal Verbs
 
·       I hate giving big speeches. Every time I do it, I mess up.
·       The journalist managed to set up a meeting with the company CEO.
·       Mark heard shouting, so he went to the hallway to see what was going on.
·       Jason is really set on becoming an Olympic wrestler. That’s all he talks about.
·       The football game was called off because of rain.
·       Jenny hasn't smoked in 24 hrs but she's not sure how long she can keep it up.
·       We have a big problem today that we need to deal with before we go home.
·       I trust Mike. He’s responsible. We can count on him to do a good job.
 
Write the correct phrasal verb beside its definition.
 
Phrasal Verb
Definition
 
to happen
 
to depend/rely on sb to do sth; to trust sb will do sth
 
to arrange/organize sth
 
to continue doing sth
 
to make a mistake
 
to cancel sth
 
to be firmly decided to do something
 
to handle, or manage a situation or problem
 
Make your own sentences using the below ideas (note: good as homework)
 
go on / upstairs
 
children / count on
 
set up / interview
 
exercise / keep / it / up
 
date / mess up
 
call off / marriage
 
set on / England
 
deal with / mistake
 
 

 

Group 6 – Phrasal Verbs
 
·       Janice pointed out a small error on the report's cover page.
·       The cab driver tried to rip me off by charging 40 dollars for a ride to the airport.
·       Darryl takes after his father. They are both really funny.
·       "Give me a few days to think it over, OK?"
·       Greg wears tank tops so he can show off his muscles.
·       The meeting has been put off until tomorrow.
·       A tourist was beaten up last night in central park.
·       Margaret likes her new boss. They have really hit it off.
 
Write the correct phrasal verb beside its definition.
 
Phrasal Verb
Definition
 
to resemble sb in your family
 
to physically hurt sb in a fight
 
to quickly form a good relationship with sb
 
to spend time thinking about a choice/problem
 
to make sb aware of sth
 
to decide to do sth later
 
to get money unfairly from sb; to make sb pay too much money
 
to show sth you are proud of;
 
Make your own sentences using the below ideas (note: good as homework)
 
high school / beat up
 
I / take after
 
hit it off
 
think over / marriage
 
point out / problem
 
put off / lazy
 
rip off / salesman
 
rich / show off
 
 

 

Group 7 – Phrasal Verbs
 
·       No one at the meeting brought up the issue of overtime.
·       Gladys didn't show up to the party until 10 p.m.
·       Mark sleeps in until noon on Saturdays.
·       Alex had to speak up so his grandfather could hear him.
·       This movie is based on a true story.
·       I need to work on my pronunciation.
·       At 195 cm with red hair, Alan really stood out in Japan.
 
Write the correct phrasal verb beside its definition.
 
Phrasal Verb
Definition
 
to mention sth in a conversation; to introduce a topic in a conversation
 
to speak louder than usual
 
to sleep longer than usual
 
to repair sth; to work to improve sth
  to be easily noticeable in your surroundings
 
to make sth by using an idea/story from somewhere else
 
to arrive at a place; to appear somewhere
 
 
Make your own sentences using the below ideas (note: good as homework)
 
brought up / politics
 
movie star / show up
 
wish / sleep in
 
speak up / nightclub
 
base on / facts
 
this year / work on
 
foreigner / stand out
 

 

Questions? Found a mistake? Leave a comment below!

 

 

—-

Copyright Matthew Barton, July 2011, of Englishcurrent.com. Do not remove website name or URL from printable materials.

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20 Comments on this News Lesson

  1. Rizky Ana
    (Posted February 24, 2012 at 04:03 | Permalink | Reply)

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  2. admin
    (Posted February 24, 2012 at 04:22 | Permalink | Reply)

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    (Posted June 27, 2012 at 16:00 | Permalink | Reply)

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  6. Andrea
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  7. Romell Carneiro
    (Posted January 17, 2013 at 14:11 | Permalink | Reply)

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  9. Sumonaung
    (Posted May 3, 2013 at 17:13 | Permalink | Reply)

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  15. Eva
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    This is most helpful. Practical and simple. 

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  16. mackayteacher@yahoo.com
    (Posted April 16, 2014 at 04:44 | Permalink | Reply)

    I think phrasal  verbs are essenial for taking that next step in understanding the nuances of English.

    Many Thanks,

     

    Doug

  17. Ana Fernandez
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