Students – Read the Phrasal Verb List and Take the Quiz!
This is a list of 57 basic phrasal verbs for intermediate students. I am North American, so these verbs are especially common in North America. You can see the list below. After you study the list, play the new Barton Phrasal Verb Quiz to test your knowledge!
What’s a Phrasal Verb?
A phrasal verb is like an idiom — it is a phrase that has a special meaning. Phrasal verbs have a main verb and another word that is usually either an adverb or a preposition. Here are some examples:
- Let’s get together on Tuesday. (main verb + adverb)
- I decided to put off the meeting until next week. (main verb + preposition)
Phrasal verbs are very common in spoken English, especially in informal (casual) speech.
ESL Teachers – A 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 that can be found below.
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.
- 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, Mike. There’s no need to yell.”
= to get control of your emotions
The secretary asked me to hold on while she checked her computer.
= to wait (while someone does something)
I don’t really get along with my boss.
= to have a good relationship with sb
After an hour, Mike gave up. He couldn’t fix the computer.
= to stop trying (to do sth)
I want to be a fireman when I grow up.
= to become a (mature) adult
“Please fill out this form.”
= to complete by writing
The stupid printer has broken down again.
= to stop working; to become inoperable
People were passing out flyers in front of the station.
= to distribute, to give sth to people by hand. (note: same as “hand out”)
Everyone from class is getting together tonight at 7 p.m.
= to meet or gather as a group
Bryan likes to work out at least five times a week.
= to exercise to make your muscles stronger
I didn’t have an excuse, so I made one up.
= to invent sth, e.g. a story or game
My grandfather passed away at the age of 98.
= to die (note: this expression is softer and more polite than ‘die’)
Mark and Kate are always fighting. They should break up.
= to end a relationship with someone
I’m trying to save money. I don’t eat out anymore.
= to go to a restaurant for breakfast/lunch/dinner
Kate hung up on me. She didn’t want to speak anymore.
= to put down the phone to end a conversation
“Hey, check out that man over there. He’s huge!.”
= to look at sth
No one could figure out where the ninja went.
= to find the answer to sth by thinking carefully
Brenda looked sad, so I told her a joke to cheer her up.
= to make sb feel happier; to feel happier
I agreed to look after Renee’s dog while she is away.
= to take care of sth; to care for sth
“Shut up, Lisa! I can’t hear the TV!” (note: impolite expression)
= to be quiet (strong/impolite)
“Look out — there’s a deer on the road!”
= to look up in order to see something dangerous
The boys ran out of beer so they walked to the store to get some more.
= to no longer have enough of something you need
We checked in to our hotel at 2 pm.
= to register after arriving at the hotel or airport
We have a big problem today that we need to deal with before we go home.
= to handle, or manage a situation or problem
I have to pick up my girlfriend at the airport at 8 p.m.
= to go somewhere to get sth; to collect sb
I need to drop off a book at the library.
= to take sb to a place they want to go to, or deliver sth to a place
After college, and then two years in the military, Mark ended up in Taiwan.
= to finally finish in a certain position/situation, especially without planning it.
The mountain climber could no longer go on. It was too cold.
= to continue
set on doing sth
Jason is set on becoming an Olympic wrestler. That’s all he talks about.
= to be firmly decided to do something
I was tied up so I couldn’t answer the phone.
= to be too busy to do sth else
A tourist was beaten up last night in Central Park.
= to physically hurt sb in a fight
After her vacation, it took Janice all morning to catch up on her e-mails.
= 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.
= 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.”
= to stop doing sth (usually sth stupid/unreasonable)
find out sth
Yesterday, Mark found out that his wife has been cheating on him.
= to learn something new; to discover sth
I had to do my report over because my computer crashed.
= to do again
“A: Can we start eating, mom?” B: “Sure, go ahead.”
= to start before sb else
Mark heard shouting, so he went to the hallway to see what was going on.
= to happen
I trust Mike. He’s responsible. We can count on him to do a good job.
= 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.
= to quickly form a good relationship with sb
The journalist managed to set up a meeting with the company CEO.
= 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.
= to continue doing sth
I don’t like giving big speeches. Every time I do it, I mess up.
= to make a mistake
The football game was called off because of rain.
= to cancel sth
Darryl takes after his father. They are both really funny.
= to resemble sb in your family
think sth over
“Give me a few days to think it over, OK?”
= to spend time thinking about a choice/problem
Janice pointed out a small error on the report’s cover page.
= to make sb aware of sth
put sth off
The meeting was put off until tomorrow because the boss was sick.
= 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.
= to get money unfairly from sb; to make sb pay too much money
Greg enjoyed showing off his muscles at the beach.
= to show sth you are proud of
No one at the meeting brought up the issue of overtime.
= to mention sth in a conversation; to introduce a topic in a conversation
Gladys didn’t show up to the party until 10 p.m.
= to arrive at a place; to appear somewhere
Mark usually sleeps in until noon on Saturdays.
= to sleep longer than usual
Alex had to speak up so his grandfather could hear him.
= to speak louder than usual
This movie is based on a true story.
= to make sth by using an idea/story from somewhere else
I need to work on my pronunciation.
= to work to improve sth
At 195 cm with red hair, Alan really stood out in Japan.
= 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:
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 stop working, to become inoperable
hold on / schedule
e.g. I asked her to hold on while I checked my schedule.
dog / calm down
policeman / fill out
break down / angry
never / get together
get along / uncle
pass out / sample
give up / diet
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 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
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
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)
look after / old
angry / shut up
emergency / run out
check in / late
pick up / dinner
drop off / park
end up / Mexico
to use less of sth; to consume less of sth
to be too busy to do sth else
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
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
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
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
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;
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
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
brought up / politics
movie star / show up
wish / sleep in
speak up / nightclub
base on / facts
this year / work on
foreigner / stand out
Students, try the Phrasal Verb Quiz to test your skill! Or if you have a question or find a mistake, please leave a comment below!
Copyright Matthew Barton, July 2011, of Englishcurrent.com. Do not remove website name or URL from printable materials.