Phrasal Verbs in English

Phrasal Verbs are expressions which are unique to a language. They can be considered as “Idiomatic” expressions.

Phrasal verbs do talk about actions or happenings. There are a numerous phrasal verbs used in the English Language. They are very popular in the conversational language. They can also be considered as a part and parcel of Modern English.

One can easily learn Phrasal Verbs if he or she is in a native English speaking environment.

Phrasal verbs come in the form of two-word-verbs or three-word-verbs.

It is important to notice that the Phrasal verbs cannot be understood by taking the word meanings separately. If taken separately, they give different meanings and we often get misguided.

eg :

look after

If taken seperately,

Look – glance / view (meaning)
After – later / following (meaning)

“Look after” when considered as a phrasal verb, the idea is different. Look after means “take care of”.

Thus, phrasal verbs give different meanings rather than when considered separately. Therefore, we need to consider the combination of words as a whole in order to derive the meaning.

However, there is also a possibility that there are two or more meanings to each combination of words. Under such circumstances, the meaning has to be derived or understood based on the situation or the context.


  • The man took off his hat. - idea = removed
  • The plane took off at 5.30 p.m. - idea = rise from the ground

How Phrasal Verbs are formed

It is important to understand how Phrasal Verbs are formed.
A Phrasal verb is formed with a combination of a verb and another element. This element can either be an adverb, a preposition or both.

How Phrasal Verbs are formed

Different Types of Phrasal Verbs

When we study the phrasal verbs, we need to consider whether they are “transitive” or “intransitive”. Transitive means a verb that requires an object and “Intransitive” is a verb that does not require an object. Depending on this deviation, the usage of the verb may differ. This can be clarified with an example.

eg :

The man took off his hat.

In this example, “hat” is the object and therefore the verb is transitive. Therefore, you can structure the sentence in the following manner as well without harming the intended meaning of the sentence.

The man took his hat off.

The man took it off.

Accordingly, the phrasal verb here is separable. The verb and the particle can be separated as above. However, the same verb when used in a different context can become “Intransitive” and “Inseparable”.

eg :

The plane took off at 5.30 p.m.

Accordingly, we can see different usage of Transitive and Intransitive Phrasal verbs and Separable and Inseparable Phrasal verbs.

Easy ways to learn new phrasal verbs

We can learn phrasal verbs by categorizing them according to the “subject” or “theme”. We can also group them by the main verb and the particles used.

According to the Subject / theme

Eg: Telephone Phrasal verbs

  • Pick up
  • Hang up
  • Hold on
  • Call back
  • Put through

Eg: Phrasal verbs used in business meetings

  • Bring forward
  • Start off
  • Bring up
  • Look into
  • Call off
  • Figure out
  • Look forward to
  • Deal with
  • Wind up

According to the particles used

Eg: “out”

  • Bring out
  • Fill out
  • Break out
  • Find out
  • Pass out
  • Stand out
  • Check out
  • Stay out

According to the main verb

Eg: “Look”

  • Look after
  • Look for
  • Look out
  • Look back
  • Look down
  • Look into
  • Look forward to


Reported Speech

Reported Speech is a language pattern used to report to someone of what another person has said or thought.