I know, how much more fun can grammar get?? Recently, one of my students requested a lesson on phrasal verbs. I have never taught phrasal verbs before so I did a bit of research on them one day and found out another reason why people say English is one of the most complicated languages to learn. There are hordes of phrasal verbs in the English language and this often trips some students up (ha! “trip up”! A transitive separable phrasal verb!) because phrasal verbs do not exist in other languages.
So what are they exactly? Basically, phrasal verbs are comprised of two parts, a main verb and an adverb or preposition. The adverb and preposition are referred to as the particle. The particle attaches itself to the main verb and changes the meaning of it.
Let’s take a closer look!! We take a nice normal verb like: LOOK; i.e. I looked at my dog.
You add a particle such as: THROUGH and suddenly you’ve changed the meaning of the verb; i.e. The lawyer looked through the files.
“Look through” in this case means “search”. Interesting, isn’t it?
Here are other examples of common phrasal verbs that you probably use a lot yourself: think over, break down, pick up, turn off and eat out.
I stretched this topic into 5 days so students got plenty of practice with intransitive and transitive phrasal verbs. If you’re teaching phrasal verbs and you’re trying to find a fun way to engage your students, you should try playing Dominoes using phrasal verbs. I got the idea from English with Jennifer (one of my go-to ESL resources). I had them play the game again the next day and they told me that they’re starting to remember the meanings a lot better than the day before!
I also gave students a nice list (complete with examples) of Common English Phrasal Verbs so they don’t need to constantly leaf through the dictionary.
After having taught this for a week, I am now very aware of when I or other people use phrasal verbs in everyday speech. I hadn’t even realized just how big a part they play in the English language!