Best Practices: Phrasal Verbs And Vocabulary To Know And Use

English vocabulary consists of many phrasal verbs. You can find them in conversation, business English, movies, songs, books, and virtually everywhere people communicate in English!

What is a phrasal verb?

A phrasal verb consists of a verb and a prepositional particle. Typical phrasal verbs are to get up, sit down, deal with, and look forward to.

As the image shows above, fluent speakers use phrasal verbs. The challenge is that phrasal verbs can be literal in meaning or figurative in meaning. For example, "Look up at the sky" literally means to move your head up and look at the sky. However, "Look up the address of the restaurant in the phone book" figuratively means to search for and find (the address) in a reference book (phone book or dictionary).

Give up means to stop
making an effort or to
stop doing something.
In addition, phrasal verbs have different meanings that depend on the context. Always remember that meanings of phrasal verbs are contextual and they depend on the context.

In general, phrasal verbs follow specific grammar constructions:
  • You give up something (verb + ing). For example, I gave up smoking in 1995.
  • You give something up. For example, I gave it up in 1995.

    You cannot say, "I gave up it in 1995."

    Pronouns, such as YOU, HIM, HER, THEM, US, and IT go between the verb and the prepositional particle.

    More examples:

    I picked up my parents at the airport. I picked them up at the airport.
    (I went to the airport to get or collect my parents.)
  • If a phrasal verb consists of two particles, such as look forward to, pronouns go after the last particle.

    I am looking forward to my holiday. I am looking forward to it.
    (I am anticipating and excited about my future holiday.)

    Be careful, because there are many exceptions. For example, the phrasal verb deal with only has one particle, but pronouns go after with and not between deal and with.

    I have to deal with customers who have bad attitudes. I have to deal with them.
Make up means to reconcile and to stop a dispute. It
also means to put makeup or cosmetics on your face.

Please click on the image below to see the 15 most useful phrasal verbs in the English language.

Click on the image to see it.

Click here to download a list of about 200 useful phrasal verbs with meanings and examples.

If you have difficulty downloading the documents:
  • Right-click on the document (cliquer √† droite)
  • Choose "save as . . . " (choisir "enregistrer sous . . .")


Look at the image above and choose five phrasal verbs. Create a story with them.

Tell me your story by leaving a comment below or in a message by E-mail at, if you like.

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