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  • 25 Phrasal Verbs Every Intermediate English Student Should Learn To Use

    Verbs are an extremely important part of the English language. They help create sentences, and show some kind of action. Along with regular verbs, there are also phrasal verbs, which are phrases that consist of a verb and a preposition, or a verb and an adverb. Using phrasal verbs is probably second nature to a native English speaker; however, they may be confusing to someone trying to learn the language, especially since many of the phrases shouldn’t be taken literally. Below are 25 phrasal verbs that every intermediate English student should be aware of, and try to use in their vocabulary.


    Broke down    

    This phrasal verb has two meanings:

    It can mean to get extremely upset. “The girl broke down when she found out her pet died.”

    It also means to stop working or functioning. “Our car broke down in the middle of the highway.”


    Figure out

    “Figure out” is another way of saying to understand. “I finally figured out the math equation after doing it several times.”


    End up

    The definition of this phrasal verb is to “eventually do something.” An example would be “If they study hard enough, an intermediate English student can end up becoming an advanced student.”


    Give up

    This phrase means to quit or to stop trying. “I gave up doing my homework because I didn’t understand it.”


    Get over

    “Get over” means to overcome a problem or an illness. Two examples would be:

    “The couple finally got over the big fight they had years ago.”

    “I got over the flu after I rested for a few days.”


    Drop out

    This phrase is defined as “quitting a class.” It can also sometimes be used a noun. “The student dropped out of his college class because he was failing.”


    Clean up

    To “clean up” is another way of saying “to clean” or “make tidy.” A good example is: “The mother asked her daughter to clean up her room.”


    Calm down

    “Calming down” means to relax after getting upset or angry. “He calmed down after the argument because he took a deep breath.”

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    Hang out

    This is a very common phrase among young people so ig you are an intermediate English student you should learn it. It means to “spend time with.” An example would be: “Let’s hang out at the mall with our friends.”


    Hang on

    “Hang on” is another common phrase. It means to wait a short while. “My dad told me to hang on when I asked him when dinner was going to be ready.”


    Hold on

    “Hold on” is interchangeable with “hang on” and also means to wait for a short while. “Hold on, I am almost finished.”


    Ask out

    When you “ask out” someone, it means you are inviting them a date. “My crush asked me out to the prom!”


    Mix up

    It’s easy for intermediate English students to “mix up” confusing words in English; the phrase means to get confused. “The child always mixes up her left and right hand.”


    Pass out

    “To faint or lose consciousness” is the definition of passing out. “The runner passed out from jogging for too long without drinking water.”


    Look down on

    This phrase shouldn’t always be taken literally. It can also mean to judge, or to think less of someone. “Most people look down on others who steal things that don’t belong to them.”


    Set up

    “Set up” is sometimes used a noun, but as a phrasal verb it means to arrange or organize. “The volunteers set up the chairs for the event.”


    Warm up

    Warm up can have two definitions as a phrasal verb.

    It can mean to raise the temperature. “We warmed up by the fire after shoveling snow for hours.”

    It also means to prepare muscles for exercising. “The ballet class stretched and warmed up their muscles before performing their dance.”


    Work out

    To “work out” is the same thing as exercising. “I went to the gym to work out.” It can also be used as a noun: “I did a tiring work out today.”


    Show off

    “Showing off” means to brag or gloat about something. “The student showed off his many birthday presents to the other children.”

    After learning these phrasal verbs, an intermediate student should try to show off their new vocabulary!


    Put up with 

    This phrase means to tolerate something. “The teacher explained that she had put up with the students’ bad behavior for too long.”


    Go over

    To “go over” something is another way to say “review.” “Can we go over our notes for the test?”


    Find out 

    This phrase means to discover something. “He just found out he was being promoted at work.”


    Do over

    To “do over” is another way of saying to “to do again.” For example, “We had to do over the project because it was incorrect.”


    Cut it out

    This phrase can literal, as in “cutting out” something from a piece of paper. The idiom version of this phrase means “to stop” and is usually used to show anger. “The angry boss yelled at his employees for fooling around and told them to cut it out.”


    Come on

    “Come on” is very common saying in English. It can mean to hurry up, as in “Come on, we are going to be late.”

    It can also show annoyance. “Come on! I told you not to do that anymore!”

    These phrases, as well as many more, exist everywhere in English and people use them a daily basis. If you are an intermediate English student and you want to improve your speaking skills, learn these phrasal verbs and practice them. If you want to talk your English to an even higher level, you should visit Spoken English Practice where you can find a native English speaker who will help you practice these phrases and much more.

    Other free resources:

    Are you an intimidate English student who wants to fine-tune your Accent? Read this guide

    Are you an intimidate English student who wants to learn more slang? Read this article on “street English”

    April 3, 2017
    3 April 2017,
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