Phrasal Verbs By Topics

Phrasal verbs are not easy to learn, and they deserve to be once again highlighted. For this very reason, I’ve decided to bring out this article, which is a follow-up to the one earlier published, Phrasal Verbs.

Categorization is one infallible way to make such verbs learner-friendly. They can be classified into various ways, be it by a shared preposition or common verb. Today, we will classify them into topic-related groups. Its effectiveness is unquestionable, and my students’ great results are the proof.

As a teacher, I strongly believe that introducing a list of phrasal verbs in a topic-related context is essential. In this way, given the syllabus of the study book, the topics of its units and no matter the lesson language skills to cover and its stages, be it a post-reading or a post-listening discussion, etc, learners will once again be invited to use these tricky language creatures. So, a mere turn of the page is not valid. We must tame them for good!

Besides, the Cambridge exams candidates must show knowledge of TOPIC-related vocabulary in papers like Speaking and Writing. By learning phrasal verbs using this approach, the English learners will get a guaranteed high score in one of the four Cambridge assessment criteria, the Language Resource.

N.B. All the phrasal verbs from the groups below belong to the B1 Preliminary must-know list. The English Profile is a great tool that I strongly recommend to both learners and teachers. It provides us with lexis from all the Cambridge levels, from A1 to C2, and more than twenty topic-related vocabulary. Check it out, this website is a must on our online bookshelf.

  • wear out sth: to use a piece of clothing so much that it becomes old and useless
  • have (got) on sth: If you have clothes or shoes on, you are wearing them.
  • hang up sth: to put something, especially a piece of clothing, somewhere where it can hang
  • dress up: to wear formal or smart clothes
  • try on sth: to put on a piece of clothing to discover if it fits you or if you like it
  • send / take back sth: to return something someone bought, especially because it is damaged or not suitable
  • shop around: to look in different shops before deciding which one to buy
  • go for sth: to choose something
  • run out (of): to finish or sell all of something, so that there is none left
  • pay back sb: to pay someone the money that you owe them
  • put up sth: to increase the price or value of something
  • run out: to use all of the something so that there is none left
  • go up: to increase (the cost)
  • give away: to give something to someone without asking for payment
  • split up: If two people who have a romantic relationship split up, they finish their relationship.
  • go out: If two people go out together, they have a romantic relationship with each other.
  • get together: If two or more people get together, they meet each other, having arranged it before.
  • hang out: to spend a lot of time in a place or with someone
  • break up: to end a relationship
  • grow up: to become an adult
  • bring up: to raise a child until it is an adult
  • get together: to meet in order to do something or spend time together
  • get on: to have a good relationship
  • write back: to reply to someone’s letter
  • come out: to become available (books, CDs, albums, etc)
  • get in touch: to contact someone
  • look up: to try to find information in a book, dictionary, etc
  • put sb through: to connect someone using a telephone to the person they want to speak to
  • join in (sth): to become involved in an activity with other people
  • take up: to start doing something new regularly
  • hang around: to spend time somewhere, usually for no particular reason
  • look forward to sth: to feel happy and excited about something that is going to happen in the future
  • put off sth: to arrange to do something at a later time
  • break up: to stop going to school for the holidays
  • get on: to deal with a situation successfully
  • keep up: to not allow something that is at a high level to fall to a lower level
  • hand in sth: to give a piece of written work to a teacher
  • set up: to formally establish a new company, organization, system, way of working, etc
  • fall down: to fall onto the ground
  • blow away: If the wind blows something away, that thing moves because the wind blows it.
  • blow sth down: If the wind blows something down, that thing falls to the ground because the wind blows it.
  • come out: When the sun, the moon, or a star comes out, it appears in the sky.
  • go down: When the sun goes down, it moves down in the sky until it cannot be seen any more.
  • put on (weight): to become heavier, to gain extra weight
  • keep sb in: to make someone stay in hospital
  • work out: to exercise
  • feel up to: to have enough energy to do something, to feel well enough
  • give up: If you give up a habit, such as smoking, you stop doing.
  • move in: to begin living in a new home
  • move out: to stop living in a new home
  • turn into: to change from one thing into another
  • rent out: to make your building available for others to live in for money
  • tidy up: to make neat and clean
  • book sb in: to arrange for someone to stay in a hotel
  • set out / off: to start a journey
  • go back: to return to a place where you were
  • go away: to leave your home in order to spend time in different places
  • check in: to register at an airport, hotel, etc
  • break down: to stop working properly (a machine)
  • turn down: to reduce the level of sound that something produces
  • turn up: to increase the level of sound that a machine produces
  • go off: If a light or a machine goes off, it stops working.
  • switch off/on:  to turn off/on a light, television, etc. by using a switch
  • eat out: to eat at a restaurant
  • warm up: to make hotter (the food)
  • take sth away: to buy food in a shop or restaurant and eat it somewhere else
  • cut up: to break something down into pieces
  • fill up: to make something become full, e.g a fridge

I would like to share with you my phrasal verbs teaching ABC. If you are a fellow teacher, this could give you some food for thought and provide you with some insights into the phrasal verbs know-how. 

PRESENTATION. Explain the meaning of the phrasal verbs to be taught.
PEER HELP. Pair conversation using expressions to ask for clarification and clarify: "When you say ..., what do you mean?" "Are you saying that ... ?", "Could you explain that a little more?" "What I mean is ... ." "No, I am referring to ... ." "That´s right."
ASK QUESTIONS USING THE DEFINITIONS. Guess the secret phrasal verb. One student thinks of a phrasal verb. The other one should come up with definitions, which are called LIVES, to try and guess the secret verb. They are given a concrete number of lives. Each student should guess it before running out of lives.
IDENTIFY IT! BINGO game. Listen to the definition and cross the phrasal verb from your bingo card. Even if it is not in your BINGO, but you do know the phrasal verb, rise your hand and say it out! There are two winners: the one who was fast in saying the phrasal verb and the other who crossed all the phrasal verbs.
FUN! BANANA/BEEP game: "What's the preposition?" e.g, "Hang BANANA a minute!" "I grew BEEP in China".
REINFORCEMENT. FUN! JEOPARDY game. In pairs or groups, students uncover a phrasal verb and unveil an amount of points. If they can build a sentence with the given verb, they win this score. What kind of sentence, affirmative, interrogative or interrogative, the dice will show.
REINFORCEMENT. SHIP BATTLE game. My favourite so far, since it is 100% students' communication and 5% teacher's involvement. It is true that we must create the card beforehand.
MOVE AROUND, ASK & FIND OUT! Each student is given a card with questions. e.g. "Can you name a famous person who broke .... with his/her partner?" Before starting to ask, students fill in the gaps with the missing preposition or verb, then move around to interview their classmates.
PRODUCTION. Write a short funny anecdote or story using the phrasal verbs. When reading out the story, the rest should clap their hands each time they hear a phrasal verb.
TESTING. e.g. Match the verbs with their preposition. Read the sentences and write the missing phrasal verbs in the correct form. Paraphrase the sentence using a phrasal verb.
PLAY HARD! Quiz time with online interactive tools, such as Kahoot, Quizizz, Quizlet, etc
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My dearest, I’ve written this article thinking about you, our English learners and the English teaching community alike. I hope each one has found interesting and useful material and ideas to take on board. 

Stay tuned for more words of advice and handy material!

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