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Hello and welcome to Phrasal Verbs Explained 

First of all, thank you so much for your visit to my website, which is dedicated entirely to the explanation of English phrasal verbs for English learners around the world. 

Phrasal verbs are extremely common in the English language and are regularly used by native speakers in spoken and written English, both formally and informally. Did you know that there are more than 5,000 different phrasal verbs in English and many of the most common ones can have a lot of different meanings, depending on the context in which they are used?!


Don't let this worry you though as the majority of native English speakers certainly do not know or use many of these phrasal verbs. Nevertheless, it is absolutely necessary that you learn how to use the most common phrasal verbs if you want to elevate your language level and sound more like a native speaker. 

If you are a learner of English, it is highly probable that you know a lot of phrasal verbs already, even if you do not know what the term "phrasal verb" means. 

What are phrasal verbs? 

Phrasal verbs are combinations of two words (or sometimes three) consisting of a verb followed by a prepositional particle (in, to, up etc.), which when used together, create a new idiomatic meaning which is different to the meanings of the individual two words.


The new meanings are usually so different from the meanings of the single words that it is difficult or impossible to understand them if you are not already familiar with them.


Examples of common phrasal verbs in English include to come across, to look into, to break down and to show off

In addition to this, many of these combinations have a literal meaning that can be understood from the individual words. 

How can this blog help you? 

This blog has been designed to help learners of English to understand the most commonly used phrasal verbs and all of the main meanings that they have; both literal and idiomatic. In each post, I outline the different meanings of each phrasal verb and how they are used by native speakers, with lots of examples to illustrate them. Furthermore, we look at how common each meaning is, the potential synonyms that can be used and the differences in meaning with these synonyms and whether or not the phrasal verbs are separable.

glossary of terms

On each blog post there is a table of key information for each phrasal verb as well as smaller tables with separate information for each different meaning of the phrasal verb. To help you fully understand and get the most from the blog, I have created the below glossary of terms used in each post....

An example of a key information table on the Phrasal Verbs Explained blog
An example of the key information table of a phrasal verb on Phrasal Verbs Explained

Usage: This tells you how common the phrasal verb is in current English. The usages given on the blog are rare, medium and common. 

Literal Meaning: Does the phrasal verb have a literal meaning that can be understood from looking at the meaning of the two component words. 

Idiomatic Meaning: This is a meaning that is different to the meaning of the individual words in the phrasal verb and cannot be understood without additional knowledge. These are perfectly natural to a native speaker but can often be a problem for English learners. 

Meanings: This tells you how many different meanings the phrasal verb has in English.

Separable: This tells you if you can separate the two words that form the phrasal verb and put words between them. This is possible with some phrasal verbs but not all.

Past Forms: This tells you the past forms of the phrasal verb with the simple past form first and the past participle second. 

Transitive: A transitive phrasal verb means that it has a direct object, which is an object that directly receives the action of a verb. An example is "I wake up my dog" - in this sentence I am the subject and the dog is the direct object that receives the action of waking. All separable phrasal verbs are transitive and have a direct object. 

Intransitive: An intransitive phrasal verb does not have a direct object to receive the action of the verb. An example of this would "I woke up at 7am" - here there is no direct object receiving the action, only the subject I and the time. 

Potential Synonyms: These are other verbs and phrasal verbs that could be used as synonyms for the phrasal verb in question. It should be noted that this usually depends on the context and  these cannot be used as synonyms in every instance. 

British or American: This tells you if the phrasal verb is used mainly in British English, American English or both. Of course, there are are other forms of English with their own phrasal verb usage, however this blog is focusing mainly on British and American English as the most commonly used and learned versions of English.

About Me 

James, the author and creator of Phrasal Verbs Explained

My name is James and I am the author and creator of this blog. I am a TEFL English language teacher from the United Kingdom and I have been teaching students from all over the world for many years.


I am happily married and have two cats, who often get mentions on many of the blog posts. 

I really love teaching English and I have noticed over the years that many of my students find phrasal verbs difficult and hard to understand and use, which is the reason why I started the blog. 

I love hearing from you all with your questions and comments and will always respond to you whenever possible. 


For any enquiries about the blog or English lessons, send an email to the below address: 

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