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What Is a Phrasal Verb?

10/7/18 What Is a Phrasal Verb?

A phrasal verb is a phrase that’s made up of a verb and another word or two, usually a preposition but sometimes an adverb.
  • A verb is an action word. It describes something happening (i.e. hearing, seeing), a state of being (i.e. to live, to sleep), or an action being done (i.e. to read, to sing).
  • A preposition is a word that describes the relationship between two words. For example, the bees are above the table or under the table, but not inside the table (hopefully). Prepositions mainly deal with location or direction (i.e. on, through, around) and time (i.e. “by” or “around” a certain time).
  • An adverb is a word that describes a verb. For example, you can run quickly or slowly and arrive to class early or late.
Phrasal verbs work by changing the verb’s meaning based on the preposition that follows them.
For example, the word “come,” on its own, means to move towards something. Together with the preposition “on,” though, the phrase “come on” becomes a phrase of encouragement.Below are some of the most common phrasal verbs in the English language:

  • Bring up — To mention something. (Note: The two parts of this phrasal verb can be separated.)
“Mark was sick and had to miss the party, so please don’t bring it up, I don’t want him to feel bad for missing it.”
  • Bring on — To cause something to happen, usually something negative. (The two parts of this phrasal verb can be separated by what’s happening.)
“His lung cancer was broughton by years of smoking.”
  • Bring it on! — To accept a challenge with confidence.

“You want to have a race? Bring it on! I can beat you!”

Tomorrow we’ll provide many more examples!

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