The most effective way to learn a phrasal verb


I’m going to share with you one more tactic that I think it’s very useful if you want to learn a phrasal verb.

Approach A Phrasal Verb Like English Natives Do

Before going any further, I want to point out ONCE AGAIN how important is not to memorize a phrasal verb.
The wrong strategy while trying to learn a phrasal verb is memorizing endless lists of them that you are going to forget as soon as you learn new ones.

That being said…

What I recommend you is to write, on a very regular basis, about anything you like but trying to use as much phrasal verbs as possible.
You can write your personal journal, short fiction stories…whatever you like.
I really doesn’t matter what you write about. The only rule is to use a phrasal verb whenever possible.
In order to grow your phrasal verb knowledge, try to stuff your writing with lots of them.

An Example About How To Learn a Phrasal Verb

Next, I share with you one of my writings where I try to use one or even more than one phrasal verb per sentence. I try to use them naturally, like an English native would do, instead of just memorizing them:

I always wake up at 6:00 A.M and stay in bed for a while until I finally get up. Then I go to my children’s bedroom. Once there I switch on the radio and turn up the volume to help my sons to wake up.

Sometime after we all head to the kitchen. My sons sit down to have their breakfast as I have mine always standing up while doing other house chores. I hastily eat my breakfast trying to figure out all I’ll have to do during the day.
What I fear the most in the morning is to open the refrigerator to find out that we ran out of milk! This can be a big disaster because my sons want nothing but milk for breakfast.

My older son is always eager to help me to make breakfast. He likes very much to fill up glasses with milk but sooner or later one of the glasses fall down making the little ones to blow up laughing. Then I have to run off for the broom and come back to clean up the mess. These are actually very stressful moments.
It’s very helpful to know that you can count on your older son because it’s not easy to have breakfast while taking care of the younger ones, preparing the lunch boxes among many, many other things.

I always ask my children to keep away from the cooked and I also point them out that’s not a good idea to play around the kitchen.
I think it’s very important to bring up this kind of topics to children on a regular basis if you want them to be really aware of dangers around them.

While doing all these morning chores, I mentally cross out the tasks already done and I check out every now and then the clock to avoid being late.

My wife who’s already at work by this time always calls me. Sometimes, because of the noise our sons are making, I don’t hear the phone and then I call her back later as soon as I can.
We always hang up quickly because children start quarreling or fighting between them. Whenever I ask them for an explanation about their bad behavior they always make up funny stories that make me burst out laughing.

After having breakfast, I help them to put on their clothes but as soon as I turn around, they take off their clothes what make them laugh and makes me angry. I always calm down when I see them so happy playing together and I join their games for a while.

Before leaving the kitchen I clean up the table and wash up the dishes. Then, I always go through the house, to check out that all the lights are switch off.

Once in the street I always tell my sons to look out for cars before crossing the street.
Sometimes in our way to school we run into a friend. Even if we are really looking forward to chatting with him or her for a while we don’t because we can’t be late for school.
I don’t like at all when I have to put off a meeting at work just because I wasn’t able to leave the children at school at the right time.

As you can see, in this 40 lines long text I’ve been using 36 different phrasal verbs.

Now Is Your Turn To Learn a Phrasal Verb

This was an example of one of my writings where the aim is to work with phrasal verbs. I write this kind of text on a regular basis.
Remember that instead of just memorizing a phrasal verb you have to naturally and consciously use it whenever you write or speak in English.

Now it’s time for you to write down your own story full of phrasal verbs.
Stuff it as much as possible with hundreds of them!!!

And Remember…

The most effective way to learn a phrasal verb_

– Share your texts with us!
– Don’t worry about making mistakes, we all make mistakes.
– Feel free to tell me if you find any in my text.
…All your comments are very welcome!!!

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  • Mariangela

    Hi George, your site is very interesting! Thank you for sharing your texts with us.
    I’ ve found a mistake in your writing, you forgot to add -ed to “switch” in the sentence , it’ s a passive form.
    Bye bye from Italy

    1. George

      Hi Mariangela!!

      I’m very happy to know that you like my blog. I hope that my future posts are going to keep helping you!

      I also want to thank you very much for make me aware of one grammar mistake I made. It’s now corrected.

      Take care!!!

  • Vanda

    Hi George, your site it’s very helpful .I had always a lot of trouble on learning those phrasal verbs. I learned English at Boston, but unfortunately I had to come back to my country Brazil.I wish to go back there to continue learning English. My English it’s Getting weak each day,because I don’t practice. Thanks for yours posts.


    1. George

      Hi Vanda,

      Thank you very much for your kind comment! You’re right, we all have trouble with Phrasal verbs!

      I hope you’ll be able to go back to an English speaking country soon!
      Meanwhile, although is not the same, try to keep in touch with the English Language and culture as much as possible.

      Let me give you an advice that you’re maybe already following:
      You were in Boston enjoying a real English immersion. Now that you aren’t in Boston anymore, let me recommend you a “Virtual” English Immersion:
      Listening: There plenty of Podcasts, Audiobooks, Videos waiting for you.
      Reading: Read as much as possible whatever materials comes into your hands (Books, articles, magazines, newspapers…)
      Speaking: Keep in contact with your friends back in Boston through Skype, or just make brand new friends on the Internet.
      Writing: How bout writing to your former Bostonian friends or look for new penpals on the Internet

      If you are hard-working and tenacious, a “Virtual” English Immersion can be nearly as good as real English immersion.
      Take care Vanda!!!

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