Phrasal Verbs

When ESL students first come to Hancock International College they will often wonder why they cannot understand Americans when they speak English. Often international students will assume it is simple because Americans use so much slang, but that is being overly broad. Americans do use slang, but also phrasal verbs. They are used more in spoken English as they are considered to be less formal, so you will not see them as often in academic materials. So what is a phrasal verb and how do you use them? To answer this question check out’s article titled “Phrasal Verbs in English”. says, “Phrasal verbs are verbs with two or three words:

main verb + particle (preposition or adverb)


I wake up at 7:30 every day.

Please turn off the TV.

My brother and I don’t get along. We fight all the time.

She came up with a good idea.

Phrasal verbs are difficult because you often can’t understand the meaning of each expression from the words themselves. Also, many phrasal verbs are very similar (take up, take on, take in, take over, etc.) and a number of phrasal verbs have multiple meanings.”

The article goes on to explain intransitive, transitive, separable and inseparable phrasal verbs. It also provides additional lists of phrasal verbs, so check it out with the link below!

Full Article:

Idiom of the Day

Get by

Meaning: to pass through. Often used to physically pass by someone or to be able to complete something without having a particular tool or ingredient needed.

Example 1: Two people are in a deep conversation and blocking the hallway, so you might say, “Excuse me, can I get by?”

Example 2: This recipe calls for nutmeg, but you can get by without it.