Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Fun with phrasal verbs

Most students cringe at the dreaded phrasal verb - a verb that, when combined with a specific preposition (called a particle), changes meaning. English is tricky this way - instead of having more words, words simply get put together to mean different things. Some verbs, like get and set, have 2-3 pages of combinations in the dictionary! Daunting, to say the least. But students shouldn't fret. With a little planning and 5-10 minutes a day, these verbs can be easily conquered!
  • Invest in a Phrasal Verbs dictionary. Macmillan has a good one.
  • Keep a phrasal verb notebook. Have a page for each letter of the alphabet. When you run across (there's a phrasal verb!) a phrasal verb, write it down. Occasionally go back to your notebook and make connections between the verbs.
  • Read, read, read! The more you read, the more vocabulary you learn. This is not just advice - if you want to successfully learn the language, reading is essential. As you read, underline or mark off the phrasal verbs (or verbs you suspect are phrasal verbs). At the end of the chapter, go back and look up the verbs in your new dictionary. Record them in your notebook.
  • Go through your notebook and choose a phrasal verb at random. Try using it during the course of your day, even if it is just in your head.

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