Phrasal Verbs – unlocked

We unlock some of the myths surrounding Phrasal verbs and give insight into how they are used.

Phrasal verbs - unlocked. A photo depicting old London Town to suggest a theme for speaking like a native speaker.


We use phrasal verbs in English because they add nuance and depth to our language. Phrasal verbs are formed by combining a verb with one or more prepositions or adverbs, and they often have multiple meanings depending on the context in which they are used. These verbs are an essential part of conversational English and can be used to express a wide range of ideas and actions.

Phrasal verbs can also help you to sound more natural and fluent in English. Native speakers use these verbs all the time, so learning how to use them correctly will help you to communicate more effectively with English speakers.

Another reason we use phrasal verbs is that they are often more descriptive and specific than single-word verbs. For example, the phrasal verb “to look up” can mean to search for information in a dictionary or on the internet. This is more specific than using the single-word verb “to search”, which can refer to a broader range of actions.

Overall, phrasal verbs are a vital part of the English language, and learning how to use them correctly can help you to communicate more effectively and sound more natural in English.

How many phrasal verbs do I need to sound like a native speaker?

There is no specific number of phrasal verbs you need to know to sound native in English. Native English speakers use many phrasal verbs in their everyday conversations, and the number of phrasal verbs you need to know depends on the level of proficiency you want to achieve.

However, it is essential to note that knowing a large number of phrasal verbs does not necessarily mean that you will sound completely native. Native speakers also use idiomatic expressions, collocations, and other linguistic features that you will need to learn and master to sound truly native.

That being said, it is always beneficial to learn as many phrasal verbs as possible, as they are an important part of the English language and will help you to communicate more effectively with native speakers. You can start by learning the most common phrasal verbs and gradually building your knowledge from there.

Phrasal verbs used at work

  1. Carry out: To perform or complete a task or duty. Example: I need to carry out market research before launching the product.
  2. Follow up: To pursue an issue or task to its completion or resolution. Example: Please follow up with the client to confirm the meeting time.
  3. Take on: To accept or assume responsibility for a task or project. Example: I am willing to take on more responsibility in the team.
  4. Hand in: To submit or deliver a document or report. Example: Please hand in your expense report by Friday.
  5. Bring up: To introduce a topic or issue for discussion. Example: I would like to bring up the issue of employee retention.
  6. Draw up: To create or prepare a document or plan. Example: We need to draw up a project plan before we start the work.
  7. Put together: To assemble or compile something. Example: We need to put together a proposal for the new project.
  8. Work out: To solve or resolve a problem or issue. Example: Let’s work out a solution to the staffing problem.
  9. Set up: To establish or create something. Example: We need to set up a meeting with the stakeholders.
  10. Come up with: To suggest or propose an idea or solution. Example: Can you come up with a new marketing plan for the product?

Phrasal verbs used in everyday conversations

  1. Hang out: To spend time with friends or acquaintances in a casual setting. Example: Let’s hang out at the park this weekend.
  2. Catch up: To get up to date on news or events with someone. Example: Let’s meet up for coffee and catch up.
  3. Break up: To end a relationship. Example: They decided to break up after a long discussion.
  4. Drop off: To leave someone or something at a particular place. Example: I need to drop off my kids at school before work.
  5. Pick up: To collect or obtain something. Example: I need to pick up some groceries on my way home.
  6. Run into: To meet unexpectedly. Example: I ran into my old friend at the supermarket.
  7. Look forward to: To be excited about something that is going to happen in the future. Example: I am looking forward to my vacation next month.
  8. Cheer up: To make someone feel happier or less sad. Example: Let’s watch a comedy movie to cheer you up.
  9. Hang up: To end a phone call. Example: I need to hang up now, I have another call coming in.
  10. Put off: To delay or postpone something. Example: I had to put off my dentist appointment because of my work schedule.

How many exist?

There is no definitive answer to this question as the number of phrasal verbs in English constantly evolves, and there are many variations and nuances. However, it is estimated that there are thousands of phrasal verbs in English, and new ones are added to the language every year. Some sources suggest that around 6,000 phrasal verbs are in common use, while others put the number higher or lower. Ultimately, the exact number is difficult to determine. Still, it is clear that phrasal verbs are an important part of the English language and are used frequently in everyday conversation and writing.

The benefits of practising Phrasal verbs with an English teacher.

Practising with an English teacher can have several benefits, including:

  1. Clarifying meanings: Phrasal verbs can have multiple meanings depending on the context they are used in. An English teacher can help clarify the meanings of phrasal verbs and provide examples of how they are used in different situations.
  2. Improving vocabulary: Phrasal verbs are an essential part of English vocabulary, and mastering them can help improve your language skills. An English teacher can provide you with a list of commonly used phrasal verbs and teach you how to use them effectively.
  3. Enhancing communication: Using phrasal verbs can make your communication more effective and natural-sounding. By practising with an English teacher, you can learn how to use phrasal verbs in the right context and convey your message more clearly.
  4. Boosting confidence: Learning phrasal verbs can be challenging, but with the help of an English teacher, you can gain confidence in using them correctly. By practising with a teacher, you can learn from your mistakes and improve your language skills.

Practising with an English teacher can help you develop a deeper understanding of the English language and improve your communication skills.

The Conversation Course

Are you looking for a personalised way to improve your English-speaking skills? Do you prefer one-on-one instruction that caters to your individual needs and interests? Then our one-to-one English conversation course is the perfect fit for you!

With our course, you’ll receive personalised attention from a dedicated instructor who will work with you to identify your strengths and weaknesses. Together, you’ll create a customised learning plan that focuses on the areas you need the most help with.

Our experienced instructors will guide you through a variety of topics, from everyday conversations to specialised vocabulary for business or academic settings. You’ll receive immediate feedback and correction, which will help you build confidence and fluency in spoken English.

But our course is more than just language lessons. It’s also a chance to practice your English in a comfortable and relaxed setting. You’ll have the opportunity to ask questions, share your opinions, and engage in meaningful conversations with your instructor.

So why wait? Take the first step towards improving your English-speaking skills, and sign up for our one-to-one English conversation course today! With personalised attention and customised instruction, you’ll speak English confidently and easily in no time.