The three of us are going to help you understand phrasal verbs.

We spoke about phrasal verbs in episodes 3 to 23

put up with = tolerar. aguantar
fed up = harto
fall out = pelearse, reñir, discutir

What is a phrasal verb and why do we need them?

Is there a room of professors sitting in Oxford and Cambridge inventing ways to make English more difficult that it already is?

Phrasal verbs are very common in informal, spoken English.

The correct use of phrasal verbs makes a person sound more like a native speaker of English.

A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and preposition, a verb and an adverb, or a verb with both an adverb and a preposition.

Phrasal verbs are verbs with particles. A phrasal verb uses an adverb. You can identify a phrasal verb by the position of the object.


BUT the object PRONOUN goes after a true phrasal verb. “I put on my jacket” – “I put it on”. You cannot say X”I put on it“X
If the object is a pronoun (it, them, these, him, her etc), it must be put between the verb and the preposition.

Example: I picked him up at the airport and dropped him off at the hotel.
“Look after it” is a prepositional verb.

If you have to put the object pronoun between the verb and the pronoun, it must be a phrsal verb.
An intransitive phrasal verb does not have an object.

“I can’t hear you. Can you speak up?”

“What time does your plane take off?”
There are often full verbs that you can use in place of more informal phrasal verbs: postpone (put off), enter (go in), exit (go out).

We spoke about this and gave more examples of full verbs and phrasal verbs in episode 51
Multiple meanings

The plane took off at 9 o’clock. – El avión despegó a las nueve. “Take off” is an intransitive phrasal verb in this context.

I took off my clothes and went swimming. – Me quité la ropa y fui a nadar.

This year our podcasts have really taken off. – Este año nuestros podcasts han tenido mucho éxito.

Craig can’t take off Mickey Mouse (to take off = imitar)
Which is the literal meaning and which are the idiomatic meanings?

PICK UP – You can pick up on somebody’s tone (idiomatic) / pick something up from the floor (literal) / pick somebody up at a bar (idiomatic) / to pick somebody up in your car (idiomatic) / drop off in class (fall asleep – idiomatic)

LOOK UP – I look up things up in the dictionary (idiomatic) / look up towards the sky (literal)

GO OFF – Food can go off (idiomatic – go bad – estropearse) / my alarm clock went off too early this morning (idiomatic) / the bomb went off (exploded – idiomatic)
There are phrasal verbs with 2 particles (2 partículas) – Multi-word verbs!

Multi-word verbs cannot be separated.

Are you looking forward to going back to Ireland? – looking forward to – They always have an idiomatic meaning. The object cannot change position:

X“I’m looking forward my birthday to.”X

More examples:

to look up to = to admire somebody
to run out of (acabarse, quedarse sin) – Have we run out of cookies?
to get on with (llevarse (bien) con) – Now that you’re leaving your job here, is there anyone you don’t get on with?
to come up with (pensar en, inventarse)- I can’t come up with any names = think of
to go out with (salir con) – Do you remember the first boy you went out with?
to cut down on (recortar, reducir) – Is there anything you’re trying to cut down on?
to put up with (tolerar, aguantar) – Who was the worst neighbour you’ve ever had to put up with?
crazy dude = tío loco, tipo chiflado
to loathe = odiar, detestar
Reza, Craig and Marie get fed up with Spanish food from time to time.
Reza couldn’t go without Spanish omelette
spinach = espinaca
to wrap up / to end up = to finish (concluir, poner punto final a)
TIP: Study them when you come across them. Don’t learn long lists of phrasal verbs. Try to learn phrasal verbs in context.
There is a lot of help, explanations in Spanish and exercises at (intermediate course)

*Dispones de más PODCAST en inglés publicados en los cuadernos anteriores
a los que puedes acceder directamente así como al índice de su contenido.


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