How to Master Phrasal Verbs: books, exercises, tips

Phrasal verbs! There are so many ideas and methods on how to learn, understand and cope with them. Let’s try to approach them closely and come to terms concerning the ways how to remember them.

What’s a phrasal verb?

Oxford, Longman, Cambridge, and other dictionaries define it as a phrase that contains a verb and one (or more) component/s (preposition, adverb) and gains the meaning depending on this/these component/s.

Here are the most useful ideas on how to learn phrasal verbs:

A. Study phrasal verbs in categories

To do it, ask students to create mindmaps and group phrasal verbs in the following way: take one verb and go through the list of components it creates a phrasal verb with: e.g. look +

Phrasal verbs

Such approach will help investigate all the entries one by one paying much attention to the most common collocations and live examples. Students can also group them according to the 2nd/3rd component and learn all the verbs that go well with it: e.g. UP (wake+, turn+, go+, etc.)

B. Subscribe email courses

Students can subscribe to Skyeng email course and receive the selected lists regularly. It’s a great way to develop learner autonomy — students will get new phrasal verbs on a weekly basis.  

C. Search for various dictionaries or websites online to speed up the process

Englishpage provides ABC menu and exercises

Phrasal verbs

D. Google a great gallery of books to plunge into

Phrasal verbs

or the newest and latest editions on this topic.

Goodreads created its TOP-11 list of books, Amazon gives TOP-15, PDFdrive has a list of free downloadable versions of e-books.

E. Learn phrasal verbs in context as English Phrasal Verbs in Use by Michael McCarthy, Felicity O’Deil

In this book, you’ll find a concise theory part with the following exercises, tips next page, and keys at the end of the book. It will come at handy during any warm-up or lesson itself. What’s more, you can simply cut the material into essential pieces as some nice add-on to the lesson.

F. Practise with quizzes

1000 Phrasal verbs by Matt Errey is a guide with 2000 examples, amazing tips designed for both class and self-study.

G. Create a Phrasal verb Challenge

The challenge might be based on Really Learn 100 Phrasal by OUP (Oxford University Press) or any other textbook, so you could practice verbs in context, revise them, and accumulate knowledge with your students. I tried the challenge with my students and it was pretty beneficial.

This book contains pre-selected 100 common phrasal verbs and the mixture of context will make the study process useful. These 6 steps: Study, Check, Practice, Build your vocabulary, Revise and Get it Right are a well-built system and approach. The book and the challenge show the contextual way to learn phrasal verbs and the outline of the learning material is very comfortable for both a student and a teacher.

Two more books that can enrich you with ideas:

Oxford Word Skills Phrasal verbs and Idioms for advanced students is a wonderful supplementary tool based on “I can” approach in each section with completion, rephrasing exercises focused on critical thinking.

Collins Work on your Phrasal Verbs by Jamie Flockhart & Cheryl Pelteret is a collection of live 400 phrasal verbs listed in ABC order and exercises concentrated on matching, choosing, completion and a creative task in the end.

H. Entertain with videos and practise some games with phrasal verbs

While coping with and mastering phrasal verbs, keep in mind a systematic routine that will promote your students’ study and award with long-awaited results.

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