How to Learn English Phrasal Verbs

English Teacher Online is proud to present our top tips on how to learn English phrasal verbs so you can become fluent in English. First, I will suggest different ways for you to memorize phrasal verbs in groups so you can pick up their meanings quickly. Next, we will look at different media sources that are useful for you to get examples of phrasal verbs from. Lastly, I will help you set up a schedule (to practice a few minutes a day) so you can soon be using phrasal verbs like a native English speaker.

Learn Phrasal Verbs in Groups

First, the most efficient way to learn anything is according to your own interests so choose a topic you wish to study and write it down. I am going to use the airport as my example. I will write sentences to describe something that is appropriate to my life. See if you can spot the phrasal verbs in each sentence.

The taxi pulled up outside the departure gate and dropped me off.

I picked up my baggage and set off for the check in desk.

I figured out which line to join so I could get away on holiday.

Our plane was due to take off in forty minutes.

Can you add some more sentences using phrasal verbs? Don’t worry if you can’t. You can find the top 200 phrasal verbs by following this link here. 

Do NOT try to learn them all at once. Look a just a few each day. Follow our tips below if you want to know how to learn English phrasal verbs the fun way.

Keep Track of Your Progress

Use your diary to write some phrasal verbs about your own experiences. Look back in your diary and try to find places where a phrasal verb will fit in. Did you call someone up on the telephone? Did you ask someone out on a date? Maybe you dropped someone off at the train station? Do you always mix up peoples’ names? Try to add some phrasal verbs to your diary entries every day. Even if you only learn one new phrasal verb a day and practice regularly, you will soon have a large vocabulary to draw on. Read your sentences aloud and practice using them so they become second nature to you.

Use Media According to Your Interests

Look for phrasal verbs in songs and other media. Type a phrasal verb into Google or YouTube. You will be amazed how often boring old phrasal verbs get used in the media. Shop around, washed up and get over it, are great phrasal verbs to get you started in this section. Songs are a fun way to learn and the news is useful for learning business English too. Phrasal verbs are everywhere!

A random way to learn phrasal verbs is to just go through the list from any point. Copy the phrasal verb into a journal. Check its meaning and write that down too. Finally, use it in a number of different sentences and write down the best ones. An example here would be;

Ask somebody out             invite on a date

John asked Judy out to dinner and the theatre.

Why don’t you just ask her out?

Pace Yourself

Learn one new phrasal verb every day AND practice all those you have learnt this week or this month. Do NOT try to learn them all too quickly or you may forget them. Using them in real life situations is the best way to remember the ones that will be useful in your life. You will be amazed at how quickly you can remember new phrasal verbs and start using them in your daily conversations if you pace yourself.

Finally, you should practice with a friend or a teacher. No matter what strategy you choose, it will become boring after a while if you don’t practice with real people. After all, communication is the purpose of language so please make it appropriate and useful.

Quick Recap of our Top Tips

(1) Learn phrasal verbs in groups (airport, office, social).

(2) Write them in sentences that are useful to YOUR life.

(3) Practice saying the sentences out loud.

(4) Learn a new phrase every day but practice the old ones too.

(5) Practice with a friend or a teacher.

Please follow this link if you would like to book a 45 minute Skype lesson with Teacher Steve.

Author: Teacher Steve

Teacher Steve is 52 years old, happily married but has no children of his own. He's a fully qualified teacher who has been teaching English in sunny Thailand for over 15 years. Teacher Steve loves to write and decided to start English Teacher Online, in December 2016, to help students study English for free. He works tirelessly so that students can become fluent in English, empowering them to work and travel the world. You can also watch him teaching live at

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