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Teach your ESL students these 15 essential phrasal verbs!

English is a wonderfully diverse language, rich with expressions that often leave non-native speakers puzzled. Among the many linguistic quirks are phrasal verbs, a key component of everyday English conversation.

Mastering phrasal verbs can greatly enhance your students’ language skills and help them communicate more effectively in English. Phrasal verbs add color, depth, and versatility to the language, but they can also be quite challenging to understand and use correctly. 

In this post, we will delve into the world of phrasal verbs, providing you with 15 commonly used phrasal verbs, along with their definitions and examples so you can teach them to your ESL students!

1) Look after

Definition: To take care of or attend to someone or something.

Example: Can you look after my cat while I’m on vacation? 

2) Set up

Definition: To arrange or establish something.

Example: We need to set up a meeting to discuss the new project.

3) Put off

Definition: To postpone or delay something. 

Example: They decided to put off the concert due to bad weather.

4) Bring up

Definition; To mention or introduce a topic in conversation.

Example: He brought up the issue of sustainability during the discussion.

5) Take off

Definition: To leave the ground (for airplanes) or to remove clothing quickly.

Example: The plane took off smoothly from the runway. 

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6) Call off

Definition: To cancel or terminate something.

Example: They called off the game due to the heavy rain. 

7) Get along

Definition: To have a harmonious relationship with someone. 

Example: Despite their differences, they managed to get along very well.

8) Look forward to

Definition: To anticipate or be excited about something in the future.

Example: I’m looking forward to the weekend getaway.

9) Run out of

Definition: To use up or deplete the supply of something.

Example: We ran out of milk, so I need to go to the store.

10) Break down

Definition: To stop working or functioning.

Example: The car broke down on the way to the airport.

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11) Turn on

Definition: To activate or switch on a device or light.

Example: Please turn on the air conditioner; it’s getting hot in here.

12) Carry out

Definition: To perform or execute a task or action.

Example: The team will carry out the necessary research for the project.

13) Give up

Definition: To quit or stop doing something.

Example: She decided to give up smoking for the sake of her health.

14) Look up

Definition: To search for information in a reference source or online.

Example: If you don’t know the meaning of a word, you can look it up in the dictionary. 

15) Put up with

Definition: To tolerate or endure a difficult situation or person.

Example: I don’t know how she puts up with her noisy neighbors. 

We hope this article was helpful in giving you some ideas of common phrasal verbs to teach your ESL students! What other phrasal verbs do you know? Share them in the comments below! 

Ellier Leng
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