A phrasal verb has a meaning which is different from the original verb. That's what makes them fun, but confusing. You may need to try to guess the meaning from the context, or, failing that, look it up in a dictionary.
The adverb or preposition that follows the verb are sometimes called a particle. The particle changes the meaning of the phrasal verb in idiomatic ways.
They are also known as ‘compound verbs’, ‘verb-adverb combinations’, ‘verb-particle constructions", “two-part words/verbs’ and ‘three-part words/verbs’ (depending on the number of words).
Phrasal verbs are usually used informally in everyday speech as opposed to the more formal Latinate verbs, such as “to get together” rather than “to congregate”, “to put off” rather than “to postpone”, or “to get out” rather than “to exit”. They should be avoided in academic writing.
If learning English phrasal verbs through a list and memorization hasn’t worked for you, then you might like this audio course, we have developed to help you understand the phrasal verbs better. Phrasal Verb MP3 free downloads and other English Vocabulary MP3 free downloads are also available in our app so that you can learn anywhere, any time.
Note - Some linguists differentiate between phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs, while others assume them to be part of one and the same construction, as both types are phrasal in nature.
Here is a list of some common phrasal verbs in Alphabetical order (A-D) to add to your English vocabulary.