Phrasal verb Introduction

A PHRASAL verb is an idiomatic phrase consisting of

(i)                  verb + adverb (break down);

(ii)                verb + preposition (look into); or

(iii)               verb + adverb + preposition (put up with).

Look at these two sentences:

Some phrasal verbs have more than one meaning.

1.  She ran into the kitchen.

2.  The company ran into some problems.

In the first sentence,

“ran into” is not idiomatic — it means “moved quickly into”.

In the second sentence,

“ran into” is idiomatic — it means “experienced”.

A) The cowboy

A cowboy buys a horse from a friend,

who tells him to say “Phew” to make the horse go

and “Bah” to make it stop.

The cowboy jumps onto the saddle and says,

“It’s getting dark — time to set off.” And then he shouts, “Phew!”

The horse starts to gallop quickly. “Whoa, whoa!” the cowboy yells, but the horse refuses to stop.

They are almost at the brink of a deep canyon, and it seems the cowboy will meet with an unpleasant death.

Luckily, at the very last moment, he remembers the right word to use. He yells, “Bah!” The animal stops, just inches from the edge.

Looking down at the rocks hundreds of feet below, the cowboy is relieved that he has come through the danger. He wipes the sweat from his forehead and says, “Phew!”

Set off:                    To begin a journey.

Meet with:               To encounter.

Come through:       To survive.

B) The blind date

When the 80-year-old widow returns home from a blind date with an 85-year-old man, her daughter asks her, “Mum, did you take to him?”

“No,” the mother replies.

“What happened, Mum? Please fill me in.”

“I had to slap his face a few times.”

“He got fresh?”

The mother falls about with laughter and says, “No, I thought he was dead!”

Take to:                   To form a liking for.

Fill someone in:     To give someone the necessary information.

Fall about:              To laugh uncontrollably.

C) The actors

An actor walks into a sleazy restaurant for a quick meal. As he is tucking into his dinner, he notices another actor clearing dirty crockery from the next table.

“I’m not surprised,” the first actor says. “Jobs are hard to come by for you — you can’t even play a corpse in a medical drama!”

The second actor, put out by the first actor’s rudeness, retorts, “At least I don’t eat here!”

Tuck into:               To eat heartily.

Come by:                To obtain.

Put out:                   To be annoyed.



                                   t e n g k p

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