The Twists and Turns of English: Exploring Phrasal Verbs with Multiple Meanings

The Twists and Turns of English: Exploring Phrasal Verbs with Multiple Meanings

Are you ready to unlock the secrets of English phrasal verbs? These intriguing word combinations are vital to understanding and mastering everyday English. Read on to learn about phrasal verbs with multiple meanings and discover why they are so important.

What is a phrasal verb?

Think of a phrasal verb as a little word puzzle. They are a combination of two or more words which results in a new meaning that’s different from the original words. Their presence in everyday English is significant, making them an essential part of both learning and using the language effectively.

The meaning of phrasal verbs can change dramatically depending on their use in a sentence. The key is to understand them in their context, which means looking at the other parts of the sentence.

Common phrasal verbs with multiple meanings

Understanding phrasal verbs with more than one meaning can be tough, but here are some common examples to help you:

Pass out

  • Meaning 1:To give things to people.
    Example: “On Friday, Mr Ahmed will pass out awards to the students who get the best exam results.”
  • Meaning 2: To faint or lose consciousness.
    Example: “After running a marathon in the hot sun, Tobias felt like he was about to pass out from exhaustion.”

Bring up

  • Meaning 1:To raise a child.
    Example: “Amina will be the one to bring up her grandchildren, Aaliyah and Santiago.”
  • Meaning 2: To mention a topic.
    Example: “In our team meetings, Hiro always brings up important issues that could affect the results of our projects.”

Take out

  • Meaning 1:To remove something.
    Example: “Every Wednesday night, Jonas will take out the rubbish.”
  • Meaning 2: To take someone on a date.
    Example: “Priya plans to take out her boyfriend for a romantic dinner date at their favourite restaurant.”
  • Meaning 3: To kill someone.
    Example: “In the movie, Detective Omar plans how to take out the evil villain.”

Back up

  • Meaning 1:To make an extra copy of something.
    Example: “Ling always backs up her school projects on her laptop to make sure she doesn’t lose them.”
  • Meaning 2: To support someone.
    Example: “Sarah is nervous about speaking in front of the class. Her friend Tom backs her up by standing next to her to make her feel more confident.”

Break down

  • Meaning 1:To separate into parts.
    Example: “Dr Patel, when faced with a difficult task, will break down the task into easy steps.”
  • Meaning 2: To start crying.
    Example: “When she is stressed, Sofia will usually break down into tears and seek support from her friends.”
  • Meaning 3: When a vehicle or machine stops working.
    Example: “On his way to the office, Jamal’s car breaks down unexpectedly, so he calls for roadside assistance.”

Tips for mastering phrasal verbs

Phrasal verbs with multiple meanings can be tricky, but with the right approach and a little practice, you’ll be a pro in no time.

#1 – Tell a story

One of the best ways to remember phrasal verbs is by creating your own stories. This can help you visualise and understand them in context. If you’d like to learn more about this technique, check out our Mini English Lesson on remembering phrasal verbs.

#2 – Learn them in pairs

Try learning phrasal verbs in pairs, this can help you remember their meanings and understand their similarities. Watch our Mini English Lesson for more tips!

#3 – Make flashcards

Try writing down the phrasal verb, what it means, and an example sentence on a card or in a notebook. This visual aid will help you remember them and understand their context.

#4 – Use different resources

There are loads of different resources out there that can help you learn phrasal verbs. A great place to start is by reading about word order in phrasal verbs, including quizzes to help you practice and test your knowledge.

#5 – Use phrasal verbs in your conversations

Practice using the phrasal verbs you learn when you talk to others. Try using them instead of regular verbs in your sentences. This will make it more natural to use phrasal verbs in your everyday conversations.

#6 – Play games and do activities

Have fun while learning! Playing games and doing different activities make learning more engaging and help you practice.

A fun activity, whether alone or with others, is the matching game. To play, make pairs of cards – one with a phrasal verb and the other with its definition. Shuffle them and then match each verb to its correct definition. For more fun game ideas, take a look at our blog: 5 Enjoyable English Writing Games That Turn Practise Into Playtime.

#7 – Stay patient and keep trying

Learning phrasal verbs with more than one meaning might take time. Don’t worry if you don’t understand them right away. Keep practising, reviewing, and using them in different situations, and you’ll improve over time.

Let’s tackle phrasal verbs together!

Here’s a fun fact: Mastering these quirky word combos is easier than you think! Our experienced teachers break down phrasal verbs, turning phrases that seem complex into something you can confidently master.

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