What are phrasal verbs?
They are usually two word phrases made up of either:
1) a verb and a preposition example: pick on
2) a verb and a particle example: hang out
Phrasal verbs are idiomatic. This means that they often do not make literal sense, but have taken on a particular meaning.
For example, look at the phrasal verb buy up…
Iddy, illustrated here, has taken the phrase very literally. He’s buying something while he’s ‘up’. But that’s not what it means at all. Get down Iddy!
Buy up means to buy all or most of something that is in short supply.
Mark went to the shop to buy up all the SparkleCandy bars as he had heard they were to be discontinued.
Many base verbs within phrasal verbs can be attached to other prepositions or particles to make a new phrasal verb. Let’s look at the base verb from our previous example; buy. It can be combined with out to give us buy out, which means to buy someone’s shares of a company in order to take control of it.
Mark bought out most of the shares in Candycorp so that he could force them to keep making SparkleCandy bars.
Over the coming weeks, Iddy will examine a number of verbs, that combined with various prepositions and particles, give us phrasal verbs.
In the meantime, take this quick quiz to see how you fare on phrasal verbs using the verb buy….
Choose the phrasal verb which would complete the sentences: