What the F**k are Phrasal Verbs?

screenshot-2017-01-06-20-42-43If you have heard of phrasal verbs then definitely know how confusing the can be, especially when they are being used in a figurative sense.

In this video lesson you are going to learn the difference between literal and figurative phrasal verbs, plus common examples of some phrasal verbs you will hear a lot in real life situations.

(See transcript below)

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I’m Chad, welcome to another episode of RealLife TV and today I’m going to answer a question that so many people have asked me, and that is “What the F* are Phrasal Verbs?”

Ok guys, so, phrasal verbs are quite a difficult subject in English but let me quickly explain to you what they are. So, we have two types of phrasal verbs. We have a literal phrasal verb, and a figurative phrasal verb. Today I’m just going to focus on the figurative, but let me just give you a quick explanation of what they are.

What is a phrasal verb?

A phrasal verb will always be a verb and a preposition, ok? When these two words are together, it often takes on a different meaning. So, let me give you a good example that will also show you the difference between a literal and a figurative phrasal verb.

Literal x Figurative

Let’s start with the phrasal verb “to run out.” “To run out.” Literally, “to run out” could mean to leave a building, or to leave somewhere running. For example, “I ran out of the building because it was on fire.” But I can also use the same phrasal verb in the figurative sense. For example, “today, I woke up and realised I had run out of coffee.”

“To run out of something.” This means that it has finished. I have consumed all of this. So, this is a good example of the same phrasal verb being used in a literal sense and a figurative sense.


Ok, so now that you know the difference between a literal and a figurative phrasal verb, let me just help you out here really quickly and give you four phrasal verbs that you will hear very often.

To give up

The first one is “to give up.” “Give up.” When you think about that, the verb to give, to give up, it’s not used in a literal sense. So, the verb “to give up” means to stop doing something, sometimes because it’s really difficult.

So, hopefully you don’t say this, but you could say “English is really difficult. I’m going to give up.” And I would say “Hey, don’t give up! It’s not so difficult.”

“To give up” is the first phrasal verb you’re going to hear and see a lot.

To find out

Second phrasal verbs you guys are going to hear a lot in English is the phrasal verb “to find out.” So, “find out” would be a synonym of, maybe, the verb to discover, but we use “find out” a lot more in just, uh, you know, less academic situations.

So, I could say, for example, “I found out that my friend is getting married.” I found out, I discovered that piece of information. So, you’re going to hear this a lot, “to find something out.”

To look forward 

The third phrasal verb you guys are going to hear a lot and need is the phrasal verb “to look forward to something,” “to look forward.”

“Look forward” is when you are really excited, and happy about something that is going to happen in the future. If I was, if I was going to travel this year, I could say “I am really looking forward to my trip this year.” “I’m really looking forward to traveling at the end of the year.”

That means that right now I’m anticipating my trip and I feel really excited about it. What are you looking forward to?

To pick up and to drop off

Ok, so, the last phrasal verbs that you guys have to know is actually, I’m going to give you two phrasal verbs. This is a 2 for 1 special. I’m going to teach you guys the phrasal verbs “to pick up” and “to drop off.” Ok?

The reason I’m teaching both of these is because they’re very relevant.

“To pick someone up” or “to drop someone off” means that you’re going to go somewhere and collect someone. It doesn’t have to always be a person, it can be an object as well, like, if I left my keys at Justin’s house, I would go there and pick them up. “To pick my keys up” or “to pick up my keys.” It can be separable or inseparable.

The next one is “to drop off.” So, “drop off” would be the opposite. If I couldn’t go to pick my keys up from Justin’s house, I would ring him and say “Hey Justin, can you drop my keys off? I’ve left them at your house.”

“To drop off” would be to actually deliver something to someone, ok? And, like I said, we can use this to people, like, “I’m going to drop my friend off at the party” or “I’m going to pick my friend up at the party.” Ok?

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Ok guys, that’s my very quick video to teach you guys how to use figurative phrasal verbs in English and keep listening, because you’re going to hear these a lot. This is something that’s very common in English, we use this all the time.

Now, stay tuned because my next video is going to be about how to use literal phrasal verbs. Sound easy, but there’s a few little tricks there that you guys should really know about, so… If you haven’t signed up yet, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, where you’ll always receive our newest videos.

Plus, you can also go to our website, there is a link in the box below where you can get the full transcript for this video and hear everything and read everything that I’m saying.

Ok guys, thanks a lot for watching, hope you guys really enjoyed this video, and I’ll see you next time on RealLife TV.

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