You probably already know this: Phrasal verbs are SUPER common in English!
But how often do you actually use phrasal verbs when you speak?
You do not need phrasal verbs to be understood, and many of them have a (less common) Latin equivalent in English. However, I’ve noticed one of the things that makes the BEST English learners exceptional is their mastery of phrasal verbs.
Seriously, when I talk to someone who speaks English confidently and can use American colloquialisms and phrasal verbs appropriately, I often forget I’m speaking to a non-native!
But no pressure! To learn and memorize anything, patience is key.
So this week your homework is to master the 5 phrasal verbs I’ll teach you today, and then next week on your own go out and find at least 5 new phrasal verbs to add to your vocabulary.
Imagine, after just a few weeks you’ll already know and be able to use dozens of phrasal verbs like a pro. Aww yeah!!
Common Phrasal Verbs
The phrasal verbs you’ll learn today are EXTREMELY common, but I rarely see non-native speakers using them.
For each phrasal verb, I’ll give you the definition, synonyms (including Latin cognates), and two examples.
If you make it to the end, I have a special present for you ;).
1. Figure out
Definition: To solve or discover the cause of a problem; to finally understand something.
Synonyms: Resolve, deduce, arrive to an understanding, decide after deliberation
Example 1: After running some tests I finally figured out why my computer wasn’t working.
Example 2: Have you figured out where you want to go for spring break?
2. Find out
Definition: To discover information or a fact
Synonyms: Ascertain, discover, become aware, bring to light
Example 1: Judy just found out that she was pregnant last week.
Example 2: The nation was shocked to find out that the president lied about his actions.
Note: Because find out and figure out have similar definitions, they are often confused. The main difference between the two is that to figure something out requires working or thinking to uncover the solution. Find out is receiving new information (that may give you the solution).
3. End up
Definition: To arrive at a final circumstance, decision, or goal; become eventually
Synonyms: In the end
Example 1: We wanted to go to the Chinese restaurant, but it was closed, so we ended up eating Italian food.
Example 2: After much deliberation he ended up joining the army.
4. Sleep in
Definition: To sleep late
Example 1: It’s been a long week. I’m looking forward to sleeping in Saturday morning.
Example 2: I would have slept in, but I wanted to go for a run before it got too hot out.
Note: You may also hear the term oversleep, but don’t confuse the two colloquialisms. Sleeping in is intentional, oversleeping is unintentional (e.g. I got fired because I kept oversleeping and arriving late to work).
5. Count on
Definition: To rely on someone or something
Synonyms: Confide, trust, lean on, bet on
Example 1: I know I can always count on her to help me when I’m sad.
Example 2: We’re counting on this new medicine to cure the disease.
Phrasal Verbs are Important
If you want to sound more like a native, you cannot ignore phrasal verbs.
Most learners get scared when they see phrasal verbs because they feel like they are learning a new definition of a word they know, or they have to learn two words.
My advice is to treat a phrasal verb just like a new word, not like a modified version of a word you already know.
What’s the best way to learn new vocabulary, expressions, and phrasal verbs?
By using free memorization applications like Anki and Memrise.
Your special present!
To get you started, I’ve made a Memrise deck (with audio!) that you can access here. No download necessary and Memrise is completely free, just make an account.
Did you enjoy this article? Tell me! Write in the comments below, and please let me know if there is anything you would like me to teach you in future articles.