Learning Advice: Phrasal Verbs
- abril 8, 2016
- Posted by: Joel
- Category: News
Everyone’s favorite part of English vocabulary: all those little mini-expressions that seem to be made up of the most common words in the language, but with one slight change, end up meaning something completely and totally different.
Yes, phrasal verbs seem to be extremely difficult to learn, as there seems to be no rhyme or reason to them. While there is an underlying logic, sometimes it’s so far down, it’s not worth looking for.
Instead, what you should do, rather than try to decipher the meaning from the components of a phrasal verb, is to see it as an indivisible unit, just like any other vocabulary term you come across.
For example, we know that words like “consternation” are not “conster” + “nation”, trying to figure out what “conster” means and what relationship it has to countries or peoples. No, what we do is see it as one unit, and learn its meaning accordingly.
Similarly, the Spanish expression “llevar a cabo” is not three separate elements that together make up something (we’re not literally taking something to a cape); it’s a single expression and must be learned as such.
And that’s how we have to see phrasal verbs. “Make up for” is not “make” + “up” + “for”, it’s a single unit with a single definition.
Yes, it’s special. You have to remember if it’s separable or not (does the object pronoun go inside or outside the phrasal verb), but if you see each phrasal verb as just another verb that happens to have a space in it, you’ll realize they’re nothing to be even remotely afraid of!
So, remember: don’t break phrasal verbs down into their component parts! Treat phrasal verbs as single units, and learn them just as you would any other word!