15 Most Useful Phrasal Verbs

15 Most Useful Phrasal Verbs
Posted on February 14, 2014
Another super infographic by Grammar.net showing what in their opinion are the 15 most useful phrasal verbs in English.

The English Language has many phrasal verbs that have different meanings depending on their context. Whilst they can cause a headache to language learners, they do give the language the richness and variety that makes the English Language so colourful.

Some of the phrasal verbs below have synonyms that I encourage all my clients to learn. For example, instead of using the phrasal verb “put off” I get them to try using ‘delay ‘or ‘postpone’. That way they expand their vocabulary enriching both their spoken and written language.


1. “Call off” – to stop or cancel
a) ”call off the search”
b) “I called off today because I’m sick.”
c) “They called off the football match because of the weather forecast.

2. “Look up” – search for.
a) “I’ll go online and look up ‘phrasal verbs’.”
b)“Look me up the next time you’re in town.”

3. “Get away with”: escape blame/punishment.
a)“He sure got away with that”
b)“The crook got away with 50 dollars”.
c)”She is so spoilt. She gets away with murder” (used idiomatically)

4. “Pull through” – often used in discussing health
a)”The surgery was rough, but he pulled through”
b)“The victim of the dog attack pulled through with no lingering injuries”.

5. “Break up” – this usually refers to relationships but it can also refer to fights
a)”Fred and Matilda are going to break up”–but variations can be used to show an emotional state. “When Matilda dumped Fred, he was pretty broken up about it.”
b)”The police were called to break up the fight at the pub”.

6. “Blow out” – it means a tire flattens while driving, it can also mean a lopsided sports score or to indicate anger.
a) ”Mel had a blowout on the way to work”
b)“It was a blowout; the Packers beat the Bears 24 to 3.”
c)“Ed broke Bob’s window, and Bob had a complete blowout when he saw it”.

7. “Give in/give up” – relent or surrender.
a)“She didn’t want to go, but the kids pestered her until she gave in.”
b)“The robber gave up when the cops cornered him.”

8. “Put up with” -endure
a)“Tom put up with many jokes when he rode his ostrich to work”.
b) Sally had to put up with many months of unpaid work before she was finally given a permanent contract.

9. “Look down on” – a person who feels superior to others is said to “look down on” them.
a)“Dog owners sometimes look down on cat owners, which is silly, because cat owners sometimes look down on dog owners.”

10. “Turn into” – to become something else. It is also used in driving.
a) ”Caterpillars turn into butterflies”
b)“After you pass the park, turn into the school parking lot”.

11. “Carry on” – to continue. It can also be used when someone complains for a long time about something.
a)“After the incident, the workers carried on with their work.
b)”When he accidentally spilled red wine on her dress, she carried on about it for hours”.

12. “Look after” – attend to
a)”Babysitters look after children”
b) “Could you please look after my bags while I order at the bar?”

13. “Pass out” – faint
a) “During the Australian Open, many tennis players nearly passed out because of the extreme heat”.

14. “Put off” – postpone or delay. It is also used to describe an aversion to something.
a) “He put off painting and cut the grass first.”
b) “We’ve had to put off the trip to Japan.”
c)“When I was a child I was forced to eat tapioca that I am completely put off by the sight of it”.

15. “Look forward to” – anticipate.
a)“I look forward to meeting with you next week” ( verb +ing form)
b) “Kids always look forward to the holidays”.

Which of the phrasal verbs above do you find most useful? Do you know other phrasal verbs and their synonyms that you feel should be added to this list?

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Creating Great Students

Retrieved from: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/creating-great-students-ben-johnson
December 23, 2013
Photo credit: iStockphoto

The more I think about how we have been looking at education, I think we have it all wrong. Up until now, all of our emphasis has been on creating great teachers when we should have been emphasizing creating great students.

For years we have been trying to create the super teacher: a mythical being that can reach every student, comply with all state and federal mandates, attend to all the extra duties and committee meetings, and still enthusiastically smile at the end of the day. This awesome teacher employs perfected strategies, powerful instructional planning skills, and superb classroom management all with indefatigable energy.

We all try to be this teacher and fall uncomfortably short in the attempt. Even worse, hardly a dent has been made in turning around low reading scores, poor math understanding, and the general apathy for learning. Even though we see this trend and are trying our best to ameliorate the symptoms, we really have not addressed the real problem — the quality of our students. Lanjutkan membaca “Creating Great Students”

How to get your class punning

How to get your class punning

English is unimaginably flexible. And its appetite for puns seems insatiable. As does that of English speakers.

There’s a real art to punning. Ingenuity. The double meaning. Playing with connotations. Like this one (very teacher nerdy, I know):

What happened when Past, Present and Future walked into a bar? (answer at the very bottom)

And in my opinion puns are inextricably linked to the very nature of the language and the people who speak it. For example, my native language, Polish, is much less suited to punning. And we’re less skilled at it.

Like any other language skill, then, punning can, and I think should, be taught. I still remember the first few times (still not a good punster, though, I must admit) that I manage to come out with a pun, making my English mates laugh their heads off. The sense of language achievement was great.

So why not start your next class with a pun? Or even better: 24 nerdy puns that are bound to make you chuckle (and your students too, as soon as they realise the subtlety of the double meanings that make those plays on words funny).

Some reasons why I think the activity described below is actually useful and productive, apart from being fun:

understanding puns is a sign of high proficiency in the language
discovering the double meaning pushes students to think beyond what they already know
puns have a much higher surrender value than many obscure things course books make us teach our students (when was the last time you used, or heard somebody else using, the future perfect continuous?)
being inextricably linked to the language, puns bring you a step closer to understanding the way English speaking people are
the activity is motivating and engaging
solving the meaning of the pun or creating your own, gives a real sense of achievement
a breath of fresh air
writing your own pun can be very challenging, and a great exercise in language use
can make students more aware of: homonyms, homophones, the double meaning
gives students a chance to play and experiment with the language
forces them to think outside the box and to be creative
gives the students ownership over the language

A running order for a simple activity:

Put the beginning of any of the 24 nerdy puns on the board. For example:

2. Ask the students to discuss the questions in groups/pairs. Tell them to be as creative as possible.

3. Feedback as a class – choose the funniest/most bizarre answer.

4. Show them the answer (I wouldn’t expect even quiet chuckles at this point – unless the class is quite advanced – but rather befuddled looks, which probably say: my teacher’s a bit weird…):

5. Put sts in pairs again. Ask them to discuss:

What was or felt tense in the bar? (the atmosphere)
What are Past, Present and Future in English? (tenses; technically Future is not, but let’s not split hairs over it, shall we?)
Is tense a noun or an adjective? Can it be both? (yes it can, it’s a homonym)
What is the double meaning of the word: tense?
How is the double meaning used to make the answer: “It was tense” funny?

6. Feedback on the questions as a class.

7. Elicit and clarify the terms: “play on words = puns”, and “to pun”

8. Do one or two more puns following steps 1 – 6.

9. Discuss:

Do puns exist in your own language?
Do you find them funny?
Why might it be useful and important to understand puns in English?

10. Students write their own puns (pairs or individually). If you think they’re not strong enough, scaffold the writing:

give beginnings or endings of a few puns – the students only recreate the missing parts
do a sentence extension, where the students only need to put in the correct grammar

11. Vote for the best pun!

The answer to : What happened when Past, Present and Future walked into a bar?
It was tense

Retrieved from:www.esl.com

Daily 5 Update…Lots of Pics!

Hi again friends….

I just wanted to take a couple of minutes and update you on our Daily 5 journey. Things are going smashingly well during Daily 5!! I am sooooooo happy! We have already hit our 20 minutes of Read to Self stamina…Can I get a WOOT WOOT!

I wanted to show you the posters that we make as I introduce a new Daily 5 choice. I found these AWESOME freebies from Mrs. Jones’ Creation Station on TPT and I blew them up to poster size (24 x 36) and had them printed up by Vistaprint…expensive….a bit…But I laminated them so I am good to go for years to come! Lanjutkan membaca “Daily 5 Update…Lots of Pics!”

Grammar activities: Chain story

Grammar activities: Chain story

By Olga Stolbova

Level: Pre-intermediate, Intermediate, Upper intermediate, Advanced Type: Extra


This activity can be used for practising conditionals, though its different variations can serve for reviewing the vocabulary as well. It helps students to link sentences in one text.

I usually use this activity with intermediate students, though it may work with lower-level students. Students enjoy it as it usually results in some funny story which tunes them in a good mood for the rest of the lesson.


Put on the board the pattern “If we have free time, we’ll go to the party” and explain that the students are going to make a story one by one using this pattern. The catch is that every student needs to use the second part of the phrase said by a previous student as the first part of his/hers.

Student 1 If we have free time, we’ll go to the party.
Student 2 If we go to the party, we’ll have fun.
Student 3 If we have fun, we’ll come home late.
Student 4 If we come home late, we’ll miss our test tomorrow. etc.

Variation 2

For revising the vocabulary make cards with vocabulary words you need to revise, one word or expression on each card.
Put the cards face down on the desk in the center. A student who starts, draws the first card and says the first sentence, the next student draws the card and says the second sentence etc.
Students are telling a story, using only one sentence each with one word at a time, trying to make a story go smooth. (You may ask them to use a certain pattern, or may let it go free).


If a class is big, divide it into two teams and make them create their stories simultaneously, taking turns. It will be more fun if both teams have the same beginning.

Variation 3

Instead of (or in addition to) distributing cards with vocabulary items on them, give students the cards with different conjunctions and linking words: and, as soon as, while, but, although, though, however, etc. The students need to tell a story by adding their sentence with the help of the conjunction written on the card. In this activity they are allowed to change the grammar structure of the previous sentence.