Most people try to avoid phrasal verbs. They can be difficult to learn or understand, and there are so many of them! But phrasal verbs really improve your English, and when you use them, you’ll automatically sound more natural and more advanced.
Here are three reasons why they’re so important for you to understand and use!
1. Phrasal verbs are common in all types of English
We use phrasal verbs all the time in spoken English. In informal conversations between friends, but also in business situations like meetings and presentations.
But we also use them in writing. You’ll see them in newspaper headings and in news stories. Probably the only place that you won’t see them is in legal or academic texts.
There are thousands of phrasal verbs, although you can understand most English with just 1000 of them. You already probably know a lot of these common ones, like “go away”, “come back” or “sit down”, for example.
2. Phrasal verbs help you move up a level
When you use phrasal verbs yourself, your English will sound more natural. Instead of using formal verbs, you can use a phrasal verb that sounds right in normal situations.
It’s the difference between saying “Please continue” (formal) and “Please carry on” (natural); or between “Enter!” (formal) and “Come in!” (natural).
Very often, you already know the more formal English. But it can create a distance between you and the person you’re speaking to. Knowing how to use at least a few phrasal verbs will help you become more flexible as an English speaker, so that you can speak English naturally in a range of situations. (This is what makes you advanced!) Phrasal verbs also help you to expand your vocabulary so you have more ways of saying the same thing.
3. Phrasal verbs add greater interest and meaning
Something that we don’t often mention is that phrasal verbs add interest to English. They can help you to create images in someone’s mind.
For example, the verb “cling” means “hold tightly”. A baby monkey clings to its mother when it’s carried, for example, “Cling-film” is the clear plastic we use to wrap sandwiches. So when a politician “clings on” to power, he / she is a little desperate, and doesn’t want to lose his / her job.
Or, for example, the phrasal verb “squirrel away”. Squirrels hide nuts for winter, so if someone “squirrels away” money, you get the image of a person who hides small amounts of money in different places.
Using phrasal verbs in this way gives an extra meaning to English, making it more dramatic and fun than simpler words.
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