When speaking, native English speakers use phrasal verbs a lot and often do not even realize it. For any English-learner to improve their conversation skills, learning how to use phrasal verbs is important.

Today's post is about two different kinds of phrasal verbs:
*inseparable phrasal verbs (the main verb and preposition cannot be separated)
*separable phrasal verbs (the main verb and preposition can be separated by an object)

There is not much to say about inseparable phrasal verbs because they cannot be separated. You must use them as they are written. For example, 'come up', which means 'to suddenly arise', cannot be separated. 

A meeting came up, so I have to stay at work late.

Separable phrasal verbs are transitive, which means they take an object, the noun that 'receives the verb'. The object can separate the phrasal verb, but only for some verbs. 

For example, 'drop off', which means 'to deliver something or someone to a specific place', is a separable phrasal verb. In the example below, notice how the object, 'Mary' can be used after or in-between this phrasal verb:

We will drop Mary off at home after school.
We will drop off Mary at home after school.

Also notice that if a pronoun is used, the phrasal verb must be separated. It is also important to note that this happens most of the time when speaking English. Therefore, in the example above, if the pronoun 'her' is used instead of 'Mary', then the phrasal verb must be separated:

We will drop her off at home after school.

We will drop off her at home after school.

She turned him down!

Another example is the phrasal verb 'turn down' which means 'to refuse an offer'. This phrasal verb is separable, so if the pronoun is used, the phrasal verb must be separated:
Nathaniel asked Samantha to marry him, but she turned him down. 

Nathaniel asked Samantha to marry him, but she turned down him. 

There is no way to know which phrasal verbs are separable and which are inseparable...you have to learn and remember!

One way to do this is to get a simple ebook that lists the most common phrasal verbs. You do not need to know all phrasal verbs because there are too many for you to ever use them all.
Most native English speakers use the same phrasal verbs over and over again and these are the phrasal verbs with different meanings.
There are many phrasal verbs in English and improving your speaking skills often means learning and studying them. This can pose a challenge because there are so many of them! However, do not fret (this means, 'do not worry'), because there is hope! Most native English-speakers use the same phrasal verbs over and over again, so to improve your English speaking, you really only have to know a portion of the phrasal verbs that exist.

One of the most commonly used phrasal verbs is:

                     set up

This phrasal verb is common most likely due to the fact that it has many definitions and uses.

...to Set Up can mean:

*to establish as an organization, business, etc.

A group of students in my class set up a new study club. 

They set up a new business selling used vintage clothes.

setting up a new business


*to assemble; to physically connect / put together

They set up their new home theater system. 

setting up electronic equipment


to put into power

The rebel forces took control and set up a new president and a new government. 

setting up a new government


*to arrange for someone to be blamed for something (this is also called 'to frame someone')

The criminals set up the innocent man for the crime.  

setting someone up for a crime 
by putting evidence in their room 
(this is also called 'planting evidence')


Do you know any other uses for the phrasal verb 'set up'?

Post your example sentences as a reply to this blog post, and I will correct them for you. 

Study more phrasal verbs on my FREE English-learning website!

Visit Youtube and subscribe to my Youtube channel and study more phrasal verbs!

Happy English!

Gerry ( ;)
Hello folks, 

Here is your idiom of the nite:

to Step Up

Actually, 'to step up' can have slightly different meanings, but they are all usually related to "increasing" something (usually a level). 

*If someone 'steps up', it means they are increasing their acceptance of more responsibility in their lives and expecting a greater performance from themselvesMost often, this happens during a crucial point in time. 

For example:

A father talking to his son:
Well, my son, you are 18 years old now. You are an adult and it's time for you to step up and take more responsibility in your life...you must get a job.

My boss made me the head of our group at work. It's time for me to step up and show everyone how skillful I am at leadership. 

*A common phrase is, "...step up to the podium...". A 'podium' is like a 'tall box' that people stand in front of during a speech or presentation (see below for a picture and example of a podium).

*'Step up' can also mean to increase your speed

You are working too slow; step it up!

*If people 'step something up', it means they increase its level

For example: 
The factory stepped up production during the months before Christmas.

There are more uses of 'step up'. If you want, you can reply to this post and write some example sentences, and I can check them for you...

If you want to 'step up' your English study, subscribe to my Youtube channel for free English tutoring videos: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6I25RQpdR4SuVEwcoyZ4tg

Happy English!

Gerry ( ;)

                 a podium  ---->
"Please, step up to the podium and  receive your award!"

A person standing behind a PODIUM
Hi everyone, 

Since I just did a blog post on forming phrasal verbs with "up", I figured I would do a blog post on phrasal verbs with "down". (To 'figure' something, in this case, means 'to think something is appropriate and a good idea'.)

Most (but not all), phrasal verbs with "down" in them mean:

                       *to reduce something

For example, 

tone down = reduce the volume or frequency of something
"Please tone it down! Your noise is too loud!"
"You should tone down your drinking (alcohol)!"

cut down (on) = reduce your intake / participation of something
"I need to cut down on how much bread I eat."
"Cut down on your complaining! You sound like a baby!"

break down = reduce how complicated (difficult to understand) something is 
(to divide an idea or concept into parts to understand it better)
“I know the lesson is difficult. Let me break it down for you.”
“You can ask the accountant and she will break down the numbers for you.”

dumb downreduce the intelligence of something
“The people could not understand him, so the scientist had to dumb down his explanation.”
“Over the years, television has dumbed people down.”

play down = reduce the importance of something
Why are you playing down your achievements? You have accomplished a lot in this company!”
The politician tried to play down the seriousness of the disaster.”

drag down = reduce something to the same (low) level
You should not spend so much time with your friends. They are dragging you down at school.”
I want to stop dating (you). You are dragging me down. I want more from life.”

However, there are some phrasal verbs (but are not many) with "down" that do not mean 'to reduce __'.
For example: 
let (someone) down = to fail to help someone / to fail to keep a commitment 
"I am sorry I let you down. I will do better next time!"

Yet, almost of the other phrasal verbs with "down" mean to 'reduce ___'.

Check out my Youtube video where I talk more about phrasal verbs with "down":

If you have any questions, or have a phrasal verb with "down" and you want to know if it means to 'reduce something', post a reply below!

Happy English!

English Expressions
Hello everyone,

Some weeks ago, I did a video on Youtube about adding the preposition "up" to some simple verbs to form "phrasal verbs". 

Remember, this is only done to some verbs. 
For example: 
*eat ---> eat up                          
*clean ---> clean up
*listen ---> listen up
*pay ---> pay up
*wait ---> wait up
*drink ---> drink up

"Listen up" is a little different than just saying "listen". It does not mean "listen to something that is above you". That would be verb + preposition (up) and this has a physical meaning (direction).
"Listen up" is said in the imperative form and means you want someone to diligently and attentively listen. 
So, adding "up" to these simple verbs is like forming a "phrasal verb" because the combination of the verb and "up" forms a slightly different meaning than the verb alone or than the verb with the preposition "up". 

When native English-speakers add "up" to some simple verbs, the meaning (usually and almost) stays the same, but for some verbs, if "up" is not added, the sentence sounds a bit strange. 

When "up" is added to verbs, these verbs are usually said in the imperative form. So, "up" is added to:

*sound more authoritative - we add "up" to a simple verb when we want the person to comply or obey with our command

"Pay me my money!"
"Pay up!" - if someone owes you money, this sounds more authoritative

"Clean your room"
"Clean up your room!"
 - this (can) sound more authoritative and is something a parent might say

*make someone do it quickly and diligently 

"Eat your lunch."

"Eat up your lunch." - a parent or teacher (or someone else of authority) would say this to a young person to make them eat everything and eat it quickly

*make someone do something fully

"Drink everyone!" -this is rarely said
"Drink up, everyone!" - someone might say this at a party meaning they want everyone to drink all of their (alcoholic) drinks

*make someone do something a little bit

"Wait for me! You are walking too fast" - this is rarely said
"Wait up for me! You are walking too fast." -someone might say this if two people are walking together, and one slow person wants the other person to wait (a little)

Watch the Youtube video here (and subscribe to my Youtube Channel for weekly tutoring videos): 

If you have any questions or comments, respond to this post. 

Happy English!