Learning Phrasal Verbs

What is a phrasal verb? It is an idiomatic phrase focused on a verb with another element, for example an adverb or a preposition.  This complement changes the meaning of the basic verb, and they make a new verb, that meaning is different from the original grammatical categories.

  • To (get): to obtain, buy or earn something.
  • To (Up): Towards a higher position; towards a higher value, number or level.
  • To (get up): to wake up and get out of bed, or to tell or help someone to do this.

Learning phrasal verbs is a challenge to study English like a foreign language, especially for a Spanish speaker, because that is a chaotic part of English grammar. How can we study them?

We can try two methodologies to learn phrasal verbs. But the first can be so hard to learn because we can need a lot of time and mental energy to memorise, and we should remember all meanings and uses. Therefore, this process to memorise can become in a linguistic nightmare for students. What can do it? The first methodology focused on learning a verb with all prepositions that form phrasal verbs:

  • To get on: subirse
  • To get up: levantarse
  • To get off: bajarse
  • To get away: salir, escaparse

The principial question is a lot of phrasal verbs with the same basic verb, and a lot of meanings without any relation between them. Thus, this causes a hard headache for students. The second methology can be easier than de first methodology. We can learn the phrasal verbs focused in each preposition or adverb:

  • Off: away from a place or position, especially the present place, position, or time.
  • To put off: posponer
  • To get off: bajar, apearse
  • To turn off: apagar, apagarse
  • To take off: quitar, despegar, largarse

Also, we can find out the relation between the basic verb and the preposition or adverb, because we can understand the relation of meaning between the basic verb and the preposition or adverb. Secondly, we can use semiotics to learn the new verbs. So, we can stop memorizing a lot of meanings and sentences, and we focus on the images. Those images can help us to learn and remember the meanings:

Of course, we can use one, two or three sentences to observe the most important grammatical points, because the semantic is reinforced by the images. In this point, learning the phrasal verbs is easier for students. What do you think about learning phrasal verbs?

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