Have you ever wondered why so many verbs are followed by prepositions? And how come speakers know which preposition goes with each verb? Is this some magic trick that your English teacher forgot to teach you?
To answer your question, this strange combination of words is known as a Phrasal Verb. Phrasal verbs can best be defined as a verb + preposition pair that has a special meaning. This verb + preposition pair has a different meaning from the original meaning of the individual words. For example, break up is a phrasal verb that means to end. However, if you tried to look up the word break, which means to divide, and up, which means above, you would come to the conclusion that break up means to divide above. That is definitely an incorrect interruption.
So what exactly does this mean? Well, I'm sorry to break it to you (phrasal verb= to tell you bad news) but these are phrases that will need to be memorized. There is no magic pill to take nor can you automatically know the meaning by looking up the meaning of each word.
How exactly do we learn them you ask? My best recommendation is to have as much contact as you can with the English language, whether that is through conversation, movies, songs, or reading. The more contact you have, the more likely you are to come in contact with these frequently used words and implicitly learn their meaning.
But for those of you who have limited opportunities to have contact with these phrasal verbs, feel free to check out this month's free resource. Toyita's Langauge Corner has comprised a list of the most commonly used phrasal verbs in every day English. Check it out.
And as always, if you would like to practice more phrasal verbs, contact me for English Conversation lessons. Come on! Let's do this!
Phrasal Verbs List