Think It Over: An activity to develop understanding of phrasal verbs

By the request of a student, I’ll be developing some materials to practice phrasal verbs. I’ve decided to focus on the particles and their common meanings. I think such exercises will aid in understanding the more idiomatic phrasal verbs that upper level students students either confuse or have yet to encounter. Do you agree? Please let me know if the Think It Over_handout works well with your students. In this activity, I chose to focus on six particles: up, off, back, down, over, and out. Next week, I’ll try to target other particles.

Note: My definitions are based on those in the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Online.


9 Comments Add yours

  1. Bekah Palmer says:

    I’ve been working on phrasal verbs recently, as well. My students told me that worksheets similar to the one you linked to were helpful for understanding the meaning of the phrasal verbs, but that they felt like that they would not be able to use them outside the context of having the specific pre-set situations. The solution I used was to find a news article in their interest field and to delete all the prepositions. This way, they had to decide if the first word was a phrasal verb starter, and what the second part would be. So far, so good!

    1. A great suggestion! Thank you for sharing the idea.
      With the student who asked for more practice with phrasal verbs, I’ve been reading news articles on NPR, mainly on the economy, since that’s an area of interest for him. We work with the vocabulary, including phrasal verbs, in multiple ways. One regular activity in our lessons is to answer discussion questions (in new contexts) with key words from the article. Your students are right that the ultimate challenge is to use the phrasal verbs correctly and appropriately in contexts other than the original one they encountered it in.
      Happy teaching!

    2. Hello Jeniffer! I´m a subscribber of your videos and I want to ask you only one question. How can I send you an email or a message? Thank you so much and keep the good work!

      1. Hello! You can have public exchanges with me on my forum.

        Business-related correspondence can go through the consulting link on my website.


  2. Janette Ortiz says:

    Jennifer, first, thank you very much for these lessons. I have been living in USA for 20 years and I still struggling with accent and pronunciation. I would like to start all over again, like starting kindergarden again to eliminate this heave accent. Please help. Janette Ortiz

    1. Hello Janette,

      I wish I could say there is a guaranteed way to eliminate an accent, but I don’t know of one. I do believe it’s possible to reduce an accent, however. I think if you use quality resources and use them wisely, you can make progress in your effort to speak more clearly. You can browse through some of my recommendations.

      I’d suggest using NPR podcasts as well as films or TV dramas with captions/ transcripts. If you are serious about accent reduction and wish to hire an accent trainer, I recommend my colleague Paul Meier. Follow this link.

      Good luck. Feel free to join my forum and ask more questions.

      Best wishes,

      1. Janette Ortiz says:

        Jennifer, thank you for your prompt response. My daughter arrived to USA at age 6 and she has no accent. This is why I would like to start to learn English since the beginning.

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