Speak About:



Past to Present


Abilities - Responsibilities

Asking Questions

Choosing the Right Phrase

Combining Verbs

Explaining Ideas

Describing Your World

Complex Ideas

Relating Ideas, People, Objects

Speaking about Objects

Wondering about Situations

Getting Into It

Phrasal Verb Basics

Phrasal verbs are generally two or three words verb phrases composed of a verb and one or more particles - these 'particles' are often prepositions. Phrasal verbs are especially challenging to English learners because they may be literal in meaning:

I picked up the pen.

or they may be figurative in meaning:

They brought up their children in London.

Here is a short list some common phrasal verbs:

pick up
go out
set off
put down
come up with
drop in on
get into
drive off
get ready for
bring about


The board looked after the majority interest of the shareholders

I look forward to updating our spreadsheet.

I concentrated on getting the bank transfer order.

Phrasal Verbs Followed by the 'ing'

One problem in English that can cause a lot of confusion is whether a verb following another verb takes the 'ing' form or takes the infinitive.

For example:

I hope to do something.
I enjoy doing something.

Phrasal verbs generally end in a preposition. Prepositions always take the 'ing' form of the verb. For this reason, any verb combined with a phrasal verb takes the 'ing' form of the verb.


We learned about earning a good return on investment.

I looked into giving a presentation to the board about our return on investment.

Three Word Phrasal Verbs

Here is a list of some of the most important three word phrasal verbs:

catch up on
come up with
go along with
cut down on
keep up with
come down with
check up on
get along with
get on with
look forward to
send off for


That building keeps track of all the currency in circulation.

They look forward to discussing deregulation.