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'Brush Up' Your English: Our Phrasal Verb Blog
A Phrasal Verb (Wikipedia) is a multi-word verb that has a different meaning from the original verb or root verb. For example, the verb ‘get’ as a root verb has dozens of phrasal verb variations: ‘get up’, ‘get over’, ‘get around’, ‘get around to’ and ‘get into’ are just a few examples.

Some phrasal verbs must be used together and others can be separated in a sentence. The rules vary according to the verb, which can make things confusing.

There are thousands of phrasal verbs in the English language and they are used quite frequently. Not knowing or not using phrasal verbs correctly can make communication difficult for English language learners.

A phrasal verb for Spring: to spring for (something)

Definition: to agree to pay for something, or to buy a treat for someone (including yourself).

How to use it: this verb is inseparable. The object that you 'spring for' must come after 'for.'

Examples:

  • We worked a lot of overtime last week, so our boss is going to spring for lunch for the staff on Friday.
  • The new jacket was expensive but it was so beautiful I sprang for it anyway.
(The past tense of the verb spring can be either sprang or sprung.)
 
A snow-related phrasal verb for this week

This week's phrasal verb is to snowball into (something).

Definition: to rapidly become larger or more serious--similar to buidling a snowball that starts out small but grows larger as you roll it.

How to use it: this verb is unseparable. The parts must stay together.

Examples:

  • The minor argument quickly snowballed into a full blown fight.
  • The unexpected holiday caused by the bad weather snowballed into cabin fever when people couldn't leave their houses for days.
  • Cabin fever is a phrase for extreme irritability and restlessness that comes from being   isolated in an indoor space for a long time.
 
to fall through

Definition: to fail to happen.

How to use it: This is an inseparable verb. The parts of the verb must stay together.

Examples:

  • Our plans to meet up on Saturday fell through because of the snow storm.
  • You should buy travel insurance so you can get reimbursed if your vacation plans fall through.
 
to stick with (someone or something)

Definition: to remain loyal to a person or thing; to continue a behavior or continue using a service.

How to use it: This is an inseparable verb. The words must be used together. If you change the order then you change the meaning of the verb (to stick someone with something has a different meaning).

Examples:

  • I'm going to stick with this cell phone company for awhile. I can't find anything better.
  • "I know you haven't lived here very long. Stick with me and I'll show you the town. You'll feel like a native in no time."
 
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