How can I teach phrasal verbs?

Help, tips and advice in teaching English

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How can I teach phrasal verbs?

Unread postby Fiona » 25 Apr 2004, 16:10

Dear Auntie Lucy,

Could you please give me some help with teaching phrasal verbs? My students just don't seem to get them.

Thank you

Fiona ;)

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Phrasal Verbs

Unread postby Lucy » 25 Apr 2004, 16:24

Dear Fiona,

It takes a long time for foreign learners to master (or mistress) phrasal verbs. So, don't expect them to get it right the first time around. They need to be able to recognise the verbs and understand their meanings, understand in which contexts they can be used and master the actual construction of the sentences. Added to this is the sheer number of phrasal verbs in the English language. This is hard work and can overwhelm some students.

To help them get the meaning, you can give a number of sentences using phrasal verbs and a list of meanings. Students match the meaning with the verb. You can also use sentences with phrasal verbs that you split in two. You mix up the beginnings and endings. Students then match the beginnings and endings of the sentences.

There are various ways of presenting the verbs, as with any other vocabulary item. You can present them by lexical set. The advantage here is that you can follow it up with speaking practice around the subject. For example, bring up, take after, look like when talking about families.

You can also present together verbs that have the same particle ending. The particles usually have a common meaning. For example, over can imply considering eg talk over, think over. Up can mean increasing (save up) or inventing (dream up, make up). If students understand the particle, it helps them guess meanings.

Remember as well to focus on which verbs can be separated from the particles.


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