Phrasal Verbs

What Are Phrasal Verbs?

The Phrasal Verbs can now be accessed on the Level Up English website with Membership Level 2.

Phrasal verbs are made up of a verb and a preposition or an adverb, such as in this example. “Grow up”. “Grow up” means, to get older. “Up” is a preposition.

Phrasal verbs are difficult. Although some of them are simple, most of them have more than one meaning. Sometimes the meaning isn’t easy to understand, so you have to learn each one individually. 

Separable Phrasal Verbs

Separable Phrasal verbs are ones that can have the noun or “it” in-between

Turn up the music / Turn the music up

Inseparable Phrasal Verbs


These are phrasal verbs where the preposition and verb are always together (never apart)

Hang onto the rope – Correct ✅

Hang the rope onto – Incorrect ❌

How to Learn Them

  • Don’t just learn phrasal verbs in a list, learn them in context. 

  • Learn them in full sentences so you can see the way it’s used in different tenses and what prepositions to use with it.

  • When you hear a new one, check on a dictionary if it’s separable or inseparable

  • Practise using them yourself!


I turned up to the hostel late on a Friday evening. I had a lot of things to think over before my trip so I was glad to have finally arrived. I sorted out the money with the receptionist in my broken French and then went to my room.

I wasn’t expecting much from a €10 hostel, but to my surprise, they had already set up the room for me with fresh sheets and bath products. I had been through a lot so I collapsed into the bed and napped for a while.

After my nap, I came across a great restaurant online so I had dinner there while enjoying the mountain views. 


To turn up – To Arrive

  • I turned up to work on a Sunday by mistake and no one was there.

To think over – To think carefully about a plan before making a decision

  • I need to think over what to have for dinner tonight.

To sort out – 1) To solve a problem  2) To organise/tidy 

  • sorted out the plane tickets to go to Canada.

To set up – To prepare something, to get something ready

  • I set up the table with plates and cutlery ready for dinner.

To go through – to experience something bad or difficult

  • I went through a difficult time

To come across – To find something by accident/chance

  • I was looking for my phone when I came across a lost cat.

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6 thoughts on “#13 What Are Phrasal Verbs?”

  1. Hello MICHAEL for an example of “cotton on” phrasal verb can I say :
    “My brother cotton on his lesson”
    Thank you .

    1. Hi Maysara. Good try! Almost.
      We usually say “cotton on” + the specific lesson we’re learning.

      For example: He cottoned on to the game we were playing (he began to understand the game)
      You could say: My brother cottoned on to the grammar in the lesson

  2. Hi Michael, first cheers for the podcast , interesting learn about phrasal verbs, second can you make a podcats talking about series on tv for learn english. I hope you are fine. See you soon!!!

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