Don’t you just love phrasal verbs? Okay, okay, it’s pretty obvious that nobody’s specially enthusiastic about them, but well, they’re very important in communication and it’s something you should be learning little by little as you move up. Phrasal verbs will make you sound more natural while speaking English, and they are an essential part of the grammar and vocabulary of the language. So today, Gosia Kwiatkowska (see short bio at the end), the owner of Lesson Plans Digger and KSE’s second guest blogger, is giving us five extremely useful steps that will help you cope with phrasal verbs effectively. Enjoy the handy read!
1. Focus on the topic
There is nothing less effective than printing off long lists of phrasal verbs organized alphabetically or trying to learn all “look” or “off” ones. What works best is learning phrasal verbs you can use to talk about a particular topic (see the example of phrasal verbs to talk about money), ask and answer questions and tell stories. Phrasal verbs will become logical and useful tools that help you to express yourself, rather than silly obstacles you have no idea how to use.
2. Make new phrasal verbs personal
The best way to deal with new vocabulary is to use it in a familiar context. What’s more familiar than your own life? Try using new phrasal verbs to talk about your day, your work, family, or your free time. This way you will memorise their form and meaning better, and associate them with particular contexts or situations.
3. Pace yourself
Setting realistic goals in language learning helps us stay motivated and work systematically. Phrasal verbs may seem overwhelming at first, so it is important for you to learn them at a steady pace remembering that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Trying to learn between 3 and 5 new phrasal verbs a week seems like a reasonable starting point. This way you will be able to get a good grasp of each verb’s meaning, form and use.
4. Keep your eyes and ears open
Once you have become aware of the existence of phrasal verbs, try to identify them when you listen or read in English. You will improve your chances of learning new vocabulary in context or see verbs you have learned in action and understand them. Now, that’s real language learner satisfaction!
5. Revise, revise, revise
Even if you set yourself a weekly phrasal verb challenge and deliver on Friday, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will still remember all the words on Monday. To really learn you have to revisit your verbs and consciously use them in context. You might keep sets of flashcards (see below), write a sentence containing a phrasal verb in a separate notebook, set phrasal verb reminders on your mobile, calendar or email; make a lovely phrasal verb screen saver or a desktop wallpaper, record yourself using phrasal verbs in sentences and listen to it on your iPod… The list goes on. The most important thing is not to lose sight of the vocabulary you’ve learned.
My name is Gosia Kwiatkowska and I have been teaching English since 2009. I come from Poland and I have taught both at home and abroad (Dominican Republic and Spain). I am currently based in Berlin, Germany.
I have a keen interest in developing teaching materials that would be engaging for students, help them reach their learning goals and make for an effective and enjoyable class. This is why I started the blog lessonplansdigger.wordpress.com where I share my materials and lesson ideas.