What are Phrasal verbs?
Phrasal verbs are phrases that have a verb and another element, typically either an adverb, as in break down, or a preposition, for example, sleep in, or a combination of both, such as break up with.
What kinds of phrasal verbs are there?
There are four different kinds of phrasal verbs. Some of them have prepositions or adverbs that can move and change position, falling right after the verb, or at the end of the sentence. In addition, some phrasal verbs require objects while others do not.
Examples of Phrasal Verbs in Sentences:
(preposition moves around)
- I called up Joanna/ I called Joanna up. To call up, means to give someone a ring or to call someone, but in an informal way.
- I handed in a paper/ I handed a paper in. To hand in a paper means to submit a paper to a teacher or a professor.
- I checked out a book/ I checked a book out. To check out means to take a book from the library for a scheduled period of time.
More Examples of Phrasal Verbs in Sentences:
(preposition doesn’t move around)
- I bumped into Jim. (To bump into means to meet someone by chance on the street).
- She got over the illness quickly. (To get over means to recover from).
- He picked on me about my strange outfit. (To pick on means to make fun of).
3 Reasons to Master Phrasal Verbs for TOEFL
Phrasal verbs are a useful tool to use on the TOEFL speaking exam because they often provide students with a much more efficient, exact way to communicate their opinion about a topic or to clearly express an idea.
Reasons #1 For Using Phrasal Verbs on TOEFL
- Phrasal verbs are more efficient and express ideas with greater precision.
Sometimes, when you say something in English without using a phrasal verb, it could take 5-6 words to say it, while a phrasal verb could express the same idea in merely a few words.
Let’s look at some examples:
First, let’s analyze a sentence without a phrasal verb:
One of the most disappointing experiences of my life was when my partner decided to finalize our relationship.
We can create the same sentence with a phrasal verb:
One of the most disappointing experiences of my life was when my partner broke up with me.
The sentence with the phrasal verb expresses the idea much more efficiently and in a more exact, natural way. The sentence with the phrasal verb is also shorter and expresses the idea faster.
Let’s study another example:
A sentence without a phrasal verb:
- I enjoy being with my friends so that we can talk about what we have been doing and share our experiences with each other.
The same sentence with two phrasal verbs:
- I enjoy hanging out with my friends and catching up with them about their recent adventures.
There is nothing wrong with the first sentence, but it takes longer to express and doesn’t sound as natural and fluent as the second sentence.
Since you only have 45 seconds on the first part of the TOEFL speaking exam, it is important to express yourself and provide details and reasons to support your arguments. Therefore, the more efficient and natural you sound when you give your reasons, the better you will score on the exam. If you try to say something using a long complex sentence, sometimes it takes you too long to communicate your idea, you waste time, and then your score drops because you didn’t have enough time to justify your argument.
Reason #2 for Using Phrasal Verbs on TOEFL Speaking
Phrasal verbs help you expand your vocabulary and improve your ability to communicate with a wide range of words.
When you learn another language, it is useful to study vocabulary, synonyms, and phrases.
For the TOEFL speaking exam, your score will increase if you paraphrase what the professor explained in the lecture. You can use a wide range of phrasal verbs for academic purposes to do this.
Here are a few examples:
The professor points out that stink bugs invade homes over the winter months. (To point out means to clarify or show). This is a phrasal verb that you could also use in your writing and TOEFL essays because it is used in academic papers and in more formal English.
Another example of a phrasal verb is, “to consist of,” which means to be formed by or made up of. To describe a study that a lecturer mentions, you could say, “The investigation consisted of a series of trials with a control group of rats.” This phrasal verb is also commonly used in academic English, which is truly the kind of English you need to hone for the TOEFL speaking exam.
Also, when you describe research, you can use “carry out,” a wonderful phrasal verb that is used consistently in academic research papers. For example, “A team of scientists carried out a study in Norway about global warming.”
So, therefore, the greater variety your response is in terms of rich, academic vocabulary, the higher you will score. Therefore, it is important to study phrasal verbs used in academic contexts and also collocations for research and writing reports.
Here are a few collocations (words that naturally fit together and that are commonly used together) you should be aware of when it comes to talking about research:
- To carry out research (to DO research not Make)
- Research indicates that….(research shows that…)
- The professor provides a full explanation of the historical account of the battle (a complete explanation)
- The professor provides a rationale for his argument (a justification for his argument)
- The lecturer makes the case for his new theory of environmental protection (defends their position)
Reason #3 for Using Phrasal Verbs for TOEFL Speaking
If you want to sound as natural and as fluent as possible, it is a great idea to incorporate phrasal verbs into your spoken English.
Although they are tricky, you can’t run and hide from them because they will inevitably find you and you eventually will find them.
So, take some steps forward to start using them in your day-to-day conversation.
Set up a routine to review phrasal verbs and how they are used in sentences. You can use the Anki application for reviewing phrasal verbs with spaced repetition, a brain-based learning methodology.
The first thing to do is download the Anki application to your desktop. Then, you can download some phrasal verb decks to study. Once you see this screen, click on “Get Shared Decks.”
Then, you can find popular decks by searching for “Phrasal Verbs.” If you want exam prep specific decks, you can find “TOEFL Barron’s” or “Essential TOEFL IBT vocabulary.”
Then, you can download one of the decks that has great reviews and that has sample sentences so you can study the phrasal verb in context. Some of the decks even have audio to practice pronunciation.
Then, you can begin studying some common phrasal verbs on a daily basis while waiting for a bus or while riding a train or even while going to the bathroom. Instead of opening your social media apps, you can open the Anki app and study for 5 minutes a day.
Another great option is to take my phrasal verbs email course. You will feel much more confident expressing yourself and will find yourself sounding more natural as well. The course has a video, where I explain what each phrasal verb means and I give you a few example sentences so that you can practice pronunciation. Then, I give you an audio dictation to practice the phrasal verb. The course is a fantastic way for you to improve your fluency and your ability to use phrasal verbs effectively.