12 Essential Phrasal Verbs for Everyday English Conversation

Lesson Overview

Lesson Summary 

I’m sharing some important phrasal verbs used in daily English conversation and I’ll BUTT IN to talk about the Lingoda TEAM Challenge! ⛹️‍♀️⛹️‍♂️⛹️‍♀️⛹️‍♂️ http://bit.ly/TheLingodaTeamChallenge_Emma
Register a team and use my Key name: MMMEMMA to get €10 cashback for each person you recruit!

This lesson was sponsored by Lingoda
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Their new TEAM Challenge runs for 7 weeks and gives you the chance to win some incredible prizes including a trip to one of the four European capital cities for your whole team. Make sure you check out http://bit.ly/TheLingodaTeamChallenge_Emma for all the details!

~ More on Phrasal Verbs ~

Phrasal Verbs that are transitive need an object. EG: (to) look up to (we need to always say WHO we look up to for this phrasal verb to make sense.)
If it’s intransitive, it can be used on its own, without an object. EG: (to) grow up

Separable means that the verb and the particle are able to be separated in the sentence. EG: (to) bring up is separable.
I’m going to bring up this issue on Monday.
I’m going to bring this issue up on Monday.
We can separate the words in the phrasal verb so it’s separable.

(to) jump in or (to) butt in on a conversation are examples are inseparable phrasal verbs. We can say “Can I jump in?” But we can’t say “Can I jump me in”.

Video Transcript
Section 1
Well hey there I’m Emma from mmmEnglish! Today I’ve got twelve advanced phrasal verbs for you, essential ones to learn because they’re used every day to talk about communicating with people.

Now there are lots of different phrasal verbs in English to help us talk about talking to people. Generally, phrasal verbs are informal ways of expressing ideas in English which means they are used every day. They’re really common in conversations, they’re extremely useful to learn and practise. I think you know that a phrasal verb is just a regular verb with one or two particles that follow.


Don’t let that confuse you. A particle is either a preposition or an adverb, right?

  • Put down
  • Put away
  • Put together
  • Put up with

These are all examples of phrasal verbs and they all have a meaning that is different from the verb put, right? They have their own meaning so they need to be learned and practised together just like any other verb.

And that’s exactly what we’re going to do in today’s lesson. You might want to grab a notebook to take a few notes down, I’ve got some important things to share with you and I’ve also got three ways to help you practise these phrasal verbs, any phrasal verbs and I’m going to share them at the end of this lesson.

Before we dive in, make sure you hit that subscribe button and turn on notifications, you don’t want to miss any more of my lessons, right? Let’s go!

Hold up! I’m excited to share some news about a brand new event from our friends at Lingoda. It’s the Lingoda Team Challenge and it runs for seven weeks. Just as it sounds, the Lingoda Team Challenge is all about creating a team and helping each other to cross the finish line together. I love this idea!

Now although it’s called a Team Challenge, you can still sign up and complete it as an individual as well which is really exciting because there are some cool prizes on offer for teams and for individuals who complete the challenge and they include hundreds of group classes, private lessons and a grand prize of a trip to visit one of four European capital cities for you and your whole team.

And guess what? If you put together the team and you use this key (MMMEMMA) when you sign up, Lingoda will give you ten euros cashback for every team member that you recruit to your team just as a reward for being the captain.

I also think it’s really cool that by participating in the challenge, not only are you helping yourself and your team but you also can help others as well because for every team that completes the challenge, Lingoda are going to donate language classes to those who need them through the language scholarship program. This is a special initiative by Lingoda to help those who’ve been badly affected by COVID19. Help them to improve their career opportunities by learning another language.

Let me tell you how you and your team can earn hours to give to the scholarship program and it depends on which challenge you sign up for.

First, there’s the Challenge which is three classes a week for seven weeks. If you complete all twenty-one classes, Lingoda will donate four hours for each team member to the scholarship program. Or you could do the Super Challenge which is five classes a week for seven weeks. If you complete all thirty-five classes, Lingoda will donate seven hours of time for each team member to the Scholarship Program.

What’s cool about this Challenge is that everyone in your team can join the Challenge in any language or at any level that they choose. You don’t have to go to all the classes together, you just need to complete the challenge together.

So you need to sign up by the 1st of November and complete all the classes in the challenge within seven weeks from the day that you sign up.

As you know, Lingoda classes are available in English, business English, German, French and Spanish twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week with friendly and professional native teachers.

Staying focused and motivated with English is so much easier with mates right so if you’re the kind of person who loves encouraging friends and you love the idea that the effort that you put in now helps yourself but it helps others too then grab some mates and get involved.

I’ll put the link with all the details and the rules in the description down below. Make sure you read the rules before you sign up and who knows? You might be one of the lucky ones taking your team on a trip to Europe. Good luck!

Tricky little things, phrasal verbs, aren’t they? You’ve got to learn the meaning and yeah there are multiple meanings for some phrasal verbs but you also need to keep a few other things in mind, relating to the structure of your sentence and how to use each phrasal verb correctly and that means knowing if the phrasal verb is transitive or intransitive, separable or inseparable.

Now if you’re scratching your head and you’re wondering: What on earth? I talk about all of this in that lesson up there, don’t worry about it right now, I’m going to link to it at the end of this video so that you can watch it next. But I’ve also added some notes about these things in the description down below if you want to check it out just to get your head around it. But I am going to include these symbols throughout the lesson so that you can pay attention to how you need to use these phrasal verbs to use them correctly.

Now there are some really common phrasal verbs to do with speaking and conversations in English. Ones like :

  • catch up
  • hang out

All of these phrasal verbs, I’m just gonna skip over them because for one, I’ve been over them in lessons before and if you want to watch those lessons I’ve linked to them down in the description below.

These are more advanced, more challenging phrasal verbs to practise today.

1. bring up | T + S

Now we use this phrasal verb in multiple ways but when we want to start discussing something, we use it.

  • There’s something I want to bring up.

So it’s a really great way to introduce a new topic and it’s usually about something that’s serious or important you know, you need some time or some space to talk about it.

It’s usually used when you’re in a professional context or you want to talk about something seriously.

  • Let’s bring this up at our next team meeting.

Now we can easily replace this phrasal verb with the verb raise, right? It’s a more formal synonym so in even more formal situations, you could use raise.

2. get across | T + S

Now this phrasal verb is often used with the verb try to show that you’re attempting to communicate a message when you want someone to understand something.

Do you sometimes have trouble getting your meaning across in English? Here’s a cool tip. There are several nouns that are often used with get across and so learning them together is going to help you to sound more natural and more accurate as you use this phrasal verb.

So we use get across with facts, feelings, ideas, a message, meaning, a point or a point of view. All of these things are used with get across.

  • Am I getting the message across clearly?
  • I’m trying to get my point across but Paul keeps butting in.

I’m gonna get to that phrasal verb soon!

3. let on | IT + IS

This phrasal verb is used when you’re talking about something that is meant to be a secret so it’s actually often used in negative sentence structures like this one.

  • Don’t let on that you know the news. I haven’t mentioned it to Jess yet.

But it’s not always negative.

  • I don’t think I trust him. I think he knows more than he lets on.

4. jump in | IT + IS

Have you ever jumped in on a conversation? This is a great phrasal verb for interrupting. It’s very informal.

  • Do you mind if I jump in here?

I’ve got something to share. I want to say it.

We don’t literally mean jump in. Jump in is just an informal synonym of interrupt.

  • Do you mind if I interrupt?
  • Do you mind if I jump in?

They’re the same thing. The phrasal verb is just more casual, more informal.

5. butt in | IT + IS

Now butt in is also used for interrupting but very informal and perhaps a little rude when you’re using that to describe what someone else did. It suggests that that person who’s doing the action, they didn’t really care about the other people in the conversation or what they’ve been talking about.

They just interrupted and it was quite rude. They butted in. And it’s often-

  • Hey did you do the thing I told you to do the other day because I need you to do it?

Anyway to butt in means to join a conversation or an activity without being asked to or invited to.

  • I was speaking with Sue after she lost her job and then Jim butts in and starts talking about his new promotion.

So it’s quite a selfish action, right? Butt in.

6. blurt out | T + S

This is quite a fun one, to blurt something out. To blurt out something means to say something without thinking about the effect it will have and it’s usually because you’re nervous or you’re excited.

Imagine that a friend told you that she was pregnant but she specifically said: Don’t mention it to anyone yet because I haven’t told anyone else.

But then later in the day, you saw another friend, someone you hadn’t seen in quite a while and you were giving them all the updates about life and work and then you say: Guess what! Melanie’s pregnant!

It just slipped out of your mouth before you even thought about it. That is blurting it out.

Then you’d have to call her up and you’d have to say:

  • I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry I just blurted it out! I didn’t think.

7. dry up | IT + IS

This is when you stop talking because you haven’t got anything else to say or you don’t know what to say and this is something that you definitely don’t want to happen in a conversation, right? When everyone runs out of things to say then you gotta kind of politely just make an excuse and leave.

  • Steve’s a nice enough guy but our conversations always dry up after a minute or two. It’s kind of hard to get to know him.

8. get through to | T + S

So this phrasal verb can be used in multiple ways. It’s sometimes used when you’re trying to call someone and they don’t answer.

  • I’m trying to get through but there’s no answer.

But it’s also used when you’re trying to make someone understand what you’re trying to say.

  • It’s difficult to get the message through to my team because we all work remotely.
  • I’m trying to get the message through to Paul but he’s not listening.

9. talk (something) over | T + S

This phrasal verb is used to discuss a problem or a plan and usually, it’s when you’re trying to find a solution or resolve it in some way.

It’s when you’re a little stuck and you know you’ve got to talk about it some more so that you can come to a resolution or to make it clear. And when you use it, you’ll always need to use an object as well, all right? You’ll need to talk over an issue, a plan, something, it or this, whatever okay. It’s something that has to be talked over.

  • I know you’re upset. Let’s talk it over tonight when you get home.
  • We need to talk over what happened this morning.

Sometimes you might even hear people using talk over in the context of speaking over the top of someone else. Usually, as a way to interrupt, they might say:

  • I don’t mean to talk over you but we’ve already decided what to do.

So in this context, it’s always followed by a person followed by the person who’s being interrupted.

10. talk (someone) around | T+ S

So when you want to talk someone around you want to convince them or you want to persuade them to agree with you right so it kind of suggests that the person didn’t agree with you to start with and you’re trying to convince them that your idea is the right one, is the best one.

  • I didn’t want to go but he succeeded in talking me around.

11. shut (someone) down | T + S

You might know this phrasal verb already because it has a common meaning to close something usually permanently like it might be a restaurant that gets shut down but we also use it you know to talk about a computer when it stops working.

  • We shut down the computer.

But it is also informally used during conversations when you get rejected, especially if your hopes are up.

  • It was kind of awkward, she just shut him down mid-sentence.

So she just stopped him in the middle of his sentence and told him that his idea was no good or that he’s wrong. She interrupted in a rude way and shut his idea down so it’s definitely a negative thing to do or to experience yourself, right?

  • My boss didn’t like the suggestion. He shut me down straight away.

12. back (someone) up | T + S

Now it would be much better if your boss backed you up right which means to give support by telling other people that they agree with something that you said or something that you did.

  • Thanks for backing me up during the meeting.
  • I hope my colleagues back me up because otherwise, my boss won’t believe me.

Who would have thought that there were so many phrasal verbs to talk about communicating with someone in English? I mean there are several more, ones that I didn’t even get to in this lesson. I wonder if you can think of any of them? Can you think of any of the phrasal verbs to do with communicating, speaking in conversations?

Are there any that I missed? If you can think of some, add them down in the comments below.

So I said at the start of this video that I’ve got three tips, three ways to practise using phrasal verbs.

Now the first is to hit that pause button and write some sentences down in the comments below this video so that I can come down and check your sentences, give some feedback, make sure that you’re using them correctly while they’re fresh in your mind, make sure you’re using the ones that you’re feeling a little unsure about, all right? Test out your skills and get some feedback.

Another option is to make some flashcards to practise with. So all of the phrasal verbs that we went through, write them down on one side and then write the definition on the other, practise and test yourself to try and remember the meaning of these phrasal verbs.

And lastly, my favourite is to use the news media to help learn about these phrasal verbs because people are often reporting on what people said and what they said to each other right so it’s a great way to practise and a cool way to do it is by using Google search, just grab the phrasal verb, go to the news section of Google and search for it and see how it comes up, look at the words and the structures around that phrasal verb.

See how it’s used in different contexts. Is it separable? Is it intransient? Pay attention to all these things and see how it’s used in multiple contexts which is so important, it’s so important to see how these phrasal verbs are used naturally in naturally spoken and written English.

Thanks for watching and I will see you right there in the next lesson!

Links mentioned in the video

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