A quick way to sound more like a native English speaker is to use phrasal verbs in conversation. You don’t need to use them all the time, but one or two in a conversation makes you sound more natural.
Summer Holidays – 10 Phrasal Verbs
If you’re planning your summer holiday, here are 10 phrasal verbs you can use with your colleagues, customers and suppliers.
Get something in
When you “get something in”, you give something to someone who has been waiting for it. Here’s an example:
“I need to get my holiday request in before the end of the month.”
Wind something up
This means to bring something to an end. You can wind up a meeting, or even wind up a company (close it down). But here’s an example for you about holidays:
“I’m winding up my ongoing projects before the August break.”
Tie something up
This has a couple of meanings. If you’re tied up (a phrasal verb with no object), you’re busy. But when you tie something up, you finish it. We often use “tie up” with “loose ends” (the odd, miscellaneous things that are left over in a project).
“Before I leave on Friday, I have to tie up a couple of loose ends.”
Clear up something
When you clear up, you make something tidy. This could be your house or a room, or your workspace:
“Before I go, I need to clear up my desk.”
Put something away
When you put things away, you put them in their right place.
“I’ve got a few files to put away.”
Hand something over
When you hand something over, you give it to another person. For example, you might hand over something to a colleague before you leave your job, or before you go on holiday:
“I’m handing over my outstanding projects to Sue.”
Sort something out
“Sort out” is one of those phrasal verbs that you can use in lots of different situations. We often use it when we’re talking about organising or arranging something. For example:
“I’ve got to sort out this paperwork” or “There are a few last-minute things to sort out.”
Take out insurance
We use “take out” in many different ways, but one use is to talk about insurance policies. If you take out a policy, you sign the contract and pay the premium.
“We need to take out holiday insurance before we go.”
Cross off / Check off / Tick off something
If you’re someone who always has a “to-do” list, this phrasal verb is for you! When you have a list of things to do, you can cross them off one-by-one as you finish them.
“I’m gradually crossing off everything on my holiday list!”
Stock up (on something)
When you “stock up”, you buy things in quantity so that you don’t “run out” (use up all your supplies). We might stock up on things if we know there will be a shortage, or if we know we’re going to use a lot of something. Here’s a holiday example for you:
“Before we go, we’ll need to stock up on sun cream.”
Phrasal Verb Hints
Lots of people avoid using phrasal verbs through a lack of confidence – and fear of making a mistake. But here are two hints for you so that you can use the phrasal verbs accurately:
Object or no object?
All the phrasal verbs above can have an object. So you put something away – not just “put away”. It’s important to know this so that you don’t make grammatical mistakes when you use the phrasal verb.
Check the particle
Have you noticed in the phrasal verbs above how the particle carries meaning? When you know how to use the particle, often the meaning of the phrasal verb becomes clear. Here are some examples:
Up = to do something to completion
Wind up / Clear up / Tie up / Stock up
In = to give to someone in authority
Get in (Also “hand in”)
Over = to someone else
Out = to solve problems
Sort out / Take out
Off = to remove (also from a list)
Tick off / Check off / Cross off
Away = put in another place
Put away (Also “tidy away”, “clear away”)
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