Phrasal verbs are most English learners’ worst nightmare. Unfortunately they are so commonly used in English by native speakers that you’ll hear them several times in a conversation. And that’s the same for communication with native English speakers in a business setting. You can’t escape them!
What are phrasal verbs?
Phrasal verbs are verbs used with another word (an adverb or preposition) to create a commonly used phrase.
Phrasal verbs are idiomatic — you can’t guess the meaning of a phrasal verb by interpreting each of the words it contains literally. For example, if you say, “I’ll look into the mirror,” you are going to direct your sight to a mirror. In this case, “look into” is not a phrasal verb; it’s simply a verb followed by a preposition. On the other hand, if you say, “I don’t know what phrasal verbs are, but I’ll look into it,” you are not directing your sight into phrasal verbs—you are going to find out more about them. (Source: Grammarly)
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How to learn and remember phrasal verbs?
My clients often ask me how best they should learn phrasal verbs and I categorically tell them that memorising a list of phrasal verbs out of context is a big NO!
What is far more effective is to learn them in context, in other words, in the different settings you find them. If the setting is familiar, the phrasal verb will be easier to understand and remember.
I prefer to teach phrasal verbs under different topics.This does three things: (1) it shows you that phrasal verbs are a normal part of English, (2) it ensures you don’t get overwhelmed by too many phrasal verbs at once, and (3) it gives you practice using phrasal verbs in the correct context.
Phrasal verbs and time
In this post, I will show you what phrasal verbs you could find related to the concept of time. Time is a precious commodity for busy professionals like you. It’s only natural you become familiar with the English phrasal verbs we use related to it.
I have selected 16 phrasal verbs for my narrative. I’d like you to pay close attention to how each one is used in the sentence and work out (another phrasal verb!) its meaning from the context.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel pressed for time.
Each day I make a long to-do list and each day it gets harder and harder to fit everything in to my working day. Things always take longer than I expect which means I am always running out of time. For example, I may have set aside 2 hours for a task, but it inevitably takes more than 2 hours to complete. I have a choice – I can either complete the task or move on to the next item on my to do list and free up some space later in the day or week to complete the earlier task. In fact that’s what I have started doing – blocking out slots of time for various items and sticking to those time slots. If I’ve not been able to complete the task in the allotted time, I simply allocate a new time slot for it.
Of course, if the task is urgent, for example, I have to prepare for a presentation that’s coming up soon, I put back my other tasks and concentrate on this. The key is always to know how to prioritise. In fact, leading up to an important deadline, I always ensure I have spaced out my tasks to give myself sufficient time to meet my deadline.
Of course, the trouble with this is that by allocating so much time to one project, I end up falling behind with my other tasks. I then find myself having to catch up with a ton of work and that means long hours. So much for the work-life balance.
I don’t mind working long hours for a one-off project. However, if the one-off becomes a series of projects and the long hours become the norm, I need to rethink how I work. That’s when I have to decide how best to manage my schedule.
In addition to allocating the time slots to each task, I’ll try very hard not to drag out the time I spend on each task. This does mean having to resist perfection. The trouble with perfection is that we can spend hours and days on a task – fine- tuning it, rethinking it, redoing it – without realising that precious time is slipping away. You may be lucky and have plenty of time to work on something, but I reckon most of us don’t have the luxury of endless hours – certainly not if someone is paying for our time. So the only thing you can do is press on with the job in hand.
Over to you
What is your daily, weekly schedule like?
How do you manage your time?
Using some or all the phrasal verbs above, tell me how you manage your time and what works for you?
Share your thoughts with me in the comments box and I’ll give you feedback on your assignment.
Thanks for reading and listening.
Ciao for now