A phrasal verb in English is a verb that takes a complementary particle representing a semantic and syntactic uniform unit. Phrasal verbs are highly productive and common in everyday speech, in mass media, newspapers and fiction. However, it is not advisable to use them in serious formal speech or writing. Phrasal verbs are remarkably dynamic as native speakers are constantly creating new units or “old” ones take a new meaning, which is especially characteristic of youth slang.
It is not necessary and practically impossible to learn all phrasal verbs while studying a foreign language. Today there are more than 5,000 phrasal verbs in English and only a few hundreds are constantly used. The meaning of many phrasal verbs can be understood intuitively. In addition, while interacting with foreigners or reading books in the original, one should definitely rely on the context which will most likely help to guess the meaning of phrasal verbs. Additionally, phrasal verbs, along with idioms and proverbs, contribute to authentic communication; their knowledge helps to overcome communicative failure, interlingual and intralingual interference [1, 4]. Phrasal verbs should be selected according to the following principles:
- semantic value;
- frequency of use;
- word-formative values .
Phrasal verbs are not a favourite topic of students due to the overemphasis on rote-learning approach instead of focusing on communication. In this paper, we are going to research some phrasal verbs and offer practical recommendations to work with them.
There are several basic scheme sentences with phrasal verbs. Most of them form two or more structures:
VERB + particle (no object)
S + V transitive + O direct
S + V + prep + O prep = Adverbial (A)
S + V intransitive + adv
S + V transitive + O direct + adv + prep + O prep = A .
(S = subject, V = verb, O = object, adv = adverb, prep =preposition)
Below are some exercises that help to memorize phrasal verbs:
1) Read the following sentences and try to understand the meaning of the phrasal verbs:
- “Hold on tight,” Jack cautioned, “or you may fall off your horse”.
- Hold on, I will ask the manager to clarify this situation.
- This case seemed hopeless, but Antonio held on and finally met with success.
- “Hold on! I want my car back” said Jody to her younger brother.
2) Change the following sentences to questions, using do, did:
- High tax rates held back the economic growth.
- Mariam holds back her feelings when she meets Vincent.
- He held on a few minutes and went out.
- They held up well despite their numerous problems.
- His spirits held up.
- She always holds out on her promises.
- Nigel held off making any comments on the situation.
- Luke holds with the idea of conducting the research.
4) Complete the sentences with the following phrasal verbs:
- His chilly manner ___ people ___.
- The shop-assistant ___ a dress for Gracie to try on.
- He ___ buying a house while interest rates were high.
- Wait a minute! We’ll hold up the best examples of compositions.
5) Change the sentences using phrasal verbs:
- Wait a minute! I’m talking on the phone now.
- She was trying to hide her tears.
- Yesterday the plane was delayed due to the weather conditions.
- We’ll have to postpone a decision until we receive all the data.
Thus, phrasal verbs take a considerable place in English vocabulary and are one of the main and important items for mastering it. They are frequently used in day-to-day life, mass media, literature and are commonly misinterpreted by language learners. To avoid mistakes, special attention should be paid to their usage in communication and written practice. Likewise, a teacher should select phrasal verbs according to their frequency of use, productivity, communicative purposes and cultural values.
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2. Караваева Н. А. Английский фразовый глагол как единица перевода В сборнике: Язык, коммуникация и социальная среда Межвузовский сборник научных трудов. Воронежский государственный технический университет Кафедра современного языка и теории коммуникации; ответственный редактор: Кашкин В. Б.. Воронеж, 2010. С. 221–227.
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4. Романович М. Ю. Компетентностный подход к преподаванию английских фразовых глаголов // Вестник Московского государственного лингвистического университета. 2010. № 599. С. 106–108.