8 easy ways to learn phrasal verbs

Birds. Easy ways to learn phrasal verbs.

Many learners of English say they’re worried about learning phrasal verbs.

I don’t think there’s any real reason to be worried. I know they can be a little confusing sometimes, but the best thing to do is to think of each phrasal verb as a single word with a specific meaning, and then learn them like you would learn any other English vocabulary.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Start with common phrasal verbs

Phrasal verb dictionaries and websites for learners of English have very useful definitions for many hundreds of phrasal verbs, but it’s best to start with the most common English phrasal verbs and pick just a small number to learn at a time.

Don’t try to memorize long lists of phrasal verbs from lists or dictionaries: use these to look up meanings when you see or hear unfamiliar phrasal verbs.

Choose a small number of phrasal verbs to learn each week. A good way to choose which ones to learn is to focus on phrasal verbs from the same topic e.g. food, travel, relationships, business English, or socialising.

Incorporate them into your daily life

As with all new words, it’s important to actually use the words in order to learn them effectively; so try and incorporate them into your daily life and vocabulary as often as you can.

  • Read news articles and short stories (and even novels) and see how many phrasal verbs you can find – look up any where you’re not sure of their meaning. News headlines often have phrasal verbs in them, so they’re a good way to see phrasal verbs being used in context. If you do an internet search for the phrasal verb you are learning and select ‘News’, you will see lots of headlines using that phrasal verb.
  • Practise speaking: choose one or two phrasal verbs and use them whenever you can in the conversations you have for one week.
  • Practise writing. Send a text or an informal email to a friend or someone in your family and use the phrasal verbs you are learning that week.


Phrasal verb apps

If you like using apps to learn English, here are some good ones for practising your phrasal verbs

Cambridge Phrasal Verbs Dictionary logoThe Cambridge Phrasal Verbs Dictionary covers around 6,000 phrasal verbs current in British, American and Australian English.





Phrasal Verbs Machine logoThe Phrasal Verbs Machine from Cambridge University Press

Animated illustrations of 100 phrasal verbs set in the circus world of the Amazing Phraso and his friends.




Phrasalstein logoPhrasalstein By Cambridge University Press

This app is designed to help you lose your fear of the horrifying phrasal verbs once and for all! Doctor Phrasalstein, with the help of his friends, teaches 100 phrasal verbs using animations inspired by the classic “horror movie” genre, and with a touch of humour and irony.



Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where you can organize and share things you find on the internet.

Amongst other things, I use it to collect and organize useful language resources.

It can be a very good tool for language learners.

For example, you can set up boards for your favourite language websites, lessons and resources – you could have a Grammar board for saving grammar tips and lessons; or an IELTS board for collecting IELTS exam hints and tips; or a board where you collect definitions of phrasal verbs you want to learn.

On my English Phrasal Verbs board I pin some of the phrasal verb definitions and resources from my websites and from other sites.

Search Pinterest for other phrasal verb pins, boards, or pinners; and then set up your own board and start pinning 🙂 Share your board with me here 🙂



And finally, don’t forget you can download my free PDF with 50 of the most frequently used phrasal verbs in English.

This PDF has 300 example sentences showing how these phrasal verbs are used in everyday conversation, plus gap-fill exercises for more practice.


Do you like learning phrasal verbs?

And do you have a favourite way of learning them?


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Angela Boothroyd

Angela Boothroyd

English language teacher at Botanical Linguist
Hi, I'm Angela, the Botanical Linguist, and I show learners of English how to become successful and self-directed or independent language learners. If you want to improve your English accuracy and fluency and learn everyday strategies and activities that will help you learn English without spending a lot of money on lessons, subscribe to my free newsletter here.
Angela Boothroyd
Angela Boothroyd
Angela Boothroyd

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  1. Gladys Dore Ireton says:

    I have to understand and practice more Phrasal verbs , so what tips would you give me to overcome it?
    I appreciate your help.
    Gladys Dore Ireton

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