Phrasal verb: soup up

To soup up something (or soup something up) is to change something, especially an engine or car, to make it more powerful; or to make something more interesting, attractive or appealing. If something is souped-up (adjective) it has been made more powerful or more attractive. Informal English.   Example sentences: 1. He’s driving round in […]

What is a phrasal verb?

An introduction to English phrasal verbs   Here’s a slideshow I made to explain some aspects of English phrasal verbs. I hope it’s useful 🙂   What are phrasal verbs? from Angela Boothroyd      

Phrasal verb: bend over backwards

To bend over backwards is to make a special effort for someone or something. Informal English.   Example sentences 1. She bent over backwards to give the children a good Christmas. 2. We bent over backwards to help him when he lost his job. 3. He bent over backwards for his son, but never had […]

Phrasal verb: witter on

To witter on is to talk in a long-winded* way about things that are not very important. This expression is informal British/UK English.   Pronunciation of ‘witter’:  /ˈwɪtə(r)/   *long-winded (adjective) – using too many words or tediously long   Example sentences: 1. I wish you would stop wittering on while I’m trying to work! […]

A little guide to English prefixes

  A prefix is an affix – a group of letters – added to the beginning of a word, or before a word root, to make another word In the word ‘unhappy’, ‘un-‘ is a prefix. In the word ‘rewrite’, ‘re-‘ is a prefix. If you understand the meanings of English prefixes this can help […]

Collective nouns

  Collective nouns are nouns which refer to a group or collection of people, animals, or things. They’re followed by either a singular verb or a plural verb. The use of a plural verb is more common/more acceptable in British/UK English. And the use of the singular verb form is more common/more acceptable in the […]

Improve your English: adjective order

Adjectives are words that describe or modify nouns. They’re often called ‘describing words’. For example, the words ‘beautiful’, ‘big’ and ‘yellow’ in the image description above are all adjectives. English adjectives come before the noun. As with other languages, adjectives in English are usually used in a specific order. However, there are no rigid rules […]

Phrasal verb: settle up

To settle up is to pay someone money that you owe them. This phrasal verb is often followed by ‘with’.   Examples of use: 1. Can I settle up when I get paid? 2. You go and wait for the taxi and I’ll settle up with the waiter. 3. He owes us £50 for the […]

Business English: phrasal verbs frequently used in business contexts

Phrasal verbs occur frequently in English so it’s important that you can understand what they mean. And using them yourself makes your English more natural and more accomplished. There isn’t really a specific part of English that can be called ‘business phrasal verbs’, but there are many phrasal verbs that you’ll read and hear often […]

Phrasal verb: put across

  To put across something (or put something across) is to explain or express something clearly and effectively so that people can understand it easily.   Examples of use: 1. I find it difficult to put across my ideas during meetings at work. 2. Our English teacher always puts things across well. 3. The politician […]