Phrasal Verbs And Idioms

Phrasal verb

A complex verb consisting of a simple verb and an adverb particle.

Examples are: make up, take off, turn on, do up, fill up, run over, take in and put away.

The particle in a phrasal verb is always stressed. Note that it is possible to move the particle of a phrasal verb to the end of the sentence.

  • They called the teacher up. (OR They called up the teacher.)

A phrasal verb differs from a prepositional verb. The preposition in a prepositional verb cannot be moved to the end. Examples are: fall off, call on.

  • They called on the teacher. (BUT NOT They called the teacher on.)
  • He fell off the bridge. (BUT NOT He fell the bridge off.)


A fixed expression whose meaning is not guessable from the meanings of its parts. Idioms are usually special to one language and cannot be translated word for word though related languages may share some idioms.

Examples include a fish out of water (a person struggling in an unfamiliar environment), let the cat out of bag (reveal a secret) and kick the bucket (die).

Idioms are common in all kinds of English, formal and informal, spoken and written. However, informal spoken English is often very idiomatic.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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