Can you go the distance?, by Abigail White

What is a phrasal verb?

It's the combination of a verb + a preposition resulting in a new verb. The phrasal verb is different from the two separate words.

The preposition changes the original verb in a logical way to mean something different.

  • I've decided to give up smoking.
  • If you want to lose weight you'll have to give up eating sweets.
  • Don't give up without a fight.

UP often means that something is finished so give up smoking means the same as stop smoking.


  • Put on your coat. It's cold.
  • Can I try on these jeans, please?
  • She had a beautiful dress on that evening.

ON is often used when we are wear something.

Phrasal verbs are very common in spoken and written English so we need them to understand and speak natural English. If you're in a hurry to learn just a few verbs, take a look at our phrasal verb list.