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 new unit is different from the two separate words.

The preposition changes the original verb in a logical way to mean something different. In give up, up suggests something is finished so give up smoking means the same as stop smoking.


  • 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.

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.