Teaching Phrasal Verbs to ESL Students

One of the best ways to help students speak more naturally and fluently is to introduce them to phrasal verbs and regularly incorporate these into class. Native speakers often use phrasal verbs rather than the more formal vocabulary words often included in vocabulary lists. An obvious example of this is the phrasal verb “find out”, which we tend to use much more regularly than its counterpart “discover”.

To teach phrasal verbs to ESL students, teachers can start by introducing a few simple phrasal verbs, such as "sit up" or "hand in", to show students that these can be commonly used and quite simple to learn. Then, after introducing a dozen or so, teachers can move on to more complicated phrasal verbs, such as "make up" or "turn in", which can have multiple meanings. It is only necessary to introduce a few - maybe three to ten - phrasal verbs a week, and attempt to use in them in class conversations. This way, students can learn fast and retain what they learn.

One of the best ways to help students speak more naturally and fluently is to introduce them to phrasal verbs and regularly incorporate these into class. Native speakers often use phrasal verbs rather than the more formal vocabulary words often included in vocabulary lists. An obvious example of this is the phrasal verb “find out”, which we tend to use much more regularly than its counterpart “discover”.

To teach phrasal verbs to ESL students, teachers can start by introducing a few simple phrasal verbs, such as "sit up" or "hand in", to show students that these can be commonly used and quite simple to learn. Then, after introducing a dozen or so, teachers can move on to more complicated phrasal verbs, such as "make up" or "turn in", which can have multiple meanings. It is only necessary to introduce a few - maybe three to ten - phrasal verbs a week, and attempt to use in them in class conversations. This way, students can learn fast and retain what they learn.

Phrasal verbs, like most other aspects of the English language, must be practiced, studied, and drilled, if they are to be retained by the students and eventually incorporated into their daily speech. For teachers, it is therefore necessary to do more than simply introducing phrasal verbs to the students and expecting them to learn on their own; rather, by regularly bringing in ESL phrasal verbs worksheets, the teacher can review the phrasal verbs that were taught previously while introducing new, slightly more challenging phrasal verbs, as well as comparing phrasal verbs that might use similar words.

It is also worthwhile to keep handy a list of all phrasal verbs that have been taught, in order to make attempts to incorporate these into class conversations and lessons whenever possible. Hearing them in context will make it much easier for the students to understand how they are used and thus adopt them into their own lexicons.

 

For some free, printable ESL phrasal verbs worksheets, including introductions to relatively simple as well as more difficult phrasal verbs, check out our ESL Phrasal Verbs page!

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