Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

10 English Verbs that Are Driving You Crazy!

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, Oct 02, 2013 @ 02:11 PM

angry cat, English phrasal verbs that are hard to remember

English phrasal verbs!

Are they your favorite? Probably not. I am guessing that you have a major fear of phrasal verbs- many people do!

Let's admit it. You can study English verbs and expressions all day but you will never learn all of them.

That's ok, you don't really need to know all of them. Don't be a perfectionist!

You only need to know the common ones that show up in our everyday language all of the time.

Some of those verbs and expressions start with "get," "give," "take," and "keep." Today we'll focus on ten key verbs with a quick phrasal verb quiz to get you feeling more confident ASAP!

Are you ready?

Get started!

 

Take the quiz

 

 

money  to get by English phrasal verbs

1. I lost my job, but I am trying to ________ on some money that I borrowed from my brother.

 

a) get over

b) get by

c) give in 

 

 

 

 

2. When his dad died, he ______ the factory and it became his primary business.

 

a) got over

b) took up

c) took over

 

 

describe the image

3. My chemistry class is hard. I don't understand the math and I can't __________.

 

a) keep up

b) keep out

c) get up

 

 

 

 

 

4. I have been working hard for months, but I haven't succeeded yet. I feel like ________.

 

a) giving up

b) giving out

c) taking up

 

 

free snacks

5. Let's stand on the corner and ________ healthy snacks to people who walk by.

 

a) give off

b) take in

c) give out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6) My mom _______ chess when she retired because she wanted to keep her brain active.

 

a) took up

b) gave up

c) took in

 

 

got in

7) I am so happy that Harvard University accepted me. I can't believe I ________.

 

a) got in

b) got up

c) got around

 

 

 

 

8) Jeez, you look tired. What time did you ______ this morning?

 

a) give in

b) get up

c) take off

 

 

hard work

9) Even if you feel that you will never succeed, you should ______ trying.

 

a) keep on

b) keep up

c) get around to

 

 

 

 

10) I feel sad that my boyfriend and I broke up, but I'll _______ it.

 

a) get around to

b) get over 

c) take off

 

 

Explanation of answers:

 

1. To get by


Correct answer: I lost my job, but I am trying to get by on some money that I borrowed from my brother.

To get by= to survive (we often use this term when we talk about financial situations)

We use the verb "get by" when we want to express that we are not succeeding with something, but we are barely surviving or barely passing. 

 

More examples:

  • "I got by on spaghetti and rice when I was in college because I had no money."

  • "Can you get by on just $200 per month?"

 

 

 

2. To take over


geese crossing the road

Correct answer: When his dad died, he took over the factory and it became his primary business.

 

To take over= to take control of something, to take charge

Someone who "takes over" is a leader and takes control of a situation and other people usually follow him or her.

 

More examples:

  • "We need a new leader to take over this project because we are out of ideas."

  • "Who asked you to take over? I am in charge here!"

 

 

3. To keep up

 

Correct answer: My chemistry class is hard. I don't understand the math and I can't keep up.


To keep up= to maintain the same level as other people who are involved in the same class or project

 

We can use this verb when we talk about situations where we can't keep up in terms of understanding something as quickly as the other students or when we can't keep up physically (for example- we can't run as fast as they can).

 

More examples:

  • "My sister ran the marathon in 3 hours and I couldn't keep up with her."

  • "If you want to keep up in your classes you need to study every night."

 

 

4) To give up


 dont give upCorrect answer: I have been working hard for months, but I haven't succeeded yet. I feel like giving up.

 

To give up: To stop trying to accomplish something, to stop making an effort

 

More examples: 

  • "I tried surfing once, but I gave up after a few hours because it was too hard."

  • "You shouldn't give up on your dreams too early."
 

 

5) To give out

 

Correct answer: Let's stand on the corner and give out healthy snacks to people who walk by.

To give out means to donate something or to give something away for free, usually a physical object like food, clothes, flyers, etc. "To hand out" can also mean the same thing.

 

More examples:

  • "I saw a guy in front of Starbucks giving out free espresso samples."

  • "Would you mind helping me give out flyers on the corner today?"

 

 

6) To take up


 take up chessCorrect answer: My mom took up chess when she retired because she wanted to keep her brain active.

 

Take up= to start doing an activity or a hobby

 

More examples:

 

  • "I would like to take up yoga but I can't find the time."

  • "When did you first take up tennis? You are really good at it."
 

 

7) To get in

 

Correct answer: I am so happy that Harvard University accepted me. I can't believe I got in.

 

To get in= to be accepted into a program or a school

 

More examples:

  • "I got into Columbia because I had done so many activiites in high schoool."

  • "If I want to get into an Ivy League school, what should I do to prepare for the interview?"
 

 

8) To get up


get up

Correct answer: Jeez, you look tired. What time did you get up this morning?

To get up means to get out of bed. You can "wake up" and stay in bed, but when you "get up" that means that you physically get out of the bed.

More examples:

  • "I have to get up early tomorrow morning so I need to get some sleep."

  • "I can't get up before 10am. I am lazy in the morning."
 

 

9) To keep on

 

Correct answer: Even if you feel that you will never succeed, you should keep on trying.

Keep on= this is very similar to "keep" - when we say "keep trying" it means the same as "keep on trying."

 

More examples:


  • "When you run out of energy during the marathon you have to keep on going."

 

 

 

10) To get over

 

Correct sentence: I feel sad that my boyfriend and I broke up, but I'll get over it.

 

To get over= to stop being sad or disappointed about something

 

More examples:

 

  • "I was depressed when I lost the tennis match, but in a few weeks I got over it."

  • "I will never get over losing him. He was such a good husband."

 

 

Keep working hard on your phrasal verbs! If you are looking for a new way to learn phrasal verbs, you can try our new app, Verb Dive! Verb Dive will be coming to the App Store soon!

Click on the button below to get an email when Verb Dive is ready.

 

 

learn English phrasal verbs the fun way

 

 

 

Photo credits: The Found Animals Foundation, 401K2013, Stuartpilbrow, Listener42, California Ctulhu, Phille Casablanca, ellenm1, Mukumbura, quinn.anya, Lars Plougman

Topics: Phrasal Verbs, English Lessons

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