Resources: Notes on Life and Language in the United States

4 Phrasal Verbs and the Story of Verb Dive

Posted by Lindsay McMahon on Wed, May 08, 2013 @ 07:45 AM

Verb Dive English Phrasal Verbs woman frustratedI have been working with English learners for the past nine years and one of the biggest problems that I have seen for my students is phrasal verbs in English.

Not sure what a phrasal verb is? Words like "hang around," "turn down," "figure out," or "stand out" are the biggest challenge standing between you and English fluency.

So now that we know what the problem is, what is the solution?

In my opinion, dictionaries are NOT the solution.

Memorizing these verbs is not only boring, but it also makes no sense if you don't learn them in the context of a real situation or conversation.



Verb Dive is coming soon!


verb dive iphone app

About 9 months ago, this phrasal verb problem really started to bother me and I decided that it was time to do something!

Since August, we have been working on Verb Dive, an iPhone game application! Verb Dive is going to offer a fun, new, and different way to learn phrasal verbs.

You will never go back to boring dictionaries again!

To launch Verb Dive, we have created a blog that is meant to help you with one thing: phrasal verbs.

Today we have some highlights from this week on the Verb Dive Blog! (See below)


Click here to get more information about Verb Dive when it's available!




Follow Verb Dive on Twitter!



The birth of Verb Dive iPhone app:


idea for Verb Dive, lightbulbIt was a hot August afternoon in 2012.

I was working with my student, Miguel, in Harvard Square.

He was struggling to figure out the differences between "pick up" and "pick out."

Sweat dripped down my forehead and as I tried to find a better way to help him learn these verbs.

I realized that I needed something new, fresh, and fun.

I needed a game! Within a few weeks, with the help of a few friends, I had sketched out the game on paper.

Next I had to find an artist...

 Read more about the birth of verb dive here




Check out these new lessons on the Verb Dive Blog!



1) Phrasal verb of the day: show off


guy breakdancingWhat does it mean to "show off"? How is "show off" different from "show up"?

When you show off you try to draw attention to yourself by doing something funny or interesting.

You can also show off your shoes or even your boyfriend or girlfriend.

Check out this lesson to learn more


2) What does it mean to "get along" with someone?


Do you get along with your brothers and sisters? To get along with someone means to have a positive relationship with someone.

two boys sitting on steps

Here are some examples:

  • "I never got along well with the popular kids in school."
  • "Many siblings don't get along and fight all of the time."


Learn more about the phrasal verb "get along"





3) Do you need to "sign in" or "sign up"?

registration deskHere are two more phrasal verbs that probably confuse a lot of English learners!

When we "sign in," we arrive at an event that we have probably already registered or "signed up" for.

When we "sign up," we say that we are going to participate in something like a volunteer activity or a contest.


Learn more here



Want more quick and easy lessons on phrasal verbs? Check out the Verb Dive Blog and subscribe to get the lessons by email.

Don't worry! If you aren't concerned with phrasal verbs and you want to keep reading the English and Culture Blog, you can stay right here and we will keep creating great lessons for you!

Thanks for reading and as always, please let us know if you have a specific English challenge and we will create a lesson for you.




Get our free video 7 simple secrets to connection in English




Photo credit: hectorir, rabiem22, NHS Confederation

Topics: Phrasal Verbs, English Lessons

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