Phrasal verbs are very common in American English. Phrasal verbs are verbs followed by prepositions.
For example, let’s pick out ‘pick out’, a phrasal verb meaning to choose. Most phrasal verbs are separable. So there are often three ways to write or say the same thing.
a) Pick out a book (the verb and preposition stay together)
b) Pick a book out (a noun separates the verb and the preposition)
c) Pick it out (a pronoun separates the verb and the preposition)
Remember you can use phrasal verbs with any tense. So yesterday I picked out a book. Tomorrow I will pick out a book.
Also remember, some phrasal verbs can have multiple meanings. For example, I take off my jacket or the plane takes off.
Can you think of more phrasal verbs using the preposition out?
- Run Out- Finish (I ran out of gas)
- Find Out/Figure Out- Discover (I found out the answer)
- Watch Out/Look Out- Be Careful (Watch out for squirrels)
- Check Out- Look (Check out the car) or Pay (Check out of the hotel)
- Go Out- Socialize (Let’s go out Saturday)
- Chill Out/Hang Out- Relax (I hung out with my friends)
- Give out/Hand Out- Distribute (The teacher gave out the homework)
- Work Out- Exercise (I worked out at the gym)
So ‘going to work’ (job) is completely different than ‘going to work out’ (exercise). Just by adding ‘out’ we change the meaning.