Lesson Twenty-seven

verb + preposition

As you continue to learn English, you’ll notice that prepositions are often used with verbs to form phrasal verbs or verb phrases (Some teachers call them idioms.) The combination of a verb and a preposition can have many different meanings.

idiom / meaning example
get back = return
What time will you get back?
get in = enter
She’s trying to get in the house.
get by = pass
That truck wants to get by us.
put on = dress
He’s putting on his shoes.
put off = delay
Don’t put off your homework.
put down = insult
His wife always puts him down.
look up = find info.
Look the information up online.
look at = watch
They’re looking at you.
look out = beware
Look out for falling rocks!
bring up = ask
Sam brought up a good question.
bring back = return
I have to bring these books back.
bring along = carry
Bring along an umbrella.

As you can see and hear from the examples above, there are many different combinations of verbs and prepositions that you have to remember. This takes years of practice, but it’s worth the effort because these phrasal verbs are very common in American and British English.

Sometimes a single combination of a verb and a preposition might have several different meanings. An example of that is go + by. The video below will show you how these two words can be used together:

Here’s an exercise for you to try. Use the phrasal verbs listed below to complete each sentence or question. Notice that some of these are separated when they are used.

 go by get by  put on  put off  look up   look at  bring up  bring along

1. You should ________ the word _________ in the dictionary.

2. Excuse me. I need to ________ ________.

3. ________ _________ a lunch. You’ll be hungry later.

4. We can’t __________ this _________ any longer.

5. I’ll ________ this _________ with my supervisor.

6. What name do you ________ ________?

7. ________ your hat _________. It’s cold outside.

8. It’s not a good idea to ________ ________ the sun for too long.

The answers are below.

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Next: Lesson Twenty-eight
will be


1. look….up; 2. get by; 3. Bring along; 4. put….off; 5. bring…up; 6. go by; 7. Put…on ; 8. look at