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Get Ahead with Phrasal Verbs: Effective Workplace Communication

Phrasal verbs: you either love them or hate them, but one thing's for sure - you can't ignore them! As a learner of English, you've probably experienced the frustration of encountering these tricky linguistic combinations. With more than 5,000 of them in the English language, phrasal verbs pose a unique challenge to learners. They often lack literal meanings, consist of small word combinations, and are difficult to remember. However, despite these obstacles, phrasal verbs are an essential part of spoken English and are used constantly in everyday conversations. Here is our advice on how to learn and use them effectively, and our chosen selection of useful phrasal verbs for the workplace.

🏆 Top tips for phrasal verb success

  1. Don’t panic!

  2. Choose a small selection, maximum 6 at a time.

  3. Put each phrasal verb into a sentence that’s personalised to you, making it easier to remember.

  4. Gain confidence by using your sentences whenever you can.

  5. Listen out for phrasal verbs you hear frequently. Make a note of them, look up their meanings and add them to your next selection.

It’s also useful to learn phrasal verbs together with their opposite (if they have one!). Here are 6 we have chosen to help you communicate effectively at work:

1. To get ahead 2. To get behind

I’m trying to get ahead while I have time, so that next week won’t be so stressful.

Unfortunately, we’re getting behind on the project and might miss the deadline.

If you get ahead, you have done more than expected or necessary and you’re ahead of schedule. To get behind means the opposite - you haven't done as much as you should have and you are behind schedule.

3. To push something back 4. To bring something forward

Would it be possible to push back the deadline? I need a little more time.

If it’s ok with everyone, we’re going to bring the meeting forward an hour.

If you push something back, you change it to a later date/time. If you bring something forward, you make the date/time sooner than originally planned.

5. To take someone on 6. To let someone go

As a start-up, we’re growing quickly and have taken on 10 new employees this quarter.

During the pandemic, the company was forced to let some members of staff go.

If you take someone on, you hire them. If you let them go, they lose their job for some reason. We also often hear these used in the passive; 3 new members of staff were taken on, He had to be let go.

Which ones do you think could be most useful for you? Why not make your own personalised sentences and have a go at using them this week? Good luck!

Your English Boost starts here!

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