Phrasal Verb Activities & Games

Instructor: Matthew Hamel

Matt has degrees in Journalism and Business and has taught a variety of courses at high schools and universities around the world.

Phrasal verbs are an important part of English vocabulary and knowing how, and when, to use them can be a vital skill. This lesson provides teachers with classroom activities and games that can be used to teach phrasal verbs to students.

Phrasal Verb Activities and Games

Before using any of the activities in this lesson, it's important to review the definition of phrasal verbs with your students. Basically a phrasal verb is comprised of a verb and a preposition, or adverb. The following is a list of some of the most common phrasal verbs.

  • Blow: up, down, back, away
  • Break: down, up
  • Bring: about, along, back, in, out, round, up
  • Buy: out, up
  • Call: off, up
  • Carry: off, out
  • Cut: back, down, off, out
  • Give: away, back, up
  • Hand: back, down, in, over
  • Knock: down, out, over
  • Leave: behind, out
  • Let: down, in, off, out
  • Pass: down, over, round
  • Push: about, around, over
  • Put: across, away, down, forward, off, on, together
  • Set: apart, aside, back, down
  • Shut: away, in, off, out
  • Take: apart, away, back, in, on, up, over
  • Think: over, through, up

Finish the Phrase

  • Divide the class into teams.
  • Invite one student from each team to join you at the front of the room.
  • Tell them a verb and then give them 10 seconds to write down as many phrasal verbs as they can on the blackboard.
  • Alternatively, have students say as many phrasal verbs as they can.
  • Reward one point for each correct phrasal verb.
  • Repeat these steps until every student has had a chance to play.

Reverse Phrasal Verbs

In this activity, you will give students a particle and they have to add an appropriate verb. For example, if you say up, students can add buy, call, stand, think, take, etc. This activity can be done in teams, or you can ask for volunteers. For larger classes, you can pair students up and have them write down their answers.

Find the Phrasal Verb

This activity works best with a novel or story that each student has access to. Begin by giving the students a page number. Set a time limit and instruct the students to find as many phrasal verbs as they can on that particular page. When time is up, ask for volunteers to read out the phrasal verbs they found. This activity is a great way to start a class discussion about phrasal verb identification and use.

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