28.04.2016 |

Episode #1 of the course “Common English phrasal verbs: Part 2” by Angela Boothroyd


Phrasal verbs are sometimes called multi-word verbs, and they’re used just like other verbs.

They are a combination of a verb (such as ‘make’ or ‘pick’) with one or two particles (an adverb or a preposition), that results in a new word or unit of meaning.

For example:

1) ‘look up’ – to turn your eyes upwards – is not a phrasal verb

e.g. I looked up and saw a plane

2) ‘look up’ (something) – to look at a book or computer in order to find information – is a phrasal verb

e.g. I looked it up in my dictionary

      I looked it up on Wikipedia

Phrasal verbs can seem hard to learn because it can be difficult or impossible to guess what they mean from the meaning of their individual verbs and particles, and because many phrasal verbs have multiple meanings.

The best way to learn them is to think of each phrasal verb as a single word, and then learn a small number each week just as you would learn any other English vocabulary.

The definitions and examples of use on this course will help you do exactly that for 50 common and useful English phrasal verbs!

blow up

1. To blow up something (or blow something up) means to fill it with air; for example, a balloon, or a car or bicycle tyre.

Example of use:

Can you blow these balloons up for the party, please?


2. Blow up also means to suddenly lose your temper (get very angry).

Informal English.

Example of use:

a) I broke her iPad and she blew up at me.

b) We were having a discussion about the accounts and he suddenly blew up and stormed out.


3. When something blows up (or when somebody blows something up) it explodes.

Examples of use:

a) The family were injured when their house blew up because of a gas leak.

b) Fortunately the plane was empty when the hijackers blew it up.

1.1 Phrasal verbs 2

rely on / upon

1. To rely on (or rely upon) somebody or something is to trust someone or something to do what you need or expect them to do.

Often + to do something.

Examples of use:

a) I’m relying on you not to drop me!

b) Can I rely on you to keep my secret?

c) We need someone we can rely on to manage the business for us.

d) I wish I could rely on my train arriving on time.

e) I’m relying on my students to finish their English homework this week.

f) We’re relying on our old car to get us to the airport on time

g) You can rely on


2. To rely on (or rely upon) somebody or something is to need or depend on someone or something in order to work correctly, to succeed, or to survive.

Examples of use:

a) We rely on our son to do our food shopping for us.

b) He relies on the income from his writing for paying his bills.

c) Our elderly neighbour relies on her children for help.

d) I’m relying on all of you to work hard and make this team a success.

e) The English students relied on their teachers to help them pass their English exams.

f) Our business relies on government contracts.

Rely upon is a little more formal than rely on.

1.2 Phrasal verbs 2


Recommended book

“The Ultimate Phrasal Verb Book” by Carl W. Hart


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