Ingles Nu E Cru Rádio: Introduction to Phrasal Verbs! 


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I am your host, Foster Hodge, this is your daily dose of English. 

Foster Hodge: Hey, Alexia.

Alexia: Hello.

Foster: How are you?

Alexia: I’m fine, what about you?

Foster: I'm doing very well, I hope that everyone listening, all twenty five of you are also doing well, twenty five thousand. So Alexia, today what are we talking about?

Alexia: Phrasal Verbs.

Foster: Phrasal verbs, so you're going to suffer a little bit today, is that cool?

Alexia: Yay. 

Foster: You hear the excitement in her voice. So, just to provide a little bit of context, Alexia is a very advanced English speaker, I’d say…

Alexia: Yes, thank you, I think so.

Foster: You consider yourself an advanced speaker?

Alexia: Yeah.

Foster: Yeah, so Alexia speaks really well, she can talk with everyone, can have conversations maybe sometimes you can't find the perfect word that you would use in Portuguese but you're very advanced, right?

Alexia: I can get along with the people.

Foster: Perfect. So one of the most common questions that I, as an English teacher always receive is, I need help with phrasal verbs, starting phrasal verbs and cultura inglesa or whatever school and I don't understand. So Alexia, can you tell me what are phrasal verbs, what are these things that so many Brazilians have difficulties with? So what are phrasal verbs?

Alexia: I don't know what phrasal verbs are, I see you have the same difficulty that I used to have when I was student as well.

Foster: When I was a student.

Alexia: A student.

Foster: Right, so whenever you talk about a profession like, I'm a doctor, I'm a student, anything you do for a vocation, we always include the article a where I’m, right?

Alexia: Right. And what I can say about phrasal verbs is they are expressions, right? 

Foster: Yeah, yeah, I mean the phrase expressions is a pretty vague form of terminology but yeah normally phrasal verbs are expressions. So let's do this, can you give me an example of a phrasal verb?

Alexia: Yes, a phrasal verb that I really like it because I think it's really funny is: I bumped into Foster yesterday at the mall. 

Foster: Why do you think that's funny?

Alexia: I think that bumped into it means (Spanish) ou eu encontrei com Foster de forma inesperada né.

Foster: Tropecei, pode falar né?

Alexia: O que?

Foster: Tropecei.

Alexia: É, mas na verdade não é tropeçar, é encontrar de forma inesperada.

Foster: Exactly, you bumped into someone you were not expecting, you saw me at the mall.

Alexia: Exactly. So, but I think that bumped into is really, really funny to say so I always recognized this as a phrasal verbs. 

Foster: Nice.

Alexia: Phrasal verb, sorry.

Foster: Nice. There is a very vulgar expression with bumped , yeah, I'm not going to include that in this family-friendly podcast. OK, so I bumped into someone, yes, that is a perfect example of a phrasal verb, so let's break this down, and separate it and think about what it is. So first we have the word bump, what kind of word is that, what part of speech is that?

Alexia: Uh?

Foster: OK. So you know, when we're talking about words we have nouns, adjectives, verbs, adverbs. 

Alexia: I think bump is a verb.

Foster: Correct, very good Alexia, bump is a verb, right?

Alexia: Yes.

Foster: Verbs are like action words, like I'm running, run, jump, talk, walk, all verbs, you're doing something, right. And into?

Alexia: Preposition.

Foster: Nice.

Alexia: Yay.

Foster: Nice. So all of my students or ninety nine percent of my students say they have problems with prepositions, and most of them do because prepositions are difficult. Can you, do you have any idea of how to explain what prepositions are? Most people can't do this, most Americans can't do this.

Alexia: It's something that connects the phrase.

Foster: Exactly.

Alexia: The phrase, I mean the words in the phrase.

Foster: Exactly, that is a great way to think about prepositions is they're connecting words, prepositions always have to do with connection, so they are connecting normally a verb, or some sort of location or situation with the rest of the phrase, right. So perfect, you analyze everything perfectly and that's exactly what a phrasal verb is, it's a verb, so it can be actually one or more verbs paired with one or more prepositions. So you have bumped into, you have to get up, move out, find out, check in, all of these verbs that are connected with a preposition to create a phrase or verb, right?

Alexia: Yes.

Foster: That's pretty easy.

Alexia: Yeah, when you think about it yeah, of course. 

Foster: Yeah, so the format, the structure is pretty easy but why do you think they are so difficult for Brazilians then?

Alexia: I think that the normal ones like get up, move on, and the other one that you just said that I can’t remember now, we don't recognize it as a phrasal verb, because it's really easy and we use it on a daily basis of a phrase.

Foster: Right, you just think of it as an expression.

Alexia: Yes, we don't think as a phrasal verb but when someone asks me, do you know any phrasal verbs? I will never say get up, move on ever. 

Foster: Right. So this is where I think most of the difficulty comes from because when people are thinking about phrasal verbs, they are thinking about it in isolation, which is weird, it's not the way we do it but the real reason the phrasal verbs are so difficult is because almost all the time they can't be translated directly, so when you say I bumped into someone, if you literally translate that, a bump is like a bump in the road and then into you think about going into like a restaurant or something, has nothing to do with just randomly seeing someone on the street. 

Alexia: Yeah.

Foster: Another example, if you think of, to put up with, like if you say, I cannot put up with my boss, you're saying like, não aguento mais o meu chefe, right? 

Alexia: Yeah.

Foster: But if you translate that literally, directly, word for word it would be put, colocar, up, pra cima, with, com, it makes no sense.

Alexia: But do Americans, or British, or Australians or anyone who speaks English …

Foster: English speakers.

Alexia: Yes, do they use phrasal verbs normally?

Foster: All the time.

Alexia: OK but put up with, I can't put up with my boss, I think that people usually say is I can’t deal with my boss.

Foster: Right, I can’t, usually, people usually say, right? I think a lot of people would say put up with, or deal with, or handle…

Alexia: Deal with is a phrasal verb? 

Foster: Yeah, they're still a phrasal verb because you're still using deal with.

Alexia: See, I don't know.

Foster: Right? 

Alexia: Yeah. 

Foster: Right. So, the complicated thing here is most phrasal verbs have a direct translation like alternative, right? So for example, when I am arriving to a party, or I'm arriving to any situation, what do you think I would normally say in English. 

Alexia: I would not say oh I'm arriving in twenty minutes, I'm getting. 

Foster: Yeah I'm getting there.

Alexia: Yeah, I’m getting there. 

Foster: Or getting to, right? So we use some variation of a phrasal verb with get and if you say, I'm arriving or what time did you arrive people understand you, it's grammatically correct but it sounds very strange. 

Alexia: It's more formal, I think. 

Foster: Yes, it’s just weird. Yeah we always say, what time do you get there?

Alexia: You correct me on this since ever.

Foster: Forever. 

Alexia: Forever, no. You've been correcting me with this since ever.

Foster: Yeah, whenever you want to say desde sempre, always forever.

Alexia: OK. 

Foster: Yeah. That is correct, so I think the easiest way to fix this disconnect with phrasal verbs is to think about them in context, don't think about them as phrasal verbs, big truck going there, but for example instead of thinking to put up with as this complicated thing, just think of it as an expression to put up with means aguentar, right? And then you can really start incorporating these phrasal verbs in to your everyday speech.

Alexia: OK. Perfect. 

Foster: So the first thing is a mindset shift, the next thing is practicing these and putting them into your English every day and in the next episode we're going to talk about some examples of phrasal verbs, that sounds good? 

Alexia: Yes. 

Foster: No likes it, does not look happy. See you guys soon, thank you. 

Alexia: Bye. 

Foster: Tchau, tchau.