A modo de referencia, los Phrasal Verbs podrían equivaler a ciertos verbos castellanos que en presencia o ausencia de una preposición cambian radicalmente de significado (estar ≠ estar en ≠ estar con; pasar ≠ pasar de ≠ pasar por; dar ≠ dar a ≠ dar con, etc.). Por ejemplo: admiro a la Iglesia [= respetarla como institución] ≠ admiro la iglesia [= contemplar con maravilla su construcción arquitectónica].
El uso de los Phrasal Verbs es muy común —más de lo que un estudiante de inglés desearía—, por lo que si ya es un desafío enfrentarse a la larga lista de verbos irregulares, tratar de memorizar estos verbos compuestos supone un reto, ya que un mismo Phrasal Verb puede tener varios significados (put = poner; put out = sacar, quitar, extender, apagar, dislocar…) y, como verbos que son, diferentes tiempos verbales.
Con estos apuntes como avance, damos paso al contenido gramatical de los Phrasal Verbs.
As we saw in this week’s Tip of the Week, we’re looking at something that tends to strike fear into the hearts of English students- phrasal verbs. But the phrasal verbs we’re going to go over share a common theme: they all mean ‘to continue.’ Without further ado, let’s jump right in.
The first phrasal verb we’ll talk about is ‘to carry on.’ When we use it with the meaning of ‘to continue,’ we normally follow it with the gerund. For example:
~ I’m not going to carry on explaining things if you won’t listen.
~ People don’t carry on working: they retire.
However, it’s possible to use ‘carry on’ with this meaning without a gerund. Let’s consider the following examples:
~ If you carry on like that, nobody’s going to want to be around you.
~ To carry on in this way…spells disaster.
The next phrasal verb that means ‘continue’ is ‘to go on.’ Just like the previous phrasal verb ‘carry on,’ we generally follow it with a gerund. For example:
~ When he goes on running even after the play has finished, I know he’s strong.
~ You better not go on watching TV when mom gets home!
Continuing in this pattern of phrasal verbs with ‘on,’ we find ourselves with the next one- ‘to keep on.’ As we’ve seen with the first two, we also follow ‘keep on’ with a gerund to give it the meaning of ‘continue.’ For example:
~ Keep on fighting, boys!
~ You need to keep on studying in order to get better.
We’re going to change gears a little bit now, as the next phrasal verb we’re going to go over doesn’t contain the word ‘on’- ‘to keep up.’ This means ‘to continue’ as well, but we normally don’t use a gerund with it, and we can only use it for payments and hobbies. Let’s take a look at a couple examples:
~ I couldn’t keep up the payments on my car, so it was repossessed.
~ She used to collect coins when she was younger, but she hasn’t kept it up.
We should also note the expression ‘keep it up,’ which means ‘continue this way.’ It’s common to use this when you want to motivate somebody, to let them know that they’ve been doing something well and should continue. For example:
~ Good job on the last exercise, John. Keep it up!
Although phrasal verbs can appear to be a headache for learners of English, once we sit down and learn a few of them calmly, like normal vocabulary, we see that they aren’t that bad. To practice what you’ve learned today, try the exercise below!.
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- “Tail Questions”
- “The Different Types of Nouns”
- “Cockney Rhyming Slang”
- ‘Synecdoche’ and ‘Metonymy’
- Uses of the word “wish”