A phrasal verb is a verb that’s combined with an adverb or preposition to give the verb a different meaning. Some examples of phrasal verbs include the following: ask for, back off, believe in, call back, drop off, and hundreds (or even thousands) more.
We use phrasal verbs all the time in English, which is why it’s important to give our students lots of practice using them in our classes. Check out our recommendations for the best phrasal verb activities and games, along with worksheets, online practice and lesson plans.
Phrasal Verbs Games and Activities
Are you ready to get into the best ESL phrasal verb activities? Keep on reading for the straight goods!
#1: Concentration Memory Game
One of my favourite ways to help students learn new phrasal verbs is to use this memory game. The way it works is that you can write down phrasal verbs on cards, breaking them up into verb + preposition or adverb. Then, cut them out and make one set for each group of 4.
The students lay the cards facedown on the table and it’s basically a memory game where they have to make a phrasal verb. Once they find a match, they have to make a sentence with it in order to keep the cards and get the point.
One quick tip: be sure to design this game carefully so that each verb has one ideal match and not a bunch of possibilities. More information about this memory game here: ESL Concentration Game.
#2: Dictogloss With Phrasal Verbs
Dictogloss is a challenging listening activity that’s ideal for working on phrasal verbs. The way it works is that you can find (or write) a passage with lots of these target vocabulary items.
Then, put students into pairs and read it out at a slightly faster pace than they’re used to. Students have to take notes and then work together to re-create the passage, either by writing or speaking. Read it out again and they can add more details. Finally, they can compare it with the original and circle the examples of phrasal verbs.
Check it out here: ESL Dictogloss Activity.
#3: ESL Phrasal Verb Charades
One fun way to way to review these vocabulary items is to play charades. I’ve sure you’ve done it before with your friends or family. The way it works is that students have to act out a phrasal verb and their teammates have to guess what they’re doing.
Do you want to try it out with your students? You can see all the information here: ESL Charades.
#4: Phrasal Verb Videos
I’m ALL about using videos in my English classes because they’re engaging, cover a huge range of topics, vocabulary sets and grammar points as well as lend themselves to lots of different pre and post watching activities.
However, there’s certainly more to it than just hitting play and sitting back and relaxing. At minimum, you’ll want to explain what phrasal verbs are and then have students listen for some examples of them. But, there are also a lot more possibilities!
To find some of the activities you can do with your students, check this out: ESL Video Activities.
#5: Hot Potato
I like to use hot potato to create a little bit of excitement in my classes. The way it works is that students have to pass around a potato (or another object) around the classroom and the person holding it when the timer goes off of music stops has to do something.
In this case, I’ll usually say a verb and they have to make it into a phrasal verb and then put it into a sentence. But, what your students do really depends on their level.
This is a fun ESL vocabulary game where students have to use words to describe another word to one of their teammates. In this case, the secret words would be phrasal verbs and the students might give some examples of sentences where the phrasal verb could be used.
Do you want to know more about how to play it? Check it out here: ESL Password Vocabulary Game.
#7: ESL Vocabulary Activities
The good news for English teachers teaching phrasal verbs it that there are a ton of fun, engaging vocabulary activities that you can try out. Seriously. So many good ones! Check the best ones out right here:
#8: Phrasal Verbs Songs and Chants
If you take a look on YouTube, there are a ton of songs and chants that you can use to teach phrasal verbs to your English learners. Here’s just one example:
#9: Is that Sentence Correct
One way to review phrasal verbs with regards to both form and meaning is to use an error correction activity like this one. The way it works is that you can write a bunch of sentences on the PowerPoint or whiteboard. Some are correct, while others are not. You’ll want to focus your errors on phrasal verbs in this case.
Students have to decide if the sentence is correct. If it is, they can make the necessary changes. Do you want to try it out with your students? Learn more here: ESL Error Correction Activity.
#10: Verb Activities
If you’re focusing on verbs with your English learners, there are a million and one thing activities and games that you can do with them. Seriously. So many that there’s no excuse not to have engaging, interesting English classes! You can see some of our top recommendations right here:
What is a Phrasal Verb?
A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb + preposition or verb + adverb. When they’re used together, they sometimes take on a different meaning than the original verb. Some examples of phrasal verbs include the following:
- break down
- check in
- tear up
- put on
- left out
- stand up
- broke into
ESL Phrasal Verb Worksheets
Why make phrasal verbs worksheets if you can just print off some of these and give them to your students? No more reinventing the wheel! If you’re looking for some solid worksheets to give your students more practice with this important English grammar concept, then you’ll want to check out our resources:
Phrasal Verbs ESL Lesson Plans
If you want a phrasal verb lesson plan that you can just print and go, then you should check out our recommended ones right here. The best part is that you can just print and go which can potentially save you a ton of time:
Online Practice for Phrasal Verbs
If your students want a bit of extra practice with phrasal verbs, then one way to help them do that is to recommend some of the following online resources. There are quizzes and games and the best part? You don’t have to correct them! It’s potentially a great time saver.
Did you Like these ESL Phrasal Verb Activities?
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 144 Pages - 10/24/2019 (Publication Date)
Yes? Thought so. Then you’re going to love this book over on Amazon: 39 No-Prep/Low-Prep ESL Grammar Activities. The key to better English classes is a wide variety of interesting and engaging games and activities and this book will help you do just that!
You can get this ESL grammar activities book in both digital and print formats. Read the digital copy on any device by downloading the free Kindle reading app. Then, take it with you to your favourite coffee shop for a serious lesson planning session. Or, keep a copy on the bookshelf in your office and use it as a handy reference guide.
Yes, it really is that easy to have better English lessons! Check out the book for yourself over on Amazon, but only if you want to get yourself a serious dose of ESL teaching awesome in your life:
Have your Say about Phrasal Verbs ESL
What do you think about these phrasal verb games and activities? Did you try out one of them from this list or do you have another that you’d like to recommend? Leave a comment below and let us know. We’d love to hear from you.
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Last update on 2020-01-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API