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Welcome to our new blog series!

In these regular tutorials we highlight some simple ways to improve your English language use…and set you a ‘Fish Mission’ –  a challenge to put your learning into practice. 

A Babel Fish lesson is built upon outstanding teaching – but is characterised by fun and accessibility. If you like the look of this way of learning, check out our study programmes or get in touch.

Your Fish Mission for this week…?

Phrasal verbs

Such a key component of spoken language, understanding these useful little phrases and  – more importantly – using them, will step up your spoken English. 

What are they?

Much like the term implies, these are verbs in the form of phrases (rather than single verbs). Here are two examples:

  • Turn up
  • Run into 

The other thing about phrasal verbs is that their meaning is often different to what the individual words would mean on their own. Context is everything. 

Let’s put the examples above into sentences:

The dog will turn up sooner or later. 

The meaning of ‘turn up’ in this sentence is not to increase the volume or temperature, but to ‘appear suddenly or unexpectedly’. 

I hope I run into you again soon. 

Here ‘run into’ does not mean literally bang into someone, but simply ‘see you’.

You could re-phrase the sentence: I hope I see you again soon. 

GCSE Tuition at Babel Fish

Why use them?

So, why use phrasal verbs when they are often unclear and not literal English?

Simply, they make you sound more fluent – more like a native speaker.


There are thousands of phrasal verbs in English. Here’s a fab little list to get you going.

Your mission:

  1. Find a phrasal verb used in this blog and post it in the comments 
  2. We are, in part, a surf school. So, combining our passions… come up with your own phrasal verb related to surfing and post in the comments. Extra points for a little vlog showing us your use of them. 

Next time…idioms.

Improving surfing and Learning English

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