B2.2 – Vocabulary – FCE December: Phrasal verbs for week 7th Nov 2011

A recap of the phrasal verbs we worked on in class this week.  Many of these verbs have multiple meanings and uses as well as appearing in different grammatical patterns.  I have only included the meanings we focussed on in class.

Turn down

Patterns:  To turn somebody down / To turn something down / To be turned down for something (passive voice)


  1. I invited him to the party but he turned me down.
  2. She asked him to go to the cinema but he turned her down.
  3. He asked her to marry him but she turned down his proposal (or turned his proposal down).
  4. He has applied for lots of jobs but each time he has been turned down / He has been turned down for all the jobs he has applied for.
  5. He has turned down lots of job offers this year.
Meaning:  Complete the definition with two of the words below:   When you turn something or somebody down you _______ an idea/offer/proposal or the person that made it.
a)  consider   b)  accept   c)  reject
Further meanings:  Turn someone/something down is also often used to express the idea that someone won’t even consider letting something happen…
I asked my boss if I could take some holidays in October but because it’s a really busy period for us he turned me down.
This is rejection + absolute refusal to even consider something.
Active/passive:  What’s the difference between sentences 4 and 5 in the examples above?  Who turns the offer down in each example?
Compare the correct sentences with some common mistakes:  They offered me a longer contract but I turned it down. / They offered me a longer contract but I turned down it.  I wanted her to come to the party but she turned me down. / I wanted her to come to the party but she turned down me.
Take over
Patterns:  to take over from somebody / to take something over
  1. The small family business was eventually taken over by a huge multinational enterprise.
  2. Carlos Queiroz took over as Portuguese national coach from Luiz Scolari.  When Queiroz left, Paulo Bento took over.
Meaning:  Taking over is about (a) getting control and responsibility for something or (b) starting to like something.
Further points:  Notice how the idea of succession is communicated by the preposition from:  Bento took over from Queiroz.
Pick up
Everybody in class recognised pick up in the meaning of answering a telephone or getting/lifting something that has fallen on the floor.  Here is another use…
  1. Can you pick me up from the train station?
  2. I’ll be driving past your house on the way to the stadium so I can pick you up if you want a lift.
  3. To get to the city centre from the airport you can take a bus which picks passengers up just outside the terminal.
Meaning:  Which word offers the best synonym for pick up according to the examples above?
a)  lift   b)  drive  c)  collect (and drive)
Compare the correct sentences with some common mistakes:  The taxi will pick you up from the airport and take you to the hotel.  / The taxi will pick up you from the airport and take you to the hotel.
Take after
Patterns:  to take after somebody
  1. He has really blonde hair;  he takes after his Dad more than his Mum, who has dark hair.
  2. He takes after his father, both of them are excellent musicians.
  3. He takes after his grandmother both of whom love gardening.
  4. She doesn’t take after her Dad at all – they couldn’t be more different!
Meaning:  Which of these ideas does take after somebody not communicate?
a)  look like  b)  have similar interests and tastes to someone  c)  imitate someone  d)  behave in a similar way  e)  compete with someone
The following examples do not work very well.  Why?
  • He is taken after his parents in looks.
  • Isabel really takes after her daughter.
  • She takes her father after.
Cut off
  1. We were talking on the phone when the line was cut off.
  2. People complained when their electricity supply was cut off without warning.
  3. Their gas supply was cut off because they had not paid their bills.
  4. We had our water supply cut off for a few days while the builders did some work on the house.
  5. They cut the water supply off because they were doing some work on the pipes in our area.
Meaning:  to stop the supply of something – e.g. a phone line, gas, electrcity etc.  Similar to disconnect.
Patterns:  What do examples 1-4 have in common?  Why is example 5 different?
Get by
Patterns:  to get by (on/in/with something)
Examples and meaning:  Match the examples (1-6) with the definitions (a-d ).  Paying close attention to the prepositions may help with some of the examples.
  1. He only earns €250 a month so he finds very difficult to get by.
  2. I don’t speak a lot of Portuguese but I managed to get by when I visited the country on holiday.
  3. He says he is making enough to get by but I don’t know how he can live on such a small salary.
  4. How do they get by on so little money?
  5. I can just about get by in French but I wouldn’t be able to take part in a deep conversation.
  6. It wasn’t an easy time for me but I got by with a little help from my friends.
  7. Living in the middle of nowhere, I need a car to get by.
a)  You can get by if you have just enough money to survive.
b)  If there is something you really need to have in order to live, you can’t get by without it.
c)  Get by is used to talk about coping with difficult situations.
d)  You can get by in a language if you speak enough of it to communicate on a basic level.
Here are some more examples of get by in relation to money.  Is the speaker experiencing good financial times or hard financial times?
  1. I make more than enough to get by.
  2. I’m sorry to have to ask but I need to borrow a bit if I’m going to get by this month.
  3. We are only just about getting by on what we have coming in.
  4. I thought I’d have enough to get by on with my pension but the way things are going, I’m not so sure.
  5. We’ve been getting by okay since I took on a few extra hours at work.
Musical interlude:
Turn away
  1. The stadium was full two hours before the match and many people were turned away.
  2. Mary and Joe found it really difficult to find somewhere to stay, lots of hotels turned them away before they finally found a place to sleep.
  3. The security guard turned us away because we did not have permission to enter the hotel where the conference was taking place.
  4. We tried to get into the night club but they turned us away because we were wearing trainers.  Apparently you have to be wearing shoes to get in.
  5. Sorry, this is a ticket-only event.  If you do not have tickets you will be turned away at the door.
Patterns:  which patterns work?
a)  We turned thousands of disappointed fans away because the stadium was full.
b)  We turned away thousands of disappointed fans because the stadium was full.
c)  They turned away him from the stadium because he did not have a ticket.
d)  They turned him away from the stadium because he did not have a ticket.
e)  Many people were turned away from the stadium because they did not have tickets.
f)   Many were turned away people from the stadium because they did not have tickets.
Musical interlude:

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Filed under B2.2 - FCE Use of English, B2.2 - Vocabulary recycling

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