Phrasal verb: give in

  1. give in
    Meaning: reluctantly stop fighting or arguing
    Example: My boyfriend didn’t want to watch a romantic comedy, but eventually he gave in.

When I was a child I begged my parents to get me a cat.  After years of begging, they finally gave in and brought me to the animal shelter to find a cat.  Now, my cat, Scooter, is 16 years old!


Phrasal verb: drop out

  1. drop out (ofsomething)
    Meaning: quit a class, school, etc…
    Example: Steve Jobs dropped out of Harvard and went on to become one of the most successful businessmen in the world.

Did you know that in the United States about seven thousand students drop out of school every day?  Over the course of his or her lifetime, a high school dropout  (noun) earns, on average, about $260,000 less than a high school graduate.

Phrasal verb: throw away

  1. throw something away
    Transitive, Separable
    Meaning: to dispose of (transitive, separable)
    Example: We threw away our old furniture when we moved to a new house.

I am moving to Ecuador next week, and I have to throw many things away before I go!

Some people have difficulty throwing things away.  These people are called “hoarders.” An estimated 2-5 % of people are diagnosed as having a hoarding problem.  These people must sometimes go to a therapist to stop the behavior.  Do you have trouble throwing things away?

Phrasal verb: go ahead

  1. go ahead
    Meaning: start, proceed
    Example: Are you ready?  Okay, go ahead!

Did you know that you can’t tickle yourself?  And you can’t hum while pinching your nose?  And that it’s impossible to sneeze with your eyes open?  Go ahead and try!

Phrasal verb: stick to

  1. stick to something
    Transitive, Inseparable
    Meaning: to continue doing something, limit yourself to one particular thing
    Example: You need to stick to the diet if you want to lose weight.

    I know learning English can be difficult, but stick to it!  Did you know…

  • Thomas Edison tried over 9000 experiments before creating the first successful light bulb.
  • Albert Einstein’s parents thought that he might have a learning disability.
  • Marilyn Monroe was told that she was not attractive enough to be an actress.
  • Henry Ford’s first two automobile companies failed.
  • Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for a lack of imagination and his first animation company went bankrupt.
  • Elvis Presley was told that he wasn’t good at performing and should drive a truck instead.
  • Several record companies rejected the Beatles before signing a contract.

    Good thing these now famous celebrities stuck to it!

Phrasal verb: think over

  1. think something over
    Transitive, Intransitive, Separable
    Meaning: to consider
    Example: That’s a tough question.  Can I have a few minutes to think it over?

One of my favorite stories for you to think over:
(Taken from “The 4-hour Work Week” by Tim Ferriss)

An American businessman took a vacation to a small coastal Mexican village on doctor’s orders.  Unable to sleep after an *urgent phone call from the office the first morning, he walked out to the pier to *clear his head.  A small boat with just one fisherman had docked, and inside the boat were several large yellow fin tuna.  The American *complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish.

“How long did it take you to catch them?” the American asked.
“Only a little while,” the Mexican replied in surprisingly good English.
“Why don’t you stay out longer and catch more fish?” the American then asked.
“I have enough to support my family and give a few to friends,” the Mexican said as he put them into a basket.
“But, what do you do with the rest of your time?”
The Mexican looked up and smiled.  “I sleep late, fish a little, play with my children, take a nap with my wife, Julia, and *stroll into the village each evening, where I *sip wine and play guitar with my friends.  I have a full and busy life, sir.”

The American laughed and stood tall.  “Sir, I’m a Harvard MBA and can help you.  You should spend more time fishing, and with the proceeds, buy a bigger boat.  In no time, you could buy several boats.  Eventually, you will have a fleet of fishing boats.”

He continued, “Instead of selling your catch to a middleman, you would sell directly to the consumers, eventually opening your own cannery.  You would control the product, processing, and distribution.  You would need to leave this small coastal fishing village of course, and move to Mexico City, then to Los Angeles, and eventually to New York City, where you could run your expanding enterprise with proper management.”

The Mexican fisherman thought it over for a moment and said, “But señor, how long will this all take?”

To which the American replied, “15-20 years, 25 *tops.”

“But what then, sir?”

The American laughed and said, “That’s the best part.  When the time is right you would announce an IPO and sell your company stock to the public and become very rich.  You would make millions.”

“Millions, sir?  Then what?”

“Then you would retire and move to a small coastal fishing village, where you would sleep late, fish a little, play with your kids, take a siesta with your wife, and stroll the village in the evenings where you could sip wine and play your guitar with your friends…”

Some vocabulary & expressions:
urgent (adj): very important, requiring immediate attention
clear his head: to think and organize one’s thoughts
compliment (verb/noun): to praise / a statement of praise
stroll (verb): to walk leisurely
sip (verb): to drink slowly in small amounts
tops (expression usually following an amount): no more than that amount  (ex. I want to own my own house by the time I am 30, 35 tops.)

Phrasal verb: look something up

  1.  look something up
    Transitive, Separable
    Meaning: search and find information in a reference book or database.
    Example: I’m not sure what this word means.  I’m going to look it up in the dictionary.

When learning English, it is best to look up words in an English-only dictionary.

Did you know that the average person looks something up on Google 3 times a day?  How many times a day do you use Google?

Did you know that in 2006, the word “google” was added to the dictionary?  Google is a verb meaning to search and find information using Google.

Phrasal verb: chip in

  1. chip in
    Transitive, Intransitive, Separable
    Meaning: to help with a part of something
    Example: I think everyone should chip in to buy her a gift.

A good way to chip in for a good cause and practice your English skills:

For every answer you get correct, they donate ten grains of rice through the World Food Program to help end hunger!

Phrasal verb: stand up for

  1. stand up for someone/something
    Transitive, Inseparable
    Meaning: to defend
    Example: I really appreciate it when my friends stand up for me during an argument.

Happy Martin Luther King Day!  Today is a holiday in the United States in which we honor Martin Luther King Jr., a famous civil rights activist who stood up for African Americans.