Phrasal verbs and idioms

Not a day goes by without someone mentioning food. The English language is riddled with food-related idioms and phrasal verbs that we will take a look at today. Remember to sign up for your free first lesson to discuss any questions you might have with your favorite Fluentella teacher! 

What are phrasal verbs?


It is a verb and a preposition / adverb used together that usually changes the meaning of the verb


There are two and three word phrasal verbs (some are separable and some are not)


One phrasal verb could have multiple meaning which makes it hard to follow native conversations, songs or movies

Some phrasal verbs can be transitive or intransitive:

Transitive phrasal verbs:

subject + verb + preposition / adverb  +  direct object

The professor called on me.


She heated the pasta / it up.


  • Only transitive phrasal verbs can be separable
  • The object could be replaced with the pronoun ‘it’
  • If the direct object is long, the verb should stay with the preposition

Intransitive phrasal verbs:

subject + verb + preposition / adverb  +  no direct object

We headed out.


  • Inseparable phrasal verbs must stay next to each other. They never get separated.

Some phrasal verbs are always separated:

  • run it by her
  • make it up to him
  • pass it off as something else
  • ask someone back
  • have something on


Phrasal verbs: Food

What is the difference between phrasal verbs and idioms?

Phrasal verbs:

Phrasal verbs could be used as collocations, but collocations cannot be used as phrasal verbs. Most phrasal verbs are confusing because it is not possible to guess the meaning by just understanding the verbs and the preposition (the meaning changes when used together).


They are words that are often used together that has a special meaning not deducible from those of the individual words.

Why do do language learners make so many mistakes when it comes to phrasal verbs and idioms?

  • They translate directly from their first language to English 
  • They get confused with the multiple meanings or use the incorrect form or sentence structure

How can you improve?

  • Read more, listen to English music and watch English movies / series
  • Memorize the meanings of the phrasal verbs you are not familiar with and use it in conversation
  • Try to use the right form and correct yourself if you are uncertain


Idioms: Food

Test your knowledge!

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