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ESL Worksheets: Multiple Meanings Phrasal Verbs

Level: ESL Intermediate
Objective: practice phrasal verbs with multiple meanings
Write the following 2 sentences on the whiteboard and read them to the class:
The taxi will pick up passengers at the airport.
After lunch I’ll pick up where I stopped on my painting.
Ask learners if both of these sentences are correct.  If learners aren’t sure, point out that both sentences are correct.  Ask learners if the expression “pick up” has the same meaning in both sentences.  Allow learners the opportunity to state the correct meanings.  Point out that in the first sentence “pick up” means to allow a person to enter a vehicle in order to be taken to a different location.  In the second sentence “pick up” means to continue working from the point where work previously ended. 
Explain that phrasal verbs are made up of a verb followed by one or two prepositions.  Phrasal verbs, like idioms, are chunks of language that have very special and unique meanings.  Also like idioms, it is best to memorize the meaning of the phrasal verb as a whole, not focus on the individual meaning of each word. 
Sometimes one phrasal verb will have several very diverse meanings. 
Many learners of English are already very familiar with numerous phrasal verbs, yet they don’t always use them in conversation.  Using phrasal verbs will help learners speak more concisely.  Using the correct phrasal verb is very important in communicating accurately.

Pair Work: Have learners work in pairs.  Give each learner one copy of the worksheet.  Instruct learners to match the meaning that best defines each phrasal verb as it is used in the examples sentences.
When the Worksheet has been completed review it with the class.  Further explain any vocabulary if needed. 
Additional Work:  Have learners work in pairs and write a sentence for each definition on the worksheet.  For example, for number 2 they would write a sentence for pick out that matches the definition “to notice” and a second sentence that matches the definition “to choose”.
ESL Worksheet: Multiple Meanings Phrasal Verbs
  • pick out (notice)
  • pick out (choose)
  • take out (go on a date)
  • take out (buy prepared food)
  • bring up (mention a topic for discussion)
  • bring up (take care of and nurture)
  • break in (make softer with use)
  • break in (enter without permission)
  • cut out (removed using scissors)
  • cut out (stopped eating or drinking something)
  • wrap up (arrange a paper covering)
  • wrap up (end)
  • get by (move past)
  • get by (survive without enough money)
  • burn out (become extremely tired)
  • burn out (stop working because of loss of power)

1. The tourist will some souvenirs at the gift shop.

2. It was easy to Berry Company’s booth at the job fair because their logo is easy to see.

3. Mary was quite busy at work this week, so she’ll fried chicken instead of cooking.

4. Bob will Mary next Friday night.

5. It isn’t easy to kids today.

6. It’s not a good idea to politics or religion at a party.

7. I have to these new shoes.

8. The criminals tried to the jewellery store, but they couldn’t because the windows have bars on them.

9. She pictures of her favourite singer from the magazine.

10. She junk food earlier this year and has lost 10 pounds!

11. Every year I a box of chocolates and give it to my wife for Valentine’s Day.

12. We got a lot done at yesterday’s meeting, so I think we’ll early today.

13. It’s so difficult to the large trucks on the highway.

14. It’s so difficult to on my low salary.

15. If Jenny doesn’t stop working so much, she’s going to .

16. If you buy the cheap light bulbs, they’ll quickly.

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ESL Worksheet Multiple Meanings Phrasal Verbs.pdf

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