If you’re looking for some ESL phrasal verb activities and games, then you’re certainly in the right place. We have those in abundance, along with ESL phrasal verbs worksheets, lessons and resources. Keep on reading for everything phrasal verbs ESL!
What are Phrasal Verbs?
If you need a quick primer, find out what are phrasal verbs:
A phrasal verb is an expression or phrase that consists of a verb plus something else. There are vari0us kinds, including:
Verb + Adverb: Look up
Verb + Preposition: Look after
Verb + Adverb + Preposition: Look forward to
The addition of these extra words to the main verb changes the meaning in most cases which is why it’s important for English learners to master them.
ESL Phrasal Verbs Activities
Let’s get into all the details you need to know about teaching phrasal verbs, including these top-quality TEFL games and activities.
#1: Phrasal Verbs Board Games
I love to play board games in real life, which is why I use them frequently in my TEFL classes! With a bit of practice, it’s easy to make your own to help students review just about any grammar point or vocabulary set, for both beginners and advanced students. Learn how here:
#2: Running Dictation
Try out this classic, 4-skills ESL game with your students! They’ll probably love it as much as mine do. It’s fun, engaging, interactive and makes a nice round-up activity for a Phrasal Verb ESL lesson plan.
The way it works is that students have to work together to dictate a conversation (that contains a number of phrasal verbs). Then, they have to put it in the correct order to make a coherent conversation. For a final step, you could have them circle the target vocabulary. Tell them how many they should be looking for. The first team to complete all the steps is the winner.
Try it out:
#3: Phrasal Verb Charades
Try out this fun game as a review activity. It’s just like you remembered it from when you were a kid, or at a party. Except, in this case, students have to act out phrasal verbs. There are a ton of great options for vocabulary words and phrases that are easy for students to mime, including things like:
- wake up
- give up
- try on
- work out
- back up
Learn more about adapting this popular party game for TEFL classes:
If you’re looking for dozens of dialogues that focus on phrasal verbs, have a look at this book on Amazon:
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 105 Pages - 02/28/2021 (Publication Date)
#4: Dialogue Substitution
A nice activity for a phrasal verbs lesson is dialogue substitution. It’s super versatile and can be tailored to target almost any vocabulary set or grammar point.
Students have to work together to complete a dialogue using a word bank. In this case, phrasal verbs could be used. Find out more details here:
#5: Phrasal Verb Activities
#6: Picture Prompt
A nice way to get students to use phrasal verbs in an informal way is to use this warm-up activity. Find a picture that lends itself to a number of phrasal verbs.
Then, elicit information from the students about what is happening in the picture. Whenever a student says the target vocabulary, repeat it and then write it down on the board. This can serve as a nice introduction for an ESL phrasal verbs lesson. Check it out:
#7: Post-Reading Activities
A nice way to start a phrasal verb ESL lesson is with a reading passage. Of course, set the context first and then the reading should contain a number of examples of phrasal verbs.
After reading, there are a number of activities that students can do to focus more closely on the target vocabulary. Find out some of my favourite ideas here:
Try out this challenging listening activity with your more advanced students. Find (or write) a passage that contains lots of phrasal verbs. Then, put students into pairs and read it out at a faster than normal pace.
Students have to take notes and then compare with their partners to try to recreate what they just heard. Read it again and students do the same thing. Finally, they can compare what they have with the original version. This can easily lead to more targeted practice with the specific phrasal verbs mentioned. For example, students could circle the phrasal verbs and then make a new sentence with each one of them.
#9: Copy and Guess Phrasal Verb Game
#10: ESL Taboo
I’m sure you’ve played this party game before. You have to describe a word but can’t use another set of related words. I’ve adapted it for my English learners and students have to simply describe the word using any language that they want.
It works well for phrasal verbs. Have a look:
#11: Vocabulary Auction
This is perhaps the ultimate ESL game for any sort of new vocabulary! Students have to bid on words that they think will help them make sentences. Then, they can engage in a trading round with their classmates.
In this case, I require that each sentence must contain a phrasal verb. It does take a bit of time to set up but it’s totally worth it, particularly if you’re teaching the same lesson multiple times. Check it out:
#12: Puzzle Finder
Try out this fun game with your students. Each student can get a number of puzzle pieces that contain one part of a phrasal verb. Then, they have to circulate around the class to complete the phrasal verb.
Once finished, you can use the matches for more targeted practice. For example, some writing or other kind of speaking exercise.
#13: Phrasal Verb Quiz Game
#14: Sentence Building Games and Activities
Time spent working on sentence structure in an English class will never be wasted time! This is especially true for phrasal verbs because there are separable and inseparable ones.
Separable phrasal verbs can have other words in between them. For example, He turned the radio on. “The radio” comes between the phrasal verb, “turned on.”
Inseparable phrasal verbs can’t have words in between them. For example, “fall back on,” or, “look up to.”
This is why it can be helpful to focus on making some good sentences using target vocabulary. Find out some of the best ideas:
#15: SOS Review Game
This is another one of those EFL games that can be adapted to just about anything, including phrasal verbs. It makes a nice review activity for smaller classes. For larger classes, there isn’t really enough student talking time and too many people are not actively engaged. Have a look here for more details:
#16: Conversation Starters
A nice way to get students using some of these vocabulary words is to give them a list of sentence starters that contain them. Then, students can have short conversations with a partner.
#17: Rocks Scissor Paper
I love using this game to review just about anything! In this case, use a list of phrasal verbs. Then, cut them into separate parts. For example, “look” on one piece of paper and “up” on the other.
Then, students have to circulate around the class, looking for their match. Give each student a few papers to start with and have some extras for the early finishes. When students find their match, they can do rocks-scissor-paper and the winner takes both papers and gets one point.
#18: Disappearing Text
Try out this quick review activity for the last couple of minutes of class before the bell rings. Write a sentence on the board containing the target vocab. The students say it out loud, together. Then, erase a word and students have to say the entire thing again. Keep going until no words are left.
ESL Phrasal Verb Worksheets
I’m sure you want to give your students some additional practise opportunities! Here are some of the best phrasal verbs worksheets to check out:
Phrasal Verb ESL Lesson Plans
If you’re looking for some phrasal verbs ESL lessons, have a look at the following resources:
Phrasal Verb Dialogues and Practice
- Amazon Kindle Edition
- Bolen, Jackie (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 117 Pages - 12/17/2020 (Publication Date)
If you’re looking for some additional resources for teaching ESL phrasal verbs, then you’ll want to consider picking up this book on Amazon: The Big Book of Phrasal Verbs in Use.
You’ll find dozens of dialogues containing hundreds of phrasal verbs. Then, each dialogue has a vocabulary focus and some practice exercises. It’s the ultimate way for English learners to become more proficient in vocab, with a focus on American English.
You can find the book in both digital and print formats. Pick up a copy today:
Have your Say about ESL Phrasal Verbs
Did you like these ideas for teaching phrasal verbs? Do you have an ESOL game or activity that you’d like to recommend for teaching them? Leave a comment below and let us know what you think.
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Last update on 2021-02-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API