TOEFL IBT – Phrasal Verbs & Causative Verbs

Phrasal verbs and causative verbs are both conjugated like regular verbs, but they are slightly different. Phrasal verbs are made up of two parts, the verb and a “particle,” usually a preposition. Causative verbs are used to describe an action that can cause another action.

 

Phrasal Verbs

 

Phrasal verbs consist of two parts: the verb, and a “particle,” usually one or several prepositions. Phrasal verbs change meaning based on the preposition that follows them. The meanings of some phrasal verbs are obvious (fall down) but some are idiomatic so are hard to be translated (come on). The verb part of the phrasal verb gets conjugated according to tense, and the preposition part remains the same. Frequently, words can be put between the two parts of the phrasal verb.

 

Examples

 

Here are some common phrasal verbs:

 

  • bring on – to cause something to happen
    • He brought on his own downfall.
  • call off – to cancel
    • The party was called off when the DJ canceled.
  • cheer up – to try to make someone happier
    • This big tub of ice cream should cheer you up!
  • come forward – to volunteer information about something
    • Could anyone with information about this crime please come forward.
  • cut off – to interrupt something
    • Hey, that driver just cut me off!
  • drop by – to visit for a short period of time
    • I was in the neighborhood so I decided to drop by.
  • fall apart – to break into pieces, either emotionally or physically
    • She fell apart when she was served with divorce papers.
  • fill in – to give details about something
    • Can you fill me in about the conference yesterday?
  • get back at – to get revenge on someone
    • She has wanted to get back at him for as long as I can remember.
  • give away – to hand something out for free
    • Don’t just give away your talents!
  • go out with – to go on a date with someone
    • He has been wanting to go out with her for ages.
  • hang out – to casually spend time with someone
    • Do you want to hang out at the mall after school?
  • look out – to watch out for something
    • Hey, look out for that tennis ball!
  • take out – to remove something, or to take someone on a date
    • The children took out their notebooks.
  • turn up – when something that was lost is unexpectedly found
    • I’m sure my lost earring will turn up somewhere in the house.
  • work out – to exercise
    • I try to work out four times a week, but I feel accomplished if I do it three times.

Tip:

  • If there is a verb and a preposition that you hear together quite often, it is probably a phrasal verb!

 

Causative Verbs

 

Causative verbs describe an action that causes another action. A causative verb is followed by an object (something or someone) and an infinitive. These verbs are conjugated according to tense, just like regular verbs. There are six different ways of using causative verbs.

 

Examples

 

If someone does something for you but you don’t say who this person is:

HAVE/GET

SOMETHING

DONE

He got

his hair

cut.

I had

my car

inspected.

 

If someone does something for you and you say who the person is:

HAVE/GET

SOMEONE

DO SOMETHING

The teacher had

the students

write an essay.

I had

the electrician

fix the TV.

 

If you persuade someone to do something:

GET

SOMEONE

DO SOMETHING

I finally got

them

to do their homework.

She got

her neighbor

to babysit tonight.

 

If you force someone or something to do something for you:

MAKE

SOMEONE/SOMETHING

DO SOMETHING

Don’t make

him

work too hard.

I made

her

go to the doctor.

 

If you allow someone to do something or you allow something to happen:

LET

SOMEONE/SOMETHING

DO SOMETHING

Why would you let

that

happen?

I let

the sauce

burn.

 

If you help someone do something:

HELP

SOMEONE

DO SOMETHING

Can you help

me

with my homework?

I hope this helps

you

understand better.

 

Tip:

  • Here are other causative verbs besides what we discussed above:
    • allow, permit, force, require