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Posted on Feb 27, 2016

Business English – Phrasal verbs

Business English – Phrasal verbs

Phrasal verbs are normally used in SPEAKING because they are INFORMAL.  In written documents you should use their more formal equivalents.

How to learn phrasal verbs

Phrasal verbs, or multi-word verbs, are units made up of a verb plus a particle and/or a preposition.  It helps to think of the particle or preposition as a physical movement, either literally or metaphorically.  If you can visualise some kind of direction then the meaning of the phrasal verb is easier to remember.  And the meaning IS in the particle or preposition.

THINK:

get up     (↑)   (rise: I get up very early in the morning)

get down   (↓)   (depress:  this weather is getting me down)

get off    (⇑⇔⇓)  (dismount:  he got off the horse/bus/motorbike)  OR (leave, start a journey:  we need to get off by 10 o´clock tomorrow)

 

“GET” on its own has very little meaning so the difference between these phrases is in the particle/preposition.

It also helps if you can learn the phrasal verb AND the more formal equivalent together.  Learn them in context, for example, in a business situation, rather than “all phrasal verbs that go with “come” or “go”. They won´t make any sense in your head and you won´t remember them.

Read the following texts about “MY JOB” and compare the formal and informal language:

MY JOB  (phrasal verbs – informal)

My job as a personal assistant (PA) involves sorting out all the meetings, conferences and travel arrangements for my boss.  I was asked to set up a meeting between my boss and the other department heads because we urgently needed to take on new staff.  Candidates had been interviewed the previous week and a shortlist had been drawn up.  (At least 10 interviewees were turned down)  Each participant had to put forward their ideas and point out the merits of their preferred candidate.  They were advised to look over the Curriculum Vitae again and look into comments made by the referees, in order to back up some of the statements that the candidates had made.  During the meeting each department head ran through the advantages of taking on their preferred candidate.  In the end, 3 candidates were offered a position.  I hope they are flexible enough to get on in this company!!

 

 

MY JOB  (formal)

My job as a personal assistant (PA) involves organising all the meetings, conferences and travel arrangements for my boss.  I was asked to arrange a meeting between my boss and the other department heads because we urgently needed to recruit new staff.  Candidates had been interviewed the previous week and a shortlist had been prepared and written.  (At least 10 interviewees were rejected)  Each participant had to present their ideas and outline the merits of their preferred candidate.  They were advised to review the Curriculum Vitae again and investigate comments made by the referees, in order to support some of the statements that the candidates had made.  During the meeting each department head described (quickly) the advantages of employing their preferred candidate.  In the end, 3 candidates were offered a position.  I hope they are flexible enough to progress in this company!!


sort out

To arrange or organise something, or resolve a problem:

“Can you sort out the dispute in the warehouse?”

set up

To establish or organise something:

“The company was set up in 1987″

take on

To recruit or employ:

“We have taken on 2 new trainees this year”

draw up

To prepare, to form and write down:

Draw up the contract and then we can fill in the details”

turn down

To reject:

“They made us an offer but we turned them down

put forward

To present:

“She put forward her case for the deal and it was accepted! “

point out

To demonstrate, show, or outline:

“I would like to point out that there will be no discount on this order”

look over

To review:

“Please ask Mrs Jones to look over the contract before she signs it”

look into

To investigate:

“We need to look into the causes of this problem and then issue a verbal warning.”

back up

To support:

“I hope you can back up your statements because they are very serious”

run through

To read or talk about quickly:

“Please run through the quote with the client again in case they have any questions.”

get on

To progress or develop:

“You have to study if you want to get on in life.”