An outline on how to present and
give controlled practice of nine phrasal verbs with
the particle 'up' or 'down' by Gerard Eley
For a Word
Time: 1 hour
To present and give controlled practice of nine phrasal verbs
with the particle 'up' or 'down'.
To present the grammatical rules that are necessary when using
phrasal verbs and to increase the students' awareness of what
they need to take note of when learning phrasal verbs.
The verbs have been chosen because of the common link of 'up'
meaning 'increase' and 'down' to mean 'decrease'. I have not
chosen a lexical set of phrasal verbs as this often means
choosing a set of verbs with low frequency, which would not
be appropriate at this level. In addition the main aim of
this class is not to insist on production, as avoidance of
phrasal verbs usually does not impede communication, however,
there is a need to develop the stds' awareness of phrasal
verbs for receptive purposes.
To give further practice in using bilingual and monolingual
To increase the students' knowledge of terminology in dictionaries.
To give revision practice of narrative tenses and linking
The stds have been doing a lot of grammar and skills work
and are generally progressing well. The students tend to under-utilise
phrasal verbs in both spoken and written language production.
Although this lack of use does not usually impede the stds
ability to express themselves, a working knowledge of phrasal
verbs will be very useful for receptive purposes. This focus
on phrasal verbs is part of an on-going process to increase
the stds vocabulary range by focusing on different areas.
The stds know what is meant by a phrasal verb and use some
of the more basic ones well. However, their knowledge of the
rules that encompass the use of phrasal verbs is limited and
for this reason they are reluctant to use them and have difficulty
understanding them. Some of the stronger stds may know some
of the verbs in the presentation stage but will benefit from
a greater knowledge of the mechanics.
Anticipated problems and solutions:
Dictionaries may not provide information about separability
of verbs - T directs stds to example sentences or will have
to offer solutions.
Stds are not used to looking up grammatical information in
dictionaries - Overcome by close monitoring and micro-teaching.
However, dictionary use is part of an on-going teaching programme.
There are eight people in the class who get on very well.
They are aged between mid-twenties and mid-thirties. The majority
are professional business people with a need to learn English
for their work purposes. Consequently, all are highly motivated
although attendance can be erratic due to work obligations.
Adelina: Businesswoman in her thirties. She is enthusiastic
but is often tired in class and so sometimes finds it hard
Esther: Late twenties. Again very enthusiastic but is one
of the weaker members of the group as far as grammatical accuracy
and word order are concerned. However, she does not let this
get to her.
Manuel: Late twenties. Manuel's attendance is erratic so is
not progressing as quickly as possible, but he is strong enough
to pick up the ideas if he has missed previous work on the
Angel: Mid twenties: Angel is the quietest member of the group
and is reluctant to speak in group discussions probably because
his spoken English is weaker than most. However, in pair work
and small groups he participates well.
Faust: Late twenties. One of the strongest members of the
group but again his attendance is erratic. He likes to ask
questions and suggest/check alternative ways of expressing
Juan: Early thirties: A computer engineer for Norsystemas,
he needs English for working with his counterparts in Kenya
and the Philippines. Juan is less fluent than the stronger
members of the group but participates well.
Jose: Early thirties: A colleague of Juan's. He is one of
the stronger members of the group.
Javier: Mid thirties: A strong member of the group, he likes
to ask questions and has no problems about asking for matters
to be clarified.
Pilar: A businesswoman in her late twenties. A strong member
of the group in terms of fluency and accuracy. Highly motivated
and has a good attendance.
Cuisenaire rods, coursebook, handout, pictures, board.
Stage 1 Warmer. To warm the stds
up and compensate for late arrivals
1. Stds reorganise the seating arrangements according to who
has the largest family. They have to decide how far the family
Stage 2 Presentation 1
1. T presents the new vocabulary - see the chart below - using
cuisenaire rods as a visual aid - each verb is contextualised
with a sentence or two - elicit & drill chorally &
individually. The mini-contexts would depend on your stds
& what you have been doing recently in class - try &
link it in.
2. Stds use rods as a stimulus to remember new vocabulary.
3. Controlled practice. Stds complete sentences with appropriate
4. Stds compare.
5. Feedback. If short for time, on the board.
6. T tries to elicit the common meaning of 'up' and 'down'
meaning increase and decrease.
Stage 3 Presentation 2
1. Stds read with teacher through the three main points of
the handout. T clarifies any areas of doubt or confusion and
2. Stds work in pairs or small groups to complete table on
the worksheet with the use of monolingual, bilingual dictionaries
and the example sentences.
3. Stds compare.
4. Feedback - if short for time on the board
5. Stds brainstorm phrasal verbs that they know and try to
classify them in the same way. If time activity/homework activity
6. Group feedback.
Stage 4 Revision - the pictures
are not included in the plan
The main aim of this task is to provide practice of narrative
tenses and linking expressions. The pictures have been chosen
so that the stds could use some of the vocabulary presented
in this class. However, as stated above, production of this
vocabulary is not the main aim. The pictures are of very general
situations and there is no obvious link between them. Consequently
the stds may produce very minimal stories, to overcome this
I will be encouraging them to develop the stories at the group
1. In small groups stds chose six of the pictures and decide
on a story line.
2. T monitors and micro-teaches as required.
3. Groups tell stories to other groups but withhold last 1or
2 pictures and invite the others to suggest an ending. Story
telling group gives their version of events
4. T monitors, takes note of errors and successes.
5. Group error analysis and correction.
Handout for stage 3
Phrasal Verbs - what you need to
When you learn a new phrasal verb,
you need to learn the following;
Many phrasal verbs have more
than one meaning. Consider 'cut down';
'We cut the tree down because it was dead.'
'The doctor told me to cut down my cigarettes to no
more than five a day.'
Transitive or Intransitive
Just like other verbs, phrasal
verbs can be transitive, intransitive or both. If a
verb is transitive it has to have an object, if it is
intransitive then it doesn't. You need to make a note
of this with the meaning because it can change with
For example. The first use of 'cut down' has to have
an object. This verb is transitive.
The second use of 'cut down' is intransitive. We cannot
say: 'I cut down cigarettes'
To find out if a verb is transitive or intransitive
you need to look in dictionary. Look at the following
extract from a monolingual dictionary.
cut down vb. (adv.)
1. (tr) to fell
2. (when intr., often followed by on) to reduce or make
tr and intr
tell us if the verb is transitive or intransitive. Some
dictionaries use a different notation such as 'I'
Seperable or inseperable
If the verb is transitive,
we need to know where the object can go.
For example. "I cut down the tree." is the same as "I
cut the tree down." so 'cut down' is separable we can
say "I cut it down." However, we cannot say "I cut down
If a verb is separable and we
use a pronoun then the pronoun has to go between the
verb and the particle. An example of an inseparable
verb is 'look after' We can say. "Look after the baby."
"Look after her." but we cannot say "Look the baby after."
"Look it after."
Not all dictionaries state whether a phrasal verb is
separable or not. But if there are example sentences
in the dictionary this usually helps.