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Welcome to the Grammar Gameshow! Test your knowledge in this crazy quiz! The presenter is a bit strange, the points don't make sense and the prizes could use some improvement, but at least the grammar is correct!

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Episode 30: Phrasal verbs and highlights

All good things must come to an end, or so they say. So as we bring this series to a close, here is a collection of our highlights, outtakes and bloopers for you to enjoy. All wrapped around some excellent phrasal verbs! Can you guess what they are? Do you know them all? What goes on behind the camera? Find out all in this episode of the Grammar Gameshow!

Watch the video and then test yourself below with our quiz

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Leslie
Hello and welcome to the Grammar Gameshow! I'm your host, Leslie! Tonight we're going to talk to you about phrasal verbs, and show you some highlights. So here are some hidden scenes and bloopers from the show that you didn't see.

Will
Oh, I'm excited!

Leslie
We know that our game show looks polished and smooth. But, even the most professional actors occasionally get caught out and let down by the most unexpected problems.

Will
And the winner is Mike with 58 points, and Jay you've lost your thingy. There you go! It's gone again! It's my birthday and I'll cry if I want to. Oh no!

Leslie
The phrasal verb caught out can mean 'be put in a difficult situation'. For example: I got caught out by the sudden shower of rain. The phrasal verb let down can mean 'disappoint by not meeting expectations'. For example: We were let down by the weather when we wanted to go to the beach. After working with Will for a very short time, it became clear that he would often come out with some very odd noises from time to time. Either from a mistake, or just for fun.

Will
At least it would have been if she hadn't been quite obviously blatant... Like many 'vodal' verbs... Next question!

Leslie
The phrasal verb come out with means 'suddenly and unexpectedly speak or say something'. But of course, he's not the only one who makes mistakes. There are always up to two other actors on the set at any one time. And they regularly slip up as much as he does.

Sal
I've got a line! And I don't know what it is!

Clarence
Hold it right there Will! This is a sting! Agent Clarence Articulates from the Bureau of Invisible Know-it-all Grammarians...

Bill
He said, he was here then. No, there then!

Didactica
Or just wha... sorry!

Nana Will
Don't test me young man, or I'll give you a 'smashk'... Sorry.

Leslie
The phrasal verb slip up means 'make a mistake'. We could also say mess up, foul up or screw up. It's always a pleasure working with actors. All that creative energy often means there's quite a lot of clowning around.

Felicia
What?

Bill
Well, it's... it's wonderful to be standing next to this gorgeous creature. I wonder if she'll go out for a cup of tea with me after the show.

Leslie
The phrasal verb clown around means 'behave in a silly or foolish way'. We could also say muck about, mess around, monkey about or goof off. And last but not least is Will in one of his less intelligent moments. Despite being a native speaker, and no matter how hard we tried, he just couldn't catch on to what we meant. Even though he was quite willing to keep plugging away.

Will
I'll give you the sentence, And you give me the question tag, won't you?

Dan
Try and go down at the end, mate. I'll give you the sentence, and you'll give me the question tag, won't you?

Will
I'll give you the sentence, and you'll give me the question tag, won't you?

Dan
Won't you!

Will
What? And you'll give me the question, won't you?

Dan
No!

Dan
You'll give me the question, won't you? No!

Will
I don't think I pronounce these right in real life! And you'll give me the question tag, won't you? You'll do it, won't you? Won't you?

Catherine
No! Won't you!

Will
You'll give me the question tag, won't you? Won't you? You'll do it, won't you?

Leslie
The phrasal verb catch on can mean 'understand or comprehend'. As for plug away, it can mean to 'keep trying hard to do something' - especially something difficult or boring. And so we've reached the end of this series of the Grammar Gameshow.

Will
This is old milk!

Leslie
Thanks for joining us. And from all of us here, it's a big good bye, see ya, adios, ciao, toodle-oo, goodbye everyone!

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Phrasal verbs

Phrasal verbs, or as they're sometimes known, multi-word verbs, are very common in English. They're formed of a main verb and a particle - a preposition or an adverb - or sometimes a main verb and two particles. There are a number of basic ideas to consider in understanding phrasal verb grammar.

Transitive or intransitive?
A transitive verb needs an object, an intransitive one does not need an object. Some phrasal verbs are transitive, some are not and some can be both.

Transitive = I broke up with him.
Intransitive = My car broke down.

Separable?
If it takes an object, can the object go between the verb and preposition, or not? An object pronoun must go between the verb and particle. Some phrasal verbs are inseperable.

Can you switch the TV off?
Can you switch off the TV?
Can you switch it off?
I broke up with him. (Inseperable)

Context
Phrasal verbs can have more than one meaning, so pay attention to the context:
To take off (remove) your shirt.
The plane took off (flew into the sky).
I need to take off (leave) or I will miss my train.
I’m tired. I need to take time off (take a holiday).

From this episode:

Catch someone out: put someone in a difficult situation
Caught out
: put in a difficult situation
He got caught out by the sudden rainstorm. He got very wet. (passive)
The teacher caught her out by her a question when she wasn't paying attention.

Let someone down: disappoint someone by not meeting expectations
Let down
: disappoint by not meeting expectations
We were let down by the weather when we wanted to go to the beach. (passive)
He doesn't mean to arrive late, but somehow he always lets me down.

Come out with: suddenly and unexpectedly speak or say something
He came out with the truth at the last moment.
I thought they weren't listening, but they suddenly came out with the correct answer!

Slip up: make a mistake. Also: mess up, foul up and screw up.
I slipped up by mentioning the surprise birthday party.
She really messed up when she locked herself out of her car.

Clown around: behave in a silly or foolish way. Also: muck around, mess about, monkey around and goof off.
Stop clowning around and get to work.
If you spent less time monkeying around and more time studying, you'd pass your exam!

Catch on: understand or comprehend
Just keep explaining and he'll catch on eventually.
I don't speak French, but I think I caught on to what they were saying to me.

Plug away: try hard to do something difficult
He kept plugging away until he learned to drive.
She's been plugging away at her PhD for years.

To do

Try our quiz to see how well you've learned today's language. 

The Grammar Gameshow Quiz

3 Questions

Complete each sentence with the correct articles. Have a look at the question hints for help!

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Downloads

Click on the links to download the audio and PDF document for this episode. 

More

That's all from Leslie and the contestants for this episode. Why not go to The Grammar Gameshow homepage to watch another one?