Phrasal verbs are combinations of words from different grammatical groups that when combined indicate new meanings other than the original meaning of each individual word.
horse + around = horse around
You know what a horse is and you know the word horse is a NOUN.
You also know what ‘around’ means and that it is an adverb.
When they are combined in a sentence for example, “I just told you both to stop horsing around, I wont tell you again!” Can you work out what the speaker means? Who might the speaker be? Who do you think might be the ones being spoken to?
Well, this phrasal verb means MESSING ABOUT or BEING SILLY or BEING NAUGHTY or BEING FOOLISH or BEING MISCHIEVOUS or BEING PLAYFUL
Which of those interpretations for horsing around might fit best will depend upon WHO is saying it, to WHOM it is being said, and WHY it is said.
For example, a teacher trying to get her class to be calm and listen carefully to her instructions might say it with quite a loud voice to indicate her annoyance and that she thinks the class is being naughty. “Class, there’s too much horsing about today, I’m very disappointed!” Whereas if a boss says it to a worker who just set him up for a joke, he will probably be laughing too and only mean it in terms of “oh quit horsing about and get back to work, that’s enough fun for one day!”
The following images of animals will combine with one of the adverbs from the list below. Try and find the correct combination of ANIMAL + ADVERB and write down what you think the NEW meaning is for each phrasal verb. There are five animal photos and five adverbs.
(In a future post I will provide an explanation for each correct combination and give some more examples for you to try)
Remember the order is animal + adverb
Finally, phrasal verbs are another example of language we call idiomatic language because words are being used to express an entirely different meaning from their original meanings. They can make your speech and writing colourful, expressive and fun, so learn some and try using them. 🙂