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  • Writer's picturearniebrucecooper

Don't "freak out" About Phrasal Verbs

Are you freaking out about phrasal verbs? Don't worry, you're not alone! In this blog post, I'll explain what phrasal verbs are and why they're important, without causing you to have a panic attack.

So, let's dive into it! Phrasal verbs are just verb + preposition combinations that create a new meaning. And here’s the thing: they’re closer to slang than regular verbs so it takes time to really master them--but there’s no need to flip out, right? In fact, they're a super common part of everyday English, so you've probably been using them without even realizing it. But if you want to improve your fluency in English, it's important to know and use phrasal verbs correctly.

As a tech professional, you might come across phrasal verbs in your work, especially when communicating with colleagues or clients. Here are some examples:

§ Automate away: to use technology or automation to replace or eliminate a job or task. For example, "The new software will automate away many of the manual tasks that were previously done by employees."

§ Scale up: to increase or expand a product or service to meet growing demand. For example, "We need to scale up our server capacity to handle the increased traffic."

§ Iron out: to resolve or fix a problem or issue. For example, "We need to have a meeting to iron out the details of the project plan."

§ Suss out: to investigate or figure out a solution or answer to a problem or issue. For example, "We need to suss out the best strategy to optimize the website for search engines."

§ Drill down: to analyze data or information in more detail to find the root cause or underlying issues. For example, "We need to drill down into the data to understand why the website traffic is dropping."

In most cases, you can find synonyms for these verbs. But to truly express yourself in the most precise way, you’ll opt for the phrasal verb. Getting the hang of these constructions will not only improve your communication skills, but will also help you understand and be understood by your colleagues and clients.

If you want to dig deeper into the phrasal verb universe—and believe me, with thousands of phrasal verbs, it is a universe—then consider enrolling in my upcoming Maven course.

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