One of the best things you can do to sound more natural is to grow your use of Phrasal Verbs. Yes, they are stressful and scary! But, there are some cool things they’ll help you do, like:
Speak more natural like a native speaker
Understand colleagues and peers more easily
Watch/ listen to radio/tv/podcasts in English without confusion
Be more specific in your speech
Here’s some advice - learn a few at a time, get really good at using those few and learn new ones after.
Below, you can find a perfect list for business or professional situations (i.e. office discussions, conversations with your boss or English-speaking colleagues).
1. Get ahead
Definition: To make progress, to become more successful
I’d love to enjoy this long weekend but I have to make sure I get this project done on time. Maybe I’ll stay late at work tonight to get ahead.
2. Burn out
Definition: To cause fail, wear out or become exhausted due to overwork
Did you hear Javier quit his job? I guess he was just really burnt out after working all those hours.
3. Zero in on (something)
Definition: To pinpoint; to direct all of one’s attention to someone or something
I think I’ve zeroed in on the problem. It took quite a bit of work but I found the issue.
4. Put off (something)
Definition: To postpone; to hold off
Do you put off unpleasant tasks until the last minute at the end of the day? Some complete unpleasant tasks finished first thing in the morning so the rest of the day feels more positive.
5. Spell (something) out
Definition: To make something plain or simple; To explain something in a detailed way so it is clear or easy to understand.
Carissa, thanks for coming to talk more about this. We’re interested in your proposal but we’d like to have you spell a few things out for us.
6. Think through
Definition: To think carefully about; to think about all the different parts or aspects of something to fully understand it.
You’ve certainly given us something to think through. Rebranding our company will require a lot of time, energy and investment. We will consider this proposal carefully and get back to you in a few days.
7. Roll out (something)
Definition: To introduce
Due to restructuring, the company will begin rolling out some new Human Resources policies this summer. We’ll be sure to keep everyone up-to-date.
8. Go after (someone/something)
Definition: To try to get someone or something; to work to get something
My best advice is to do everything you can to go after the job you want.
9. Go over (something)
Definition: To review
Let’s go over the agenda for today’s meeting, I want to make sure we don’t forget anything important as we have a lot to discuss today.
10. Call off (something)
Definition: To cancel
The boss called off the meeting today. Sounds like there is some emergency that came up - I hope everything is okay.
Think about these phrasal verbs from this list that are new to you. Now think about your work life- your schedule, meetings, presentations and small talk around the water cooler. Can you think of some situations you could use these in?
Written By Caitlin Chavez