May 22

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Let’s Learn 10 Advanced Phrasal Verbs to Grow Your Vocabulary

You’re listening to Cambridge Exam Coach, a podcast for ambitious learners of English. This is the show where you can prepare for your Cambridge exam at the same time as improving your English.

I’m Kristian, your host, today it’s Saturday 22 May 2021, and in this episode we’re going to be building our vocabulary together. To be more specific, we’re going to do an exercise with phrasal verbs. Are you ready? Here we go!

Hello dear dear listeners, how are you doing? I hope you’re doing great. This is another episode of the podcast in which we’re going to be practicing together, and as usual the aim here is to work on improving your English in specific ways, focusing mainly on vocabulary first and then pronunciation as well.

Before we start, let me give you three easy steps to get the most out of this episode:

Step 1: Go to the transcript of this episode to get the exercise. You can find the link to the transcript in the description of the podcast.

Step 2: Do the exercise. It won’t take you more than 7 minutes.

Step 3: Listen to this episode to check your answers and build your vocabulary. As always, I’m giving you plenty of example sentences and additional information, so there’s much more useful information for you in this episode than just the correct answers.  

OK, so today we’re going to be talking about 10 advanced phrasal verbs. I’ll start reading out loud the sentences with the correct answers, so I assume you did the exercise. And yes, I know that assumption is the mother of all screw-ups, but hey, what else can I do?  

Anyway, it’s totally up to you. Naturally, you can decide in which way you want to use this podcast.

Do the Exercise

All right, in the following exercise you have to complete the sentences with the following phrasal verbs:

find out
hang around
go on
look through
come in for
bear out
turn towards
throw away
taken on
embark on
lead away

Example: In order to find out who his family were, he had to travel to see his cousins in Russia.

1 Some celebrities have …………………… a lot of criticism, for setting a bad example to young people.

2 The movie star was led away by the police while passersby …………………… in amusement.

3 After experimenting with surrealism, he ………………………..more conventional painting.

4 It was after talking to his grandfather that he …………………… the journey to discover who he was.

5 Why are so many people obsessed with what goes on in the lives of the rich and famous?

6 He spent his twenties …………………… the cafés of Paris looking for people to buy his work.

7 He was dismayed to discover that most of the family photographs had been …………………… by his uncle.

8 While studying music, he was …………………… as a junior clerk in an insurance firm.

9 The fact that ballet is becoming more popular is …………………… by audience figures.

10 Journalists have even started to …………………… the rubbish outside celebrities’ houses.

Check your Answers

Let’s start with the example sentence:

In order to find out who his family were, he had to travel to see his cousins in Russia. 

1. If you find something out, you learn something that you did not already know, especially by making a deliberate effort to do so.

A cliffhanger makes you want to watch the next episode to find out what’s going to happen.
As soon as we found this out, we took action to solve the problem. 
He began his new life by reading everything he could find out about being an English teacher.

2. If you find someone out, you discover that they have been doing something dishonest.

My wife’s face was so grave, I wondered for a moment if she’d found me out. 

Some celebrities have come in for a lot of criticism, for setting a bad example to young people.

Come in for: to receive blame or criticism

The president came in for a lot of criticism after his speech about Covid-19.

The movie star was led away by the police while passersby looked on in amusement.

lead (someone or something) away: to guide someone or something in a direction away (from someone or something else).

After the judge issued the sentence, the bailiff (an official in a court of law who keeps order) led the defendant away. 
I dug a path that would lead the rain water away from the construction site.

After experimenting with surrealism, he turned towards more conventional painting.

1. To rotate one’s head or body in the direction of someone or something.

I turned toward the odd noise, but I couldn’t see anything there.
Please turn toward me when I’m speaking.

2. To cause or force someone or something to veer or rotate in the direction of someone or something. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between “turn” and “toward.”

She turned the boat toward shore when the dark storm clouds began to form on the horizon.
The teacher turned the child toward the front of the class.

3. To accept or embrace someone or something.

I turned toward religion when I was at my lowest, and it ended up saving my life.
I’ve always turned toward fantasy novels when I’ve needed to escape from the stresses of real life.

It was after talking to his grandfather that he embarked on the journey to discover who he was.

If you embark on something new, difficult, or exciting, you start doing it.

He’s embarking on a new career as a teacher.
After leaving Russia, Elizabeth embarked on a new venture with Kristian.

You can embark on a campaign, plan, career, course, policy, process, program, project, series, venture.
And when someone embarks on a ship, they go on board before the start of a journey.
Synonyms: go aboard, climb aboard, board ship, step aboard

We embarked on a voyage to the Caribbean.

Why are so many people obsessed with what goes on in the lives of the rich and famous?

1. (of a light, electricity, etc.) start working.

The street lights went on

2. continue or persevere.

I can’t go on protecting you

He spent his twenties hanging around the cafés of Paris looking for people to buy his work.

If you hang around somewhere, you wait or spend time somewhere, usually for no particular reason:

Bono spent most of his youth hanging around the streets of Dublin.
Many teenagers are just hanging around the mall after school.

He was dismayed to discover that most of the family photographs had been thrown away by his uncle.

1. to get rid of something you do not want any more:

US consumers throw away around 100 billion plastic bags annually.

2. to waste a skill or opportunity:

You’ve spent three years working hard in college – don’t throw it all away.

While studying music, he was taken on as a junior clerk in an insurance firm.

1. to employ someone:

I was taken on as a teacher by a language school in 2018.

2. to compete against or fight someone:

The environmental protesters took on the government and won.

The fact that ballet is becoming more popular is borne out by audience figures.

To bear something or somebody out. To support the truth of something:

His version of events just isn’t borne out by the facts. In actual fact, his story is full of untruths.

Journalists have even started to look through the rubbish outside celebrities’ houses.

1. To read something quickly:

I’ve looked through some catalogues.

2. If you look through a group of things, you examine each one so that you can find or choose the one that you want.

Peter starts looking through the mail as soon as the door shuts.

3. If you say that someone looks through another person, you mean that they look at that person without seeming to see them or recognize them, for example because they are angry with them or are thinking deeply about something else.

What are you thinking about? You’re looking right through me?

The end!

Don’t Forget to Check Out Instagram and Clubhouse

Alright, that’s a wrap! As ever, I hope this has been both useful and interesting for you and that you’ve enjoyed listening to this episode.

If you have any questions, thoughts, or feedback, you can respond via email or in the comment section of the transcript. I read and respond to every email or comment. 🙂

Before we finish, let me just point out that you can also find loads of specific C2 exam content on our Instagram page, and naturally you can also join our sessions on Clubhouse. The weekly schedule for these sessions is posted in the email newsletter and on Instagram.

And last but not least, I’d like to tell you about a project I’ve started together with Elizabeth Bedrik. The project is called ‘The Road to Proficiency’ and our goal is to document Elizabeth’s six-month journey to proficiency.

According to the Cambridge level test that you can find on the Cambridge English website, Elizabeth’s current level of English is B2/C1. I think that’s fairly accurate, though I do think that her reading and listening skills are advanced.

If you want to improve your English and become proficient just like Elizabeth, then do join us on our exciting journey!

You can join us on Clubhouse, where we organise rooms which are scheduled every week on Tuesday and Thursday at 4pm CET, In those sessions we’ll be covering a range of activities. Not only will we practice with help from old C2 exams, but we’ll also cover other topics such as like motivation, idioms, phrasal verbs, collocations and so on. Simply put: we’ll talk about every topic under the sun that can help Elizabeth pass the C2 exam in December.

As you can hear, I’m absolutely delighted that Elizabeth has committed herself to this challenging project, and I can’t wait for you to join us! The last thing I want to say about this project is that we have an Instagram account. You can follow The Road to Proficiency project on Instagram @theroadtoproficiency.

OK, that’s it. For now I want to wish you a pleasant day (or goodnight).

And as always, take care of yourself, and each other, alright?

Speak to you soon, bye bye!

About the author 

Kristian

Kristian is from The Netherlands, but he lives in Prague, Czechia. He is a CELTA qualified teacher who passed the Cambridge C2 Proficiency exam with grade A. When he's not working, he likes to chill out with music, podcasts or an audiobook.


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