Sunday, June 12, 2011

Random stories - Three-part phrasal verbs

Random Stories
Illustrating a language point with a story, no doubt with varying degrees of success.
This little story will give you some practice in using three-part phrasal verbs. It includes just about every three-part phrasal verb listed in English Phrasal Verbs in Use (Cambridge). If you need to brush up on your three-part phrasal verbs first, you can look at my previous set of exercises, which includes some grammatical explanation, here.

Exercise - Fill the gaps with appropriate particles from the boxes.

Click and Drop - Click on a word in the box and then click on an appropriate gap. If you change your mind, just repeat the process.

Part 1

with   ·   for   ·   up   ·   off   ·   down   ·   out   ·   against   ·   around
I first got to know Dave when I was going (1) with his sister. Where we lived was the opposite of posh, and there were a lot of people out of work, Dave being one of them. He was always looking out (2) a way of making a bob or two. Unfortunately he was the type who got mixed (3) in things very easily, and those things often spelt trouble, as they usually came (4) to doing something not entirely legal.
There was a bloke on our street Dave really looked (5) to, called Jim. Jim had come from a poor family like the rest of us, but life had been even harder for him as his mum had run (6) to Argentina (7) a double-glazing salesman when he was nine, and he'd wound (8) living with his uncle, who always looked (9) on him for some reason we could never fathom. But Jim learnt to stand up (10) himself, and what he lacked in affection he made (11) for in street savvy. He worked on the market and could sell anything to anyone, that one.
But sometimes Jim got ideas a bit beyond his station, which usually meant coming up (12) Big Pete, who was someone you really didn't want to mess (13) with. Big Pete liked to live (14) to his reputation of being a bit of a hard man, and rumour had it that he'd even done away (15) somebody once, a rumour which probably wasn't true but which suited him quite well. There weren't many people who stood (16) to Big Pete.

Part 2

at   ·   back   ·   up   ·   from   ·   out   ·   for   ·   with   ·   along   ·   on
One day Jim and Dave were in the pub and they got (1) to the subject of money. Jim came up (2) a crazy idea for robbing a local bank. He got so caught (3) with this mad cap scheme that he read up everything he could (4) safes, and sent away (5) some special tools. It would also mean brushing (6) on his safe-breaking skills.
Every time they met in the pub the conversation came (7) to the same subject, and as Jim couldn't do it alone, he put it to Dave that he should join him in his scheme. Dave said he'd get (8) to him later, admitting that he could definitely do (9) the money. In fact it didn't take much persuasion to get Dave to go (10) with the idea. He never liked to miss (11) on anything.
Now it would have jumped (12) at anybody else that this meant operating on Big Pete's patch, which was something you wanted to stay well away (13) doing. But Dave had got so caught up (14) the idea of becoming rich that there was no talking him (15) of it.

Part 3

down   ·   for   ·   back   ·   through   ·   up   ·   against   ·   away   ·   out   ·   with   ·   of
I used to try to watch out (1) Dave, it was a bit like having a younger brother. I would stick (2) for him whenever he got into a spot of bother, which was quite often. When he told me about the plan, I tried to have it (3) with him, get him to stay well out (4) it. But Dave had his pride, and it was sometimes difficult to get (5) to him without seeming to being talking (6) to him.
Anyway he said even if he agreed with me, he couldn't go (7) on his word, it would look as though he was trying to wriggle (8) of it. I don't know how I put up (9) him sometimes. But at least I made him promise that he'd look (10) for Big Pete.
Well of course they ran up (11) problems right from the start. How they had ever thought they would get (12) with it is anybody's guess. They seemed to think they could just walk off (13) the proceeds But on the very night when they were meant to do the job, Jim came (14) with a bad dose of flu and they never went through (15) it. All that fuss for nothing! But at least it got them (16) of a potentially disastrous situation. Going (17) with flu was probably never as good for someone as on that occasion.

Part 4

for   ·   on   ·   with   ·   to   ·   down   ·   up   ·   off   ·  
Since I broke it (1) with his sister, I haven't seen much of Dave. I had always gone in (2) animals, and managed to land a job in a small zoo, so I ended (3) moving away from the area. From what I've heard, so has Dave. Fed up with his sister keeping (4) at him to get a grip on his life, he finally decided to face (5) to his responsibilities and get (6) to finding a proper job, preferably one which tied in (legally) (7) his interest in cars. He also met a nice girl, and he is apparently looking forward (8) being a dad quite soon.
I've been so taken (9) with my own job that it's been difficult to catch (10) with him, but one of these days I'll see about checking up (11) his whereabouts, and maybe we'll get together in a pub somewhere and catch up (12) old times.


  • Part 1 - 1. out, 2. for, 3. up, 4. down, 5. up, 6. off, 7. with, 8. up, 9. , 10. for, 11. up, 12. against, 13. up, 14. with, 15. up
  • Part 2 - 1. on, 2. with, 3. up, 4. on, 5. for, 6. up, 7. back, 8. back, 9. with, 10. along, 11. out, 12. out, 13. from, 14. with, 15. out
  • Part 3 - 1. for, 2. up, 3. out, 4. of, 5. through, 6. down, 7. back, 8. out, 9. with, 10. out, 11. against, 12. away, 13. with, 14. down, 15. with, 16. out, 17. down
  • Part 4 - 1. off, 2. for, 3. up, 4. on, 5. up, 6. down, 7. with, 8. to, 9. up, 10. up, 11. on, 12. on

Printer friendly post

You can make a teacher copy with answers by clicking on 'Show All'. Make sure you 'Clear All' before printing student copies. Or you can print normally and the answers will appear on a separate page (Page 5). The lesson is on Pages 1-4. I strongly recommend doing a Print Preview first. You might want to change your margins and you certainly won't want to print every page.

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