Monday, July 25, 2011

Phrasal verbs with go

English Phrasal Verbs in Use (Cambridge University Press) lists some forty phrasal verbs based on the verb 'go'. Here are some exercises to help you learn some of them in context.
I've divided them according to the four main structural types, and then brought them together in a little story at the end.
I suggest you just plunge straight in, without looking them up first. If you want to check their meanings just use one of the dictionaries on the right. Oxford Advanced Learner's lists phrasal verbs further down the page after the main meanings and idioms. There's a link to it below.
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.

Type 1 - Intransitive

Phrasal verbs without an object

Exercise 1 - Go off or go on?

off   ·   on
1.He's gone to the Bahamas. Just upped and left without a word to anyone.
2.Don't mind me. You just go with whatever you were doing.
3.He never stops talking. He just goes and . It drives me up the wall.
4.Oh no! This milk's gone , and I really wanted a coffee.
5.That sounded like a gun going , but it was probably just a car backfiring.
6.There's something very strange going next door. Whatever can they be doing?
7.It's the practice fire alarm. It goes every Monday at this time.
8.It just went raining all afternoon, without even a break.

Exercise 2 - One word is used twice

up   ·   forward   ·   back   ·   ahead   ·   under   ·   by   ·   down
1.Time goes so fast when you're enjoying yourself.
2.The swelling on my ankle is beginning to go now.
3.The speed of computers goes exponentially every year.
4.Do you know when the schools go ? These holidays seem to go on and on.
5.He and I go a long way. We've known each other for years.
6.As they won their heats, they've gone (or through) to the knockout stage.
7.As soon as I bought shares in it, the company went (bankrupt). I doubt I'll ever see a penny.
8.If I'm not there by seven, you just go and start without me.

Type 2 - Transitive separable

Phrasal verbs that can be separated by an object.

There don't seem to be any of this type with go.

Type 3 - Transitive inseparable

Phrasal verbs that take an object, but can't be separated by it.

Exercise 3 - Some words are used more than once

about   ·   through   ·   for   ·   against   ·  
1.He goes (or around) complaining the whole time.
2.What are you having for starters? I think I'll go the prawn cocktail.
3.It went my better judgement, but I did it anyway.
6.He's been going a bad time recently, unfortunately.
5.And this time it really looks as though he's going the gold medal.
6.What's the best way to go getting a good holiday deal?
7.I'll just go that once more, just so everybody is clear.

Exercise 4 - Some words are used more than once

without   ·   with   ·   into   ·   for   ·   over
1.Just to make sure we all knew what to do, she went the plan once more.
2.If you think you are up to the job, go it! I would.
3.I'll have to go lunch today, we're so busy.
4.I don't really go intellectuals myself. They make me feel stupid.
5.That colour of lipstick goes really well your eyes.
6.He went the plan in some detail.

Type 4 - Three parters

Phrasal verbs with two particles - an adverb and a preposition.

Exercise 5 - Choose an adverb from the first box and a preposition from the second box. Some words are used more than once.

out · on · down · back · along · through · in
for · on · with
1.He's been going my sister for years. It's about time they got engaged.
2.But you promised! You can't go your promise.
3.Binge drinking! I don't go that sort of thing, myself.
4.Are your children going the egg and spoon race?
5.He's apparently gone flu again. That's the third time this year.
6.I can go that idea. So, that's agreed then.
7.I know nobody wants to do this, but we're committed now, so we'll just have to go it.

Exercise 6 - Things go together like bees and honey - complete these pairs by solving the anagrams

1.They go together like bat and (albl)
2.They go together like cup and (uecars)
3.They go together like peanut butter and (yellj) (US)
4.They go together like bacon and (gegs)
5.They go together like pencil and (rpaep)
6.They go together like fish and (hspic) (UK)
7.They go together like table and (rahci)
8.They go together like bread and (ubetrt)
9.Love and marriage go together like a horse and (gicerara)

Putting it all together

Exercise 7a - Some words are used more than once.

through · out · with · for · back · ahead · in · about
1.I had decided that I would go for a spot of gardening, but had no idea how to go it. But my 'better half', who had been a keen gardener when we started going together (we go a long time), encouraged me and told me to go anyway, and promised to help me at the weekends.
2.So when the kids went to school after the Easter break, I got out the gardening books and went them with a fine-tooth comb, looking for ideas. Finally I decided to go a water garden, and started looking for plants that would go my basic colour scheme of green and silver, with just flashes of colour here and there.

Exercise 7b - Some words are used more than once

for · on · off · down · back · out · along
3.But now it was the cricket season, my 'significant other' had better things to do. I think he had decided to go the local team captaincy or something. Anyway one thing was certain, the so-and-so went on his promise to help, and I started to go the whole idea.
4.However, one week I went with a bout of flu, and after I recovered, I really felt the need for fresh air, and went back to my gardening with a vengeance. And I made such a good job of it that I decided to celebrate. My partner didn't go with the idea at first, but finally succumbed, so we invited the neighbours round for an 'opening' party one evening in September when there was not much else going in the neighbourhood .
5.It was amazing, the fountain worked superbly, and every now and then fireworks (mostly rockets) would go , lighting up the late summer sky. I was a bit worried some of them might not go properly, and set fire to the house. But nothing untoward happened, and at the end our guests went happy, and I think, rather impressed.


  • Ex 1 - 1. off, 2. on, 3. on, 4. off, 5. off, 6. on, 7. off, 8. on
  • Ex 2 - 1. by, 2. down, 3. up, 4. back, 5. back, 6. forward, 7. under, 8. ahead
  • Ex 3 - 1. about, 2. for, 3. against, 4. through, 5. for, 6. about, 7. through
  • Ex 4 - 1. over, 2. for, 3. without, 4. for, 5. with, 6. into
  • Ex 5 - 1. out with, 2. back on, 3. in for, 4. in for, 5. down with, 6. along with, 7. through with
  • Ex 6 - ball, saucer, jelly, eggs, paper, chips, chair, butter, carriage
  • Ex 7a - in, about, out, back, ahead, back, through, for, with
  • Ex 7b - for, back, off, down, along, on, off, out, off

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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