It may not always be necessary to use phrasal verbs, but they are a big part of using English naturally and fluently. So how do you practice them? First we need to figure out what exactly is difficult to remember about them and then find a way to isolate that and drill it in a way that we can remember. Read my blog post about remembering phrasal verbs if you haven’t already. Once you have examples that you want to practice, Anki is the perfect tool for the job.
Anki is a free, open-source software project which is designed for repetitive practice. Remember when you were first learning the language and you made vocabulary flashcards where one side said “green” and the other said “vert/grün/verde”? Anki is a program which will let you make these cards on your computer and practice them on your smartphone (the Android version is free but unfortunately the iPhone version is not–you will need a data connection to practice on your iPhone for free). The software comes in many languages and has excellent online help if you have trouble. But what should we put on these flashcards?
In my previous post, we used the example of “put up with.” Take your personalised example and put the version without the particles on the front of the card: I can’t put _____ _____ my neighbour’s noise any longer; it’s driving me mad. On the back of the card, put the complete sentence. I can’t put up with my neighbour’s noise any longer; it’s driving me mad.
Make examples for all of the phrasal verbs you want to learn and keep the flash cards on your phone. You’ll be able to easily practice any time you have 5-10 spare minutes!