One of the trickiest parts of learning English for students is phrasal verbs.
The meaning isn’t usually clear from the words themselves. Most phrasal verbs also have more than one meaning.
Sometimes we can separate the two words and sometimes we can’t.
Confused? Don’t worry!
We’ll help clarify some phrasal verbs with “put” in this blog post.
Here are some “put” phrasal verbs for you to help you develop your understanding of spoken and written English, and your speaking too!
Phrasal Verb “Put on” Meaning ①
“I always put on a little bit of weight over the Christmas holidays… because there's so much food to eat!”
“I always gain a little bit of weight over the Christmas holidays… because there's so much food to eat!”
“I put on some weight” = “I gain some weight”
“Put on”, in this case, means to increase your weight. You could say, “put on some weight” or “put on a few kilograms.”
Opposite of “Put on”
So, if I put on weight and get heavier, do I ‘put off’ weight and get lighter? Unfortunately not!
The opposite of “put on weight” is “lose weight.”
Phrasal Verb “Put on” Meaning ②
“When it’s cold, I always put on a hat.”
“When it’s cold, I always wear a hat.”
“Do you feel strange when you forget to put on your watch?”
“Do you feel strange when you forget to wear your watch?”
“put on an article of clothing” = “to start wearing an article of clothing”
You’ll notice from these sentences that “put on” doesn’t exactly mean the same as “wear”.
Rather, it means ‘to start wearing something’. You’ll often hear it in instructions, for example a parent might remind their child: “Put on your shoes!”.
“Do you often put make-up on?”
“Do you often apply make-up?”
Did you also notice something different in this question? Have another look if you didn’t!
With some phrasal verbs, we can separate the verb (“put”) and the particle (“on”), and put the object in the middle.
If you’re not sure, leave the object after the phrasal verb – that way, you’ll always be right!
Opposite of “Put off”
If I put on a hat when I’m cold, do I “put off” a hat when I’m hot?
The answer is no!
When removing items, we take them off.
So, you put on a hat when you leave, and take off a hat when you get home.
The opposite of “put on” is “take off.”
Phrasal Verb “Put on” Meaning ③
Can you put the kettle on?
Can you turn the kettle on?
“put on” = “turn on”
Something you’ll hear often in my house and in most of the UK – a cup of tea is always welcome.
Here, “put on” means to turn something on or make it start working.
For example: I can put the dishwasher on; I can put the washing machine on; or I could put the hot water on. We can also put some music on, or a dvd.
In this case, we usually put the machine between the two parts of the phrasal verb.
Phrasal Verb “Put in” Meaning ①
You must be putting in a lot of time to improve your English!
You must be devoting a lot of time to improve your English!
“put in” = “devote time or effort to something; invest money or resources”
Here, “put in” means to give time, energy, resources or effort.
I love it when I can see my students really putting in the effort to improve, so well done to you for reading this blog!
Today, we had a new kitchen put in. It looks great!
Today, we had a new kitchen installed. It looks great!
“put in” = “install”
Put in can also mean to install, as you’ll see in the examples above.
Well, I’m not sure about you, but after putting in all this effort to learn about phrasal verbs, it’s time to put the kettle on.
I might have to put some relaxing music on too!
Phrasal verbs are great for improving your speaking skills, but you’ll need to make sure you practice often.
Next time you’re speaking to a native speaker, see if they use any phrasal verbs with “put on” or “put in.”
And challenge yourself to use some yourself!
Contributed by Rose Lewis
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