Those phrases that cause trouble

19 Jun

Every language has them, those phrases that everyone knows but foreign language learners can’t understand.  Have pity on the poor student of Portuguese. She goes shopping in Rio and the clerk says “Pois não?”  How confusing!  Even if she  knows each of the words, what is the meaning of the combination?

 

In English there are many two- and three-word verbs that are confusing for the same reason. For example:

stand up to someone means to oppose or confront that person

but

stand up for someone means to support him

Do you know these other combinations with the verb stand?

stand down

stand in

stand for

To stand for something is to tolerate [suportar] it.  “I won’t stand for any more noise in this classroom.”

                                              or

 To stand for something is to respresent [simbolizar] it.   “In this movie the white hats stand for heroes.”

stand with

stand around

stand by

Do you know multi-word verbs with take?

take up

take out

take (someone) in

    To take someone in means to fool or trick [enganar] them.  “She tried to take me in with the story about needing money for her sick cat.”

take for

take down

take over

take to

You may have had problems with some of these phrases already.

They cause problems for all English learners because the meanings can’t be guessed.

In the English lessons, you’ll get to explore and practice these phrases that may have tripped you up in the past.  Contact me for more information.

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