Did you know that English phrasal verbs are also idiomatic expressions?
It’s not commonly accepted knowledge, yet in reality any phrasal verb – ‘to bring about’, ‘to carry over’, ‘to calm down’ and thousands of others – possess the main characteristic of idiomatic expressions:
You can’t replace a word within the phrasal verb without losing its meaning!
Let’s take today’s phrasal verb – ‘to get across’.
It means ‘to communicate successfully’ and it’s a very short and handy way to describe a successfully communicated message (or lack of thereof):
“Sometimes even native speakers struggle to get the message across if they speak with different accents.”
Remember I told you that you can’t replace a word within the phrasal verb without losing its meaning?
Now, imagine that you’ve forgotten what words this particular phrasal verb consists of, and you only have a vague recollection of it. You remember the ‘across’ part, but you’re not sure of the first word. You’re trying to get it right, however, so you’re saying – “I don’t think Sarah made the message across during the meeting, everyone was looking just as confused as I was!”
Don’t get me wrong (‘to get wrong’ is also a phrasal verb, by the way!), I’m not saying you shouldn’t be trying to say things you’re not 100% sure of.
In fact, improvisation is an important process of your English improvement – you just have to make sure you ask people to correct you and tell you the proper way of using this or that particular phrasal verb. Also, native English speakers will understand you from half-word so you needn’t worry about not being understood.
Having said all this, you should still make the effort and look up the proper phrasal verb ‘to get across’ because ‘to make across’ just doesn’t sound right. Only the exact words ‘GET ACROSS’ carry your intended meaning ❗
So, watch the video above to hear me using the phrasal verb ‘to get across’ and you’ll definitely have a better idea of how it’s used in real life conversations!
Chat to you soon,