Yesterday, I posted my latest Doceri video about phrasal verbs. Looking back, though, I realize that I should have provided a little bit more of an explanation, so here's a quick rundown of what to remember about phrasal verbs:
a) Phrasal verbs may be complex, but they're not LONG. The maximum number of words you can have in a phrasal verb is three words. That makes it easier to learn and use all the parts together. Don't fixate on the meaning of the individual pieces. That won't help you. Trying to translate the individual words just shows that you can't work in English. If you can learn the name of a brand (e.g. Coca-Cola - two words) or someone's name (Angelina Jolie, which has two words), you can learn phrasal verbs.
b) You do not need to know every possible phrasal verb that exists in English. If I told you that you had to memorize the credit card numbers of everyone you know, you would think that I'm crazy. If I told you to sit in the Metro and learn the names of every single station in the Metro system, you'd think I was mad. So why do students feel that they have to learn every single possible phrasal verb? Don't drive yourself crazy with that idea. So....
c) Focus on the phrasal verbs that you need to use in your everyday life. Don't try to learn phrasal verbs that you won't use. If you're a secretary, you probably don't feel a great need to learn terms related to neuroscience. It's the same thing, here.
I'll post more Doceri presentations about phrasal verbs in the future; but, for now, if you can remember those three key ideas, you'll give yourself a lot less stress and frustration.