Learn English phrasal verbs | Pick up

English phrasal verbs can be confusing to learn because they can have so many different meanings depending on the context. However, they are really useful and will make you sound much more natural when speaking English. The phrasal verb pick up is particularly useful as it has so many different meanings. Watch the video to learn more...

Listen out for examples of English phrasal verbs all around you, such as this one...

Check out this video of a young boy in the US trying to pick up girls. He seems a lot more successful than most men!

Watch Ryan Gosling try to pick up Emma Stone in Crazy, Stupid, Love...

...although Ryan Gosling says he doesn't have the confidence to use a pick-up line...

Here are some more great movie pick-up lines...

Here is Stephen Merchant from Hello Ladies trying out his best pick-up lines...

...and here are the pick-up lines you should definitely NOT use, according to How Not To Live Your Life...

Pick-up lines are also called 'chat-up lines', so here are 30 of the best movie chat-up lines in Shortlist Magazine.

So how do you remember English phrasal verbs? Tell us in the comments below...


So in this series of videos we're going to look at phrasal verbs. We're going to look at how important phrasal verbs are. We use phrasal verbs in English all the time and they help us to sound more natural. But the problem with learning phrasal verbs is there are many of them, they can be quite confusing to learn, because they seem quite similar and one phrasal verb could have many different meanings depending on the context. So we're going to look at some of the most common phrasal verbs and I'm going to show you the different meanings of each phrasal verb and show you the context for each phrasal verb and how we use them by giving you an example.

The first example we're going to use is pick up and pick up is an interesting phrasal verb because it has many different meanings.

Firstly, the literal meaning, you could pick something up. So you could pick up a book or pick up a box, which means lift it off the floor in your arms.

You could also pick up your friend, which means to meet your friend and take your friend somewhere. Very often we use pick up to mean meet someone in your car and take them in your car, but you could meet someone on foot and take them somewhere on foot as well.

You could also have a pick-up or drive a pick-up or a pick-up truck, which is a vehicle used for carrying big, heavy objects.

If you say things are starting to pick up, it means things are starting to improve. So if you say that business is starting to pick up, it means your business is going well  and you're making more money.

If you say that the weather is picking up, it means that the weather is getting better, the weather is improving.

If you say your health is picking up, this means that you are starting to feel better, to feel healthier after feeling ill.

However, if you pick up a disease or pick up an illness, this means that you become sick.

If you're driving your car and you say the car starts to pick up speed, it means that the car starts to go faster.

You can also pick up work. If you pick up work this means  you find a temporary job, a casual job, work for a short time, but this is not a permanent job.

You can pick up a language, which means to learn a language in an informal way. So not by going to school or learning from a book or a website, but by living in the country where they speak the language you want to learn and just talking to the people, listening to people. This is how you pick up a language.

You could also pick someone up in a bar. This means that you go to a bar to meet someone that you find attractive, you find sexually attractive. Normally, if you pick someone up, it means with the intention of having sex with that person. Someone who is very good at this or someone who does this a lot is known as a pick-up artist. This normally tends to be men.

If you're talking to someone and your conversation is interrupted, you could say: 'Let's pick up the conversation later'. This means 'let's carry on the conversation later', 'let's continue the conversation later'.

If the police pick someone up, this means to arrest someone, because the police believe that person has committed a crime.

If you go shopping and you find something for a very good price, you could say: ‘I picked it up for a bargain’!

And finally, if you go to a restaurant or a cafe with your friends and you offer to pay for everybody, you can say: 'I'm going to pick up the bill' or 'I'm going to pick up the check'.