This is an activity for B2+ students to review some of the common phrasal verbs related to communication. Students use context to come up with their own definitions of the ten phrasal verbs, answer the questions and share their examples with other students.

Level: B1 +

Time: 45 minutes


  1. To familiarise students with some of the most common phrasal verbs related to communication.
  2. To write down definitions of the phrasal verbs using the context provided.
  3. To discuss students’ examples with another classmate.

Materials (Click on the worksheet below to download the PDF file):

  1. Stop beating around the bush Worksheet


  1. Write the following questions on the board and ask students to briefly discuss them in pairs: What is good communication? What are the greatest challenges to effective communication? What role does body language play in communication? Do you believe people could benefit from communication courses?
  2. Elicit some answers from students and then write the following phrasal verbs on the board: to back up, to bring up, to cut off, to open up, to point out , to rant about, to speak up, to talk down to, to tell off, to tune out.
  3. In pairs, ask students to briefly define the phrasal verbs they know or think they remember. Tell the students all the phrasal verbs are related to communication.
  4. Hand each student the Stop beating around the bush Worksheet.
  5. Individually, students look at the questions in column 2 and complete the first column, e.g. Definition/ synonym: Support. Name two people who you know would always back you up.
  6. In pairs, students compare their answers with a classmate.
  7. Correct and provide feedback.
  8. Individually, ask the students to answer the questions in column 2 using the appropriate phrasal verb, e.g. Name two things you find yourself unable to stop ranting about. Your examples: I can’t stop ranting about men. I am constantly ranting about work. Encourage students to vary the structures slightly to give them an opportunity to play with the form of the verbs.
  9. When the students have finished, ask them to switch their worksheets, read each other’s answers and circle all the examples they have in common with their classmate, underline 3 examples they want to know more about and cross out 3 examples they completely disagree with.
  10. In their pairs, students now discuss their examples. Encourage students to use the phrasal verbs in their responses. You can ask students to switch pairs again to provide them with more opportunities to practise the target language.

Fast finishers:

  1. Students choose 4 questions from the worksheet and try to predict what the teacher’s answer would be or the classmate’s that they haven’t spoken to, e.g. What two topics make you tune out in the middle of a conversation?  Karolina tunes out when people talk about board games and the weather. When they are finished they give their sentences to the teacher/classmate to check if their predictions were correct.

Related posts:

Phrasal verbs can be put off, never forgotten

Brace yourselves. Phrasal verbs r bk

How do you …?

You talkin’ to me?

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