Figure it out!

The phrasal verb ‘to figure out is one of the most popular ones in English. So you need to understand it, as you will come across it very often.

Phrasal verbs are used a lot in spoken English, so to understand native speakers you need to know quite many of them.

Here is a challenge for you! You have only 30 seconds to ‘figure it out!’

So, were you able to figure the challenge out?

figure out

— phrasal verb /ˈfɪɡər/ US 

figure out something/somebody

figure something/somebody  out

1. to solve a problem or to think about something/somebody until you understand them/it

  • I’m trying to figure out a way to make this work.
  • We had to figure out the connection between the two events.
  • It takes time to figure out new software.
  • Don’t worry, we’ll figure something out. (=find a way to solve the problem).
  • We couldn’t figure her out.
  • Women. I just can’t figure them out.

figure out how/what/who/why 

  • I can’t figure out how to do this.
  • I couldn’t figure out what the teacher was talking about.
  • He was trying to figure out why the camera wasn’t working.

2. to calculate an amount or the cost of something

  •  Have you figured out how much the trip will cost?

Catch up: other meanings

Here we studied, students and I, the use of catch-up as a result of our need to know what has happened since the last time we spoke.

Now we are going to review that and look at some different meanings. Listen carefully and take notes.

— phrasal verb /kætʃ/ past tense and past participle caught /kɔt/

  • to go faster so that you reach the person or vehicle in front of you

You go on ahead. I’ll catch you up in a minute. (catch somebody up)

We left before them, but they soon caught us up again. (catch somebody up)

If you hurry, you should catch up with them at the bridge.

She is really fast, and I couldn’t catch up with her.

fig. We’re a young, growing company, and we’re trying to catch up to the competition.

  • to do something that you have not been able, or did not have time to do earlier:

The deadline’s tomorrow. How are we ever going to catch up in time?

I just want to go home and catch up on some sleep.

I have to catch up on my reading.

She’s staying late at the office to catch up with/on some reports.

I have some work to catch up on.

https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/catch-up

Long time no see! We have a lot of catching up to do.

Learning language from student’s authentic experiences and interests creates authentic learning opportunities, from their contexts, for using and developing their English skills. It’s important to create authentic opportunities for students to talk, so as not to hinder their speaking. Following that, a writing assignment, in which they communicate, synthesize their speech, and express their opinions, is important for their writing development.

So, the first thing I like to do when I meet my students is to catch up on the things that have happened to them since the last time we met. That’s what we do:

When we use the phrase, to catch up, the first meaning in the literal sense, would be to walk faster or run to catch up to someone. But Bob, in the video above, and I, with the students, use the phrase to express an important activity in our lives, that is:

As a noun it means a meeting at which people discuss what has happened since the last time that they met: I’m seeing my boss for a catch-up next week.

As a phrasal verb / kætʃ / caughtcaught it means:

  • to talk with someone you know and you have not seen for some time in order to find out what they have been doing, or to exchange news or information:

Let’s have a coffee next week and catch up.

By the time coffee came, John and Paul had already caught up a little bit.

I’ll leave you two alone – I’m sure you’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

Let’s go for a coffee – I need to catch up on all the gossip.

I’ll catch up with you another time, Kevin.

It’s always good to catch up with old friends.

  • to learn the latest news or information:

He used the train journey to catch up on/with the morning news.

https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/catch-up

What’s your idea of a happy life?

I always suggest my students that they go to TED, browse the library of talks, pick the one they like and listen to it, then work on the new vocabulary, and notice how words are combined.

So a student picked this moving and inspirational talk. Born with a rare genetic disorder called progeria, Sam Berns knew he’d be facing more obstacles in life than most. But this didn’t stop him from taking charge of his own happiness. Berns describes the three principles of the personal philosophy that allowed him to do so.

Before you watch it – watch and print the transcript here -, answer this question:

What is your idea of a happy life?

Can you list the three aspects to his philosophy? Do you agree with them?

Next, let’s look at some of the language we have been talking about in class, which we find in his talk.

“I’m Sam, and I just turned 17″.

turn verb (age/time) to become a particular age, or to reach a particular time

“So my family and I worked with an engineer to design a snare drum harness that would be lighter, and easier for me to carry”.

It is considered polite to mention oneself last in double subjects or objects.

Why don’t you and I go away for the weekend?

“I just want to give you some more information about Progeria”.

number or quantifier + more + noun

“When I can’t do something like run a long distance, or go on an intense roller coaster, I know what I’m missing out on“.

miss out phrasal verb
1 to not have the chance to do something that you enjoy and that would be good for you:
Some children miss out because their parents can’t afford to pay for school trips.
miss out on
Prepare food in advance to ensure you don’t miss out on the fun!

But instead, I choose to focus on the activities that I can do through things that I’m passionate about, like scouting, or music, or comic books, or any of my favorite Boston sports teams”.

verbs + prepositions

Now we’re kind of goofy, a lot of us are band geeks, but we really enjoy each other’s company, and we help each other out when we need to”.

kind + of = kinda e sort + of = sortaEssas palavras são usadas no geral para expressar a ideia de “um pouco” ou “meio”.

help out phrasal verb
to help someone because they are busy or have problems:
Do you need anyone to help out in the shop?

So the bottom line here, is that I hope you appreciate and love your family, love your friends, for you guys, love you Bro’s and acknowledge your mentors, and your community, because they are a very real aspect of everyday life, they can make a truly significant, positive impact.” 

the bottom line used to tell someone what the most important part of a situation is, or what the most important thing to consider is:
In radio you have to keep the listener listening. That’s the bottom line.

It could be anything from looking forward to the next comic book to come out, or going on a large family vacation, or hanging out with my friends, to going to the next High School football game”.

come out phrasal verb
if a book, record etc comes out, it becomes publicly available:
When is the new edition coming out?

hang out phrasal verb
informal to spend a lot of time in a particular place or with particular people
hang out with
I don’t really know who she hangs out with.
Where do the children hang out?

This is a friend of mine, who I look up to, Francis Collins, the director of the NIH, and this is us at TEDMED last year, chatting away“.

look up to somebody phrasal verb
to admire or respect someone:
I’ve always looked up to Bill for his courage and determination.

chat also chat away to talk in a friendly informal way, especially about things that are not important:
John and I sat up until the early hours chatting.

About four years ago, HBO began to film a documentary about my family and me called ‘Life According to Sam'”.

When the word in question is the object of a preposition and not the subject of a sentence or phrase, we should use the object pronoun.

Oh, wait, hang on a second, one more piece of advice” –- (Laughter)

hang on
used to ask or tell someone to wait [= hold on]:
Hang on! I’ll be back in a minute.

So, all in all, I don’t waste energy feeling bad for myself“. 

all in all

used for showing that you are considering every aspect of something

All in all, getting insufficient sleep is bad news.

All in all, I think it has been a successful conference.

We both thought that all in all it might not be a bad idea.

feel bad
to feel ashamed or sorry about something
feel bad about (doing) something
I felt bad about not being able to come last night.
feel bad for
I feel bad for Ann – she studied so hard for that test and she still didn’t pass.

Sam Berns died in 2014. He was a musician, Eagle Scout and junior at Foxboro High School in Massachusetts. Diagnosed at the age of two with a rare rapid-aging disease called Progeria, he spent much of his life raising awareness about the condition, eventually doing so on a national stage in the HBO documentary, “Life According to Sam.”

Okay…

So now, after having listened to this talk, has your idea of a happy life changed?

Language in use

Since the Coronavirus disease oubreak, we have been learning many words, expressions, idioms, in order to be able to  speak about the virusherd immunitysafety measures, our new routines, work from homeremote learningemotional responses… Videos, songs, poems, jokes, which refer to the pandemic, that inform, entertain or motivate us.

Four months of Blog posts, which would result in an extensive list if I added the links here. So scroll down andreaalthoff.com.br, to view them.

So now I want to show you a few more useful phrasal verbs, a verb and expressions, all in context, through this beautiful, inspiring message.

I can’t take it anymore!

This sentence is used when a person is annoyed very much, that he or she cannot mentally, emotionally, or physically deal with or adjust to something or someone anymore.

Check also I can’t bear it.

Miss

Portuguese learners like to say that there isn’t a word for “saudades” in English. But there’s not really accurate. The truth is, that there isn’t a noun that is used the same way as the Portuguese noun.

However, miss, a verb, in the context of the video, means to feel sad because you do not have something or cannot do something you had or did before:
I miss the car, but the bus system is good.

Aside from that, miss verb, means to feel sad because someone you love is not with you:
She missed her family badly.

Think to myself

And I think to myself…

That’s a verb + preposition. Think of/about is used to ask someone for their opinion: What do you think of your new school?

Pass away

To die – use this when you want to avoid saying the word ‘die’. Check the Blog post for more.

Get through

To come successfully to the end of an unpleasant experience or period of time, or to help someone do this:
I know we’re going to get through the pandemic.

Check this video for get through in context.

Go by

If time goes by, it passes:
Things will get easier as time goes by.

Get down

To make someone feel unhappy and tired:
His lack of social life was beginning to get him down.