Phrasal verbs | Sunday Observer

Phrasal verbs

8 January, 2023

This is a guide to help learners to communicate easily in both speech and writing through a better understanding of the English language.

Flaunt / flout

‘Flaunt’ means ‘to show your money, success, or beauty so that other people notice it.’

The rich usually flaunt their wealth.

‘Flout’ means ‘to deliberately disobey a law without trying to hide what you are doing.’

Some trade unions openly flout the law.

Flautist / flutist

Both words refer to someone who plays the flute. ‘Flutist’ is now used mainly in the United States. In Britain ‘flautist’ is the more usual form.

Flesh / fleshy

‘Flesh’ is the soft part of the body of a person or animal that is between the skin and the bones. It also means the soft part of a fruit or vegetable that can be eaten.

Anoma cut the melon and scooped out the flesh.

‘Fleshy’ means ‘having a lot of flesh.’

Sam was a man of medium build with a fleshy neck.

Flotsam and jetsam

‘Flotsam’ means ‘broken pieces of wood and other things from a wrecked ship, floating in the sea or scattered on the shore.’

‘Jetsam’ means ‘things that are thrown from a ship and float on the sea towards the shore.’

The phrase ‘flotsam and jetsam’ means ‘the debris thrown out from a ship which either float on the water (flotsam) or is cast up on shore (jetsam). Figuratively, it is also applied to the outcasts of society.

For / fore

The prefix ‘for’ means ‘away, off, to the uttermost and implies a negative, prohibitive force. ‘Forbid, forget, forlorn or forfeit’ are examples.

The prefix ‘fore-‘means ‘before, in front or superior.’ Foreword, forecast and foreman are examples.

Forbear / forebear

‘Forbear’ means ‘not to do something you could or would like to do because you think it is wiser not to do it.’

Susila decided to forbear from interfering with her husband’s work.

‘Forebear’ means ‘someone who was a member of your family a long time in the past.’ Usually we use the plural form ‘forebears.’

Today, we use both forms – forbears and forebears – for the noun meaning ancestors.

Juliet’s forebears were of noble birth.

Forceful / forcible

A forceful person expresses his opinions very strongly and clearly and people are easily persuaded by them.

John gained a reputation as a forceful member of the newly-formed political party.

‘Forcible’ means ‘done using physical force.’

There were signs of forcible entry into the building.

Forego / forgo

‘Forego’ is another spelling of ‘forgo’ which means ‘to not to do something pleasant or enjoyable.’

Because of the nature of my work, sometimes I have to forgo lunch.

For ever / forever

Both words mean ‘for all future time.’

Sandra wanted that moment to last forever.

Former / latter

Grammarians consider these terms are rather clumsy. Therefore use ‘first, second or third or the last mentioned.’

Forward / forwards

‘Forward’ or ‘forwards’ means ‘towards a place or position that is in front of you’

The crowds surged forwards.

I took another step forward.

Fragile / frail

‘Fragile’ means ‘easily broken or damaged.’

Babies have fragile bones.

Today the country’s economy is fragile.

Someone who is frail is weak and thin because they are old or ill.

You can be physically or mentally frail.

Funeral / funereal

A funeral is a religious ceremony for burying or cremating someone who has died. Donald’s funeral will be held at St. Mary’s church.

‘Funereal’ means ‘sad, slow, and suitable for a funeral.’

Why did you choose such funereal colours for the hall?

Gaol / jail

Both words mean prison. However, ‘jail’ is now the more common term. ‘Gaol’ is also pronounced like ‘jail.’