English Language SS1


Oral English: Public Speaking

Grammatical Structures: Phrasal Verbs

A. Oral English: Public Speaking

Although there is not an examination in Oral English in which you are required to give a talk or take part in an interview, Oral English remains very important for several reasons:

a. Paper 3 of WASSCE tests oral English with a written paper of multiple choice questions worth 60 marks.

b. A great deal of communication in the modern world requires a command of Oral English. Within Nigeria it is often necessary to use English but internationally, it is essential.

Skills Focus: How to Speak in Public

When speaking English, it is good to bear in mind the following points.

1. Your voice should be of the right volume. Do not speak too loudly or too softly. If you are speaking to a group of people in quite a large room- for example, in a debate, – make sure that your voice can be heard in any part of the room. Generally, talk quietly and convincingly and people will want to listen to you.

2. Do not speak too fast or mumble your words. Many people speak too fast and can not be heard clearly.

3. Try not to feel nervous – relax. Feel confident that your listeners will be interested in hearing what you have to say. Try to smile from time to time.

4. Point 3 is particularly important if you are having a job interview – don’t try to be a know-it-all! Indicate clearly that you are willing to learn.

5. Try to read your audience psychologically in order to know if they are following or not. Get their attention if they are not.

6. If you are called on to give a public speech of some kind, it is a good idea to jot down points, and generally prepare as you would for a written examination. Never just read out your speech.


Read a novel and relate in your own words the story of an interesting novel you have read to a friend of yours who suddenly comes visiting your house.

B. Grammatical Structures: Phrasal Verbs

A phrasal verb is a verb that is combined with a preposition (at, on, over, etc.) or adverb (back, down, off, etc.), and together has its own special meaning. For example, get away means escape; and speak up means speak louder.

Some phrasal verbs retain the meaning of the original verb while some others have meaning completely different to the original verb.

Examples of Phrasal Verbs:

  • I asked them to come in.

(The phrasal verb come in means enter which is easily understood as we are familiar with the meaning of the words: come, in.)

  • The deal fell through at the last minute.

(The phrasal verb fell through means not completed successfully which is different in meaning to the verb fell.)

Every text you read is almost bound to contain a phrasal verb. For example: Mabel Segun wrote in her essay

‘As I passed by, I wondered…’

Pass by is a phrasal verb.

You need to take some care when using phrasal verbs. Our advice is for you to consult a dictionary whenever you are in doubt of the meaning of a phrasal verb. We will be discussing two sets of phrasal verbs, one with get and the other with give.

Phrasal verbs with Give

Phrasal Verbs Meaning Examples
Give away a)       To pass on something no longer wantedb)      To reveal a secret

c)       To present

a)       She gave away all her old clothesb)      When she coughed, she gave away her hiding place

c)       The visiting professor gave away the prize

Give back To return Give me back my pen – please I need it!
Give in a)       To surrenderb)      To hand in a)       When the police arrived, the bandits gave in b)      Give in your work when you are finished
Give off To produce The chemical gave off a strange smell when heated
Give out a)       To hand outb)      To stop working properly a)       We gave out flyers publicizing our passnownow websiteb)      We got into the car but the engine gave out immediately
Give over a)       To be kept for a purposeb)      To dedicate one’s self a)       The land was given over for agricultural useb)      When her mother dies, she gave her life over to the church
Give up a)       To stop doing somethingb)      To spend time

c)       To hand over

d)      To lose emotional control

a)       Everyone should give up smokingb)      She gave up her spare time to training the girls how to use passnownow.com

c)       The boy gave up his seat on the bus to an old lady

d)      She gave herself up to despair

Phrasal verbs with Get

Phrasal verbs Meaning Examples
Get about a)      To travelb)      To be known to many people a)      He got out despite his lamenessb)      She didn’t want the news to get about
Get around a)      To travelb)      To persuade a)      Although she is 80, she still gets aroundb)      Tony always managed to get around his mother
Get across To communicate I will get across to you as regards the wedding later today
Get along a)      To be friendlyb)      To make progress

c)       To go

a)      The two girls get along with each other very wellb)      How is your friend getting along?

c)       I’d better get along now

Get at a)      To criticizeb)      To imply

c)       To reach somewhere new

d)      To threaten

e)      To reach or find

a)      She is always getting at meb)      What are you getting at when you say that?

c)       I am trying to fix the machine but it’s hard to get at the back

d)      The people accused tried to get at the witnesses

e)      Sometimes it’s hard to get at the truth

Get away To escape The police allowed the thieves to get away
Get back a)      To return to a placeb)      To start something new a)      They got back in time for supperb)      Let’s get back to the main point, shall we?
Get by To have enough We have enough food to get by till the end of the month
Get down a)      To writeb)      To make someone unhappy a)      As the lecturer spoke, they got down the main pointsb)      Their poverty was beginning to get her down
Get in To enter/arrive The train got in at 8pm. They got in the train
Get off a)      To start (a journey)b)      To escape

c)       To send

d)      To finish

a)      They got off early next dayb)      The criminal got off lightly with a small fine

c)       You must get that letter off as soon as possible

d)      What time does she get off work?

Get on a)      To be friendly withb)      To continue

c)       To make progress

d)      To pass (time)

e)      To be growing old

a)      The two men got on well with each otherb)      The teacher told them to get on with their work

c)       How are they getting on?

d)      Tell them to hurry – it’s getting on

e)      My uncle’s getting on a bit now

Get out a)      To escapeb)      To become public a)      How did the cattle get out of the pen?b)      She was very angry when the news got out
Get through a)      To surviveb)      To passc)       To communicated)      To spend a)      It’s going to be hard to get through the next few daysb)      Did you get through the exam?

c)       I finally got through to her on the phone

d)      My uncle got through this wages within two days


Complete the sentences below with suitable phrasal verbs from the tables. Remember to use the correct tense forms.

1. Hooray! Our team has ……… to the finals!

2. The smell in the chemistry lab was so strong that we ……….. as soon as we could.

3. The relay team …… to a good start.

4. Do you know who is going to …… the prizes this afternoon?

5. The police surrounded the bank, but the armed robbers refused to ………

6. They tried to …….. at the back, but the police caught them.

7. Haruna said he wanted to ……. science next term, but the teacher persuaded him not to.

8. Generators always seem to ….. when they are most needed.

9. We should all …… some of our spare time to working for the community.

10. Some very religious people decide to …… all their material possessions.



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