A phrasal verb is a multi-word verb that is usually expressed as verb + preposition. The meaning of these verbs is significantly influenced by the preposition, which is why we consider the multi-word expression as a single verb. Phrasal verbs can be tricky for two groups of students: those unlucky souls (like you) whose teachers require them to diagram sentence, and second-language learners who can become confused by the idiomatic meanings that these verbs often take on.
Here are some resources to help you (as diagrammers) identify common phrasal verbs and that might serve useful if you work with second-language learners who struggle to recognize and/or define them:
- EnglishClub.com has a nice list of 200 common phrasal verbs. You can also check out their more complete list of 1000 phrasal verbs.
- UsingEnglish.com has a very extensive list of over 2300 phrasal verbs; you can access definitions by clicking on the verb itself.
- For those struggling with the definitions of these verbs, Cambridge University Press has a nice iOS app that can help with phrasal verbs.