Phrasal Verbs and Expressions about FOOD

Phrasal Verbs and Expressions about FOOD Do you know what a “phrasal verb” is? Grab a snack, and get ready to devour some brand new vocabulary! In this lesson, I will explain what a phrasal verb is and teach you common phrasal verbs native English speakers use to talk about food. I will teach you “pig out”, “snack on”, “pick at”, “polish off”, “live on”, “cut down on”, and many more! Watch this lesson, and then take the quiz so that you will remember everything. I’m hungry already.


Hello. My name is Emma, and today, we are going to be talking about something I love to talk about. And that is food. Okay? So today, I’m going to teach you many, many words that have to do with food. Specifically, we are going to be looking at phrasal verbs.

So your first question might be, “Emma, what is a phrasal verb?” Well, I want you to look at all of these sentences, okay? “Pick at”, “snack on”, “pig out”, “polish off”. These are all phrasal verbs. So which part of this is the verb? If you said “pick”, “snack”, “pig” — surprisingly — and “polish”, you’re right. We have verbs here, and then we have something — “at”, “on”, “out”, “off”. These words are called “prepositions”, okay? So a phrasal verb is a mix of a verb with a preposition. English has many, many phrasal verbs, and this is one of the reasons why English is sometimes difficult because if we say, “look up”, “look down”, “look around”, “look to”, “look at”, these each have a different meaning. The preposition is very important to the meaning of the word. Okay.

So I’m going to teach you various phrasal verbs that have a verb and a preposition. Let’s get started.

So the first verb I want to teach you is “pick at”. Okay? “Pick at.” So you’ll notice that the part of this word I say louder is the preposition. “Pick at.” “I’m sad, so I pick at my food.” Can you guess what this means based on the sentence you see here? When you are sad, do you eat a lot, or do you eat a little? Well, some people eat a lot. But many people, when they’re very sad, they don’t want to eat. “Pick at” means you don’t eat a lot; you eat very, very little. You might pick at your food when you are sad or when you are sick. Okay? So that is the word “pick at”. And I’ve drawn a face here because this person is maybe sick or sad, so they’re not eating a lot. They are picking at their food.

The next word we use, “snack on”. Okay? When you “snack on” something, you don’t eat a lot, but you’re not going to a restaurant and snacking on food. It’s usually you snack on, maybe, popcorn, potato chips, junk food, candy, maybe sunflower seeds. When you “snack on” something, it means you’re eating some of it, but it’s not your dinner. It’s not your lunch. You’re eating it, maybe, between meals. Okay? Because you’re a little hungry.

So for example, “Tonight, I will see a movie. At the movie theater, I will snack on popcorn.” Okay? Popcorn is not my dinner, but I will eat some popcorn. I will snack on popcorn. Okay?

So again, these two words have to do with eating. This means eating very, very little. And this means eating a little bit more.

Then, we have the next word. I love this word, “pig out”. Okay? If you know what the animal — a pig is — if you know what a pig is, you can probably guess that this word means to eat a lot. If you “pig out”, you eat a lot of something. Okay? So if you went to a restaurant and you ate five hamburgers — maybe not a fancy restaurant, but if you went to a restaurant and ate five hamburgers, you probably “pigged out”. You ate a lot. Okay?

So our example sentence, “I pigged out. On Friday, I went to a restaurant. The food was so good, I pigged out. I ate a lot.”

Then, we have this word, “polish off”. And you’ll notice there’s a smiley face here. And this is when you eat even more than “pig out”. Okay? “Polish off” is when you take all the food. There’s no food left on your plate. Everything is gone. You’ve eaten everything on your plate. You polished it off. Okay?

So for example, “Jen polished off her dinner.” It means she ate all of her dinner. There’s not even a crumb. She ate everything. She polished off her dinner. You can also use “polished off” with drinks, too. Imagine if somebody loves wine and they drink the whole bottle, okay? “They polished off the wine.” There’s no more wine left. So that means there’s none left because you ate or drank it all.