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Last Lap: Verb Forms, Gerunds & Phrasal Verbs

In this article, we will be revising the concepts of Verb Forms and Gerunds and Phrasal Verbs learned thus far as per the Primary 6 English syllabus. We will practice questions to prepare ourselves for the upcoming PSLE. 

Verb forms and gerunds

A gerund is a verb transformed into a Noun. When an action becomes an idea/event/activity, then the verb is known as a gerund. It is also known as a ‘Verbal Noun’.

We can use “it” to refer to the verbal noun or gerund.


Swimming is fun. It is my favourite sport.

In this example, we are referring to the sport or activity called ‘swimming’. So, it is a Verbal Noun or Gerund.

We cannot use “it” when we use verbs.


I am swimming, it is fast. (WRONG sentence)

In this example, we are using the word swimming to refer to the actual act of moving in water: swimming. Here the word “swimming” is used as a verb. So we CANNOT use ‘it’ to refer to swimming.

Practice questions on verbs and gerunds

Let us solve a few questions on the above topics.

Question 1:

Identify the gerund in the following sentence.

Jackson, who loves running, was seen sprinting along the field.

  1. seen
  2. sprinting
  3. running 
  4. along


(3) running 

Question 2:

“You should have __________ the alien egg before placing it in the storage sac!” Carl yelled at his other new assistant, Olsoklulez.

  1. freeze
  2. froze
  3. frozen
  4. let it go


(3) frozen

Question 3:

The prisoners have not been completely __________ from the Emperor’s Psychic Hold.

  1. emaciated
  2. emancipated
  3. enunciated
  4. entrenched


(2) emancipated

Question 4:

The ninjas will attempt to __________enemy base.

  1. incriminate
  2. infestate
  3. infuriate
  4. infiltrate


(4) infiltrate

Question 5:

“See, you know it matches your eyes perfectly!” The smiling salesperson __________.

  1. suggested
  2. repudiated
  3. cajoled
  4. smiled


(3) cajoled

Phrasal verbs

Phrasal verbs are a kind of figure of speech. They are a group of words that combine a verb with an adverb, a preposition or both. Together, these words now act as a single verb, taking on a whole new meaning which is different or independent from the meaning of the individual constituent words.

Separable phrasal verbs are the ones in which the two words can be separated by putting the direct object in the middle.

If the phrasal verb is Inseparable, then we will not be able to separate the two words to put the object in between them.

Let us understand it better through a few examples:

Separable Phrasal Verb - TURN OFF. It can be used in different ways like-

  • Please turn off the TV.

In this example, the TV is the direct object and turn off is the separable phrasal verb.

  • Please turn the TV off.

In this example, the direct object the TV has been put in between the two words of the separable phrasal verb turn off. The sentence thus formed is still grammatically correct.

Let us compare it with an example of an Inseparable Phrasal Verb.
Inseparable Phrasal Verb example - LOOK AFTER. Consider the following usage of this phrasal verb.

  • I will look after your dog while you are on vacation.

Here look after is the inseparable phrasal verb and your dog is the direct object.

  • I will look your dog after while you are on vacation. (INCORRECT)

In this usage, we have tried to separable the phrasal verb look after by putting the object your dog in between. But now, the sentence is grammatically INCORRECT.

Thus, we see that we cannot separate the two words in Inseparable Phrasal Verbs.

Practice questions on phrasal verbs

Question 1:

My relatives from Luna __________ me last week while they were on Earth.

{Luna is the Moon.}

  1. called up
  2. called out
  3. called over
  4. called on


(4) called on


  • Called up - asked to be somewhere

He was called up to report for duty on Monday.

  • Called out - speak up about someone’s wrongdoing

She called out his bad habits when meeting with her friends.

  • Called over - “Get Over Here”

I called over my friends for a sleepover at my place.

  • Called on - to visit somebody

I called on my grandfather in the hospital.

Question 2:

Yesterday, I went to the hospital to __________ on my grandfather who was recovering from an asthma attack.

  1. Check up
  2. Check by
  3. Check in
  4. Check out


(3) Check in


  • Check up - to make sure someone is doing what they should be doing

I have come to check up if you are taking your medicines on time.

  • Check by - to be checked by something or someone

All the passengers at the airport are checked by a metal detector.

  • Check in - visit / indicate presence or attendance

I checked in to see my aunty recovering in the hospital.

  • Check out - look at something/leave

Check out the new store in the neighbourhood.

Question 3: 

Recently, I’ve __________ underwater basket weaving.

  1. gotten by
  2. gotten over
  3. gotten through
  4. gotten into


(4) gotten into


  • Gotten by - able to survive

We got by with just rice and lentils during the lockdown.

  • Gotten over - forget about something bad. Now no longer feeling the emotion of anger or sadness.

I have gotten over the breakup with my boyfriend.

  • Gotten through - finally understand, to reach a destination

I finally got through to her phone after 2 hours.

I have tried and finally gotten through to my brother. He now understands my point of view.

  • Gotten into - started doing something

Lately, I have gotten into the habit of getting up early in the morning.

Question 4:

Such amazing weather. I’m going to __________.

  1. sleep in
  2. sleep up
  3. sleep out
  4. sleep away


(1) sleep in


  • Sleep in - to sleep longer into the day

I intend to sleep in today after a week of overtime at work.

  • Sleep up - no such word
  • Sleep out - sleep outdoors

Can we sleep out on the terrace today to watch the stars?

  • Sleep away - not think by sleeping

He intends to sleep away his troubles by getting into the habit of drinking.

Question 5: 

She was __________ when out of the blue I asked her if I smelt like pretzels or salted caramel cookies.

  1. Taken in
  2. Taken off
  3. Taken back
  4. Taken aback


(4) Taken aback


  • Taken in - to absorb

He is taking in the scenery at the resort.

  • Taken off - to remove

He had his wet clothes taken off by the maid.

  • Taken back - to get back

He had borrowed the book from his friend. Today the friend took back the book.

  • Taken aback - to be shocked 

I was taken aback by his behaviour at the party.

Tips for preparing for the PSLE exams

When preparing for the PSLE exam, you need to focus on your shortcomings and change your training pattern, like in sports. You have been studying all the concepts over the past five years. You must focus on consolidating your concepts. You must relax and not overexert yourself.

Just revise and consolidate.

Questions on exams

Question 1:

What are exams? Give a serious answer.

  1. The greatest nightmare in the universe.
  2. A normal part of life; nothing too special
  3. Something to be dreaded and feared.
  4. A horrible way to torture people.


(2) A normal part of life; nothing too special

Question 2:

On my exam day, I should wear new spectacles/take a different route to school/consume a vitamin or supplement I have never taken.

  1. Yes, for an extra boost.
  2. Yes, to keep myself alert and on my toes.
  3. No, I should do what is familiar.
  4. No, because I am too lazy.


(3) No, I should do what is familiar.

Question 3:

I am an intelligent, talented, capable and an amazing person.

  1. YES I AM!!!!
  2. Only on Wednesdays.
  3. No, I am not.
  4. I will never be that.


(1) YES I AM!!!!

Question 4: 

I just need to give my best, reasonable effort. Whatever the outcome, I can always make the most of it. There will always be a way forward. Life is a long journey and success comes in many forms.

  1. Yes
  2. That is true
  3. Word!
  4. Indeed


All of them are true.


In this article, we have revised the concepts for Verb forms and Gerunds. We have also solved many questions on this topic to get sufficient practice.

We revised the concept of Phrasal Verbs and practised questions on the topic. Furthermore, we learned the meanings of the different phrasal verbs in the options to understand the difference between them better.

For the upcoming PSLE, you need to focus on your shortcomings and revise and consolidate your concepts.

All the best!

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