Phrasal verbs | Sunday Observer

Phrasal verbs

15 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.

Genius / geniuses / genie

A genius is a person of a very high level of intelligence, mental skills or ability. The film reveals Fellini’s genius.

‘Geniuses’ is the plural form.

‘Genie’ is a magical creature in old Arabian stories that will do what you want when you call it.

The plural form of ‘genie’ is ‘genii.’

Gibe / gybe / jibe

‘Gibe’ is another spelling of ‘jibe.’ It means ‘an unkind remark intended to make someone seem silly.’

Amanda is tired of his cheap jibes.

‘Gybe’ is a nautical term meaning ‘to shift from one side to the other when running before the wind.’

Gipsy / gypsy

Both words mean ‘a member of a group of people originally from India, who traditionally live and travel around in caravans and who now live all over the world. They also mean someone who does not like to stay in the same place for a long time. Although ‘gipsy’ is the usual spelling, ‘gypsy’ is widely accepted.

Glance / glimpse

A glance is a quick look.

Indra gave me a quick glance and smiled.

A glimpse is a quick look at somebody or something that does not allow you to see them clearly.

Bhadra caught a glimpse of a white car entering the premises.


‘Global’ means ‘affecting or including the whole world.’

What do you know about the global economy?

‘Global’ also means ‘considering all the parts of a problem or situation together.’

We have to take a global view of the situation.

‘Global village’ is another name for the world used to emphasize the degree to which everything is connected and each part depends on the others.

‘A globetrotter’ is someone who spends a lot of their time travelling to many countries.

Goodwill / good-will

‘Goodwill’ means ‘kind feelings towards or between people and a willingness to be helpful.’

A fund has been set up as a goodwill gesture.

Christmas is the season of goodwill.

‘Good-will’ is an adjectival phrase.

Pramod made a good-will gesture.

Got / gotten

‘Got’ is the past tense and past participle of ‘get.’

You cannot use ‘got’ on its own as a present tense meaning of ‘have’ or ‘has’ in standard English.

Malini has a pen.

She has got a pen.

Sometimes ‘got’ is used in place of another verb.

I got to Kandy without any difficulty.

It is better to say ‘I reached Kandy without any difficulty.’

‘Gotten’ is an acceptable word in American English but not in British English except in the phrase ‘ill-gotten money.’

Gourmand / gourmet

A gourmand is someone who likes to eat and drink a lot.

A gourmet is someone who knows a lot about food and wine and who enjoys good food and wine.

‘Gourmand’ is often used in a derogatory sense but ‘gourmet’ is more complimentary.

Grammar / linguistics / syntax

‘Grammar’ has been defined as the features of a language considered systematically. Linguistics is the science of language covering every aspect of it: sound, word formation, sentence structure, meaning and spelling. Syntax means ‘the pattern or arrangement of words in a sentence showing their relationship to one another. It is a branch of linguistics.

Great Britain

The term ‘Great Britain’ applies to England, Scotland and Wales, both in a geographical and in a political sense. The correct term for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The British Isles incorporate the Republic of Ireland as well, and is only a geographical term, not a political one.

Grisly / grizzly /grizzled

‘Grisly’ means ‘extremely unpleasant and involving people being killed or injured, as in a series of grisly murders.

‘Grisly’ or ‘grizzly bear’ is a very large bear that lives in the Northwest of North America.

‘Grizzled’ means ‘having grey or greyish hair as in a grizzled old man.