Phrasal Verbs: Showing off the Olympic opening ceremony

Thousands of phrasal verbs in English can be difficult to understand. But sometimes you can guess their meaning from the context of the sentence. Learning and using phrasal verbs can really make the difference between sounding like a good English speaker and a VERY good user of English. Used correctly, phrasal verbs can get you high marks in Academic English exams, like IELTS, for instance. The phrasal verbs are in bold in the text and then explained below.   As the London Olympics draws ever closer, the daily news stories about them are hotting up. Today the world got its first glimpse of what the organisers have dreamt up for the Opening Ceremony. If you think back to previous Olympics, then the phrase, ‘opening ceremony’ probably conjours up images of ridiculously huge fireworks, doesn’t it? Well, it turns out that LOCOG (London Organising Commitee for the Olympic Games) have gone off in a completely different direction. A few eyebrows may have been raised today as they showed off the plans to what essentially looked like a big garden. The brainchild who came up with it all is Danny Boyle, the director who walked off with the best film Oscar for Slumdog Millionaire. He teamed up with the director of Billy Elliot, Stephen Daldry to create the plans. You would have thought that super creative guys like these would have blown everyone away with their ideas, but this seems a little bit underwhelming, if you ask me. OK, yes it ticks the boxes of some well known cliches about England (green fields, calm summer life with people playing cricket on the village green) but does that really tell the true story the urban, multi-ethnic reality of the UK?     However, I think that the organisers are holding something back and the complete plans will not all be revealed until the actual show. Surely, there have got to be some fireworks involved somewhere! Surely some A-list British rock star will show up to add a bit of pazazz to the proceedings. It’s going to turn everyone off and be a big anti-climax if a global audience sits down in front of their tellys epecting the greatest show on Earth and they only get to see some anonymous members of the British public taking a cup of tea in a quaint English country garden. I think that there’s going to be a few surprises in store.   Listen to what the SGI teachers have to say about the build-up to The London Olympics in one of our natural conversation podcasts.


to draw closer
sth gets nearer and nearer / happening very soon
to hot up
to get more exciting
to dream up
to invent / have a new idea / to create
to conjour up
to raise a memory
to turn out
the true meaning of sth becomes known
to go off
to choose. Here it means to choose an unexpected way of doing things
to show off
to reveal / to display the best things
to come up with
to invent / have a new idea / to create
to walk off with
to unexpectedly win sth
to team up
to collaborate with sb / to work together with sb
to blow sb away
to make sb amazed at sth fantastic
to hold sth back
to keep sth secret / to not reveal everything
to show up
to appear (perhaps unexpectedly)
to turn sb off sth
to make sb bored or uninterested in sth
to sit down
Here: to have a seat and wait for sth to happen

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