May 30

Burning Out or Branching Out? Discuss Work Life with 10 Advanced Phrasal Verbs

Kristian: Hello, everyone! This is Kristian, your host of the Cambridge Advanced Speaking podcast. I’m thrilled to have you with us today as we dive into an exciting part of the English language – phrasal verbs. Yes, those little combinations of words that can completely transform your speaking skills, because they are essential building blocks for natural spoken English. Are you ready?

Kristian: Today, we’re focusing on 10 phrasal verbs that will come in handy when talking about work and careers. As we go through each one, why not think about how you could use it in your own life? It’s a magnificent way to make these phrases stick.

Kristian: Our first phrasal verb is “branch out”. Picture a tree growing new branches. It’s expanding, right? Well, that’s exactly what you’re doing when you branch out. Let me give you an example: I started as an ESL teacher, and then I branched out into building an online community of learners with the C1 Speaking Club. Pretty cool, wouldn’t you say?

Kristian: Now let’s talk about “climbing the (career) ladder”. Imagine you’re on the lowest rung of a ladder and you want to get to the top. That’s your career journey. From my own experience, I started as an English tutor working for language schools before climbing the ladder to have my own private students!

Kristian: Next, “to pitch in”. It’s all about teamwork. Imagine you’re on a football team – everyone has to pitch in to win the game, right? It’s the same at work. We all need to contribute to reach our goals.

Kristian: Moving on to “burn out”. You know that feeling when you’ve been running for a while and you just can’t go any further? That’s burnout. This might happen when you try to juggle two things at once, for example, having a job and running a family. Remember, it’s important to take care of yourself. Say no to things that are not in the top-3 of your priority list.

Kristian: “To set up” is our next phrase. Think of it as creating something new. Like when I set up the C1 Speaking Club. It was a bit daunting, but incredibly rewarding. Have you ever set up something new?

Kristian: “To carry out” is simply to complete a task. Each week, I carry out research for this podcast, ensuring I’m delivering the best content for you. Can you think of a task you’ve carried out recently?

Kristian: We have “to pull ahead” next. Ever been in a race where you suddenly surge forward and leave your competitors behind? That’s pulling ahead. Have you ever seen someone pulling ahead?

Kristian: “To fall behind”, is the opposite. Imagine being in a race and lagging behind the pack. It’s a phrase we use when we’re not keeping up with our tasks or responsibilities. We all fall behind sometimes, or let me speak for myself, I mean to say, I know I fall behind sometimes.

Kristian: Next is “to take on”. When you accept a new task or responsibility, you’re taking it on. Like when I took on the challenge of learning how to create a website during lockdown. What’s something new you’ve taken on recently?

Kristian: Finally, “to come across”. This is when you find something by chance. Like when I came across a fantastic opportunity this year. I was creating an online course, and then I came across a blog post of how to start your own online community. And that was the inception, if inception is the word I want, of the C1 Speaking Club. That’s serendipity at its best!

Kristian: And there you have it! Ten phrasal verbs to help you talk about work and careers. Try to use them in your conversations this week. I promise it’ll make your English sound more natural.

Kristian: Now, remember, the key to mastering these phrasal verbs, or any aspect of English language, is practice. And where better to practice than our C1 Speaking Club? It’s a welcoming community where you can practice speaking English in a safe, supportive environment.

Kristian: To join, all you have to do is visit Once again, that’s Can’t wait to see you there!

Kristian: Before we wrap up, let’s do a quick recap of the phrasal verbs we’ve learned today: Branch out, climb the ladder, pitch in, burn out, set up, carry out, pull ahead, fall behind, take on, and come across. Try to weave them into your conversations and see how it enhances your English proficiency.

Kristian: That’s all for today’s episode. I hope you found it enlightening and fun. Remember, mastering a language is a journey, and every step you take brings you closer to your goal. So, keep practicing, stay curious, and enjoy the process.

Kristian: Thanks for tuning in to the Cambridge Advanced Speaking podcast. Take care of yourself, and each other, and I’ll catch you in the next episode!

About the Author

As a Dutch proficient speaker of English, Kristian not only holds a grade A Cambridge C2 certificate but is also CELTA qualified. His five years of experience as a teacher and ESL exam coach, specialising in Cambridge English C1, C2, and IELTS, has equipped him with a unique blend of skills to guide and support your English learning journey.

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