Phrasal verbs in action: TV
Here are 5 very commonly used phrasal verbs which you can use when talking about watching TV.
- to switch on/off = another way to say ‘turn on/off’ (start/stop) the TV
EXPLANATION: You can SWITCH ON the TV or your laptop to watch a TV series. If a channel isn’t good then you SWITCH OVER to another one. When a show is quite boring you can also mentally SWITCH OFF which means you stop paying attention to it.
EXAMPLE: “I always switch over when the adverts come on”.
QUESTION: Do you ever SWITCH OFF (mentally) when you’re watching TV? Why? Does it make you actually SWITCH OFF the TV?
- to tune in = to listen to / watch a particular broadcast (radio or TV) at a specific time
EXPLANATION: In the days before the internet, we had to TUNE IN at a specific time/day to watch our favourite show on a particular channel. Now you can watch a lot of shows online whenever you want. Nevertheless, if you want to watch a live show, you still need to TUNE IN at the exact time that it is being broadcast.
EXAMPLE: “I always tune in to watch my favourite drama series on Monday night at 9pm”.
QUESTION: Do you have a favourite show on TV that you always TUNE IN to?
- to catch up on = to watch episodes of a show that you have missed
EXPLANATION: When we are busy, we often don’t have time to watch the latest episodes of our favourite shows. Then, when we do have time, we spend an hour or several hours CATCHING UP ON what we’ve missed: to find out what’s happened to our favourite characters in a drama series; see who has won a talent show or discover new facts in documentaries.
EXAMPLE: “I missed the last two episodes of The Crown so I’ll have to catch up (on them) before the final one next week.”
QUESTION: Which TV show haven’t you watched in a while? How long would it take you to CATCH UP ON all the episodes you’ve missed?
- to binge on = to watch lots of episodes or even a complete series at one time
EXPLANATION: Netflix and similar online TV services allow us to watch every episode of a series in one sitting. For example, even if you’ve never seen Game of Thrones, you could still watch every episode from each season by bingeing on one series at a time.
EXAMPLE: “I love to binge on the old series of Friends because I missed a lot of the episodes the first time they were shown”.
Is there a series you have not seen that you’d love to BINGE ON? How many episodes or series would you watch all at once?
- to star in = to play a main character in a TV show or film
EXPLANATION: Famous names sell films and TV shows but sometimes new shows begin with unknown actors and actresses who STAR IN them. In time, they become more well-known and then rise to fame and become a household name.
EXAMPLE: “The actors who starred in Friends were not very well known at first, but they soon became very famous as the show became one of the most popular US sitcoms of all times.”
If you were to create a new TV show or film about your life, who would you choose to STAR IN it?
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