30 day challenge! I challenge you to learn 30 phrasal verbs in 30 days: increase your vocabulary. Today we will learn phrasal verbs with CUT: cut down, cut up, cut back, cut across, cut through, cut away.
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This is the Rachel’s English 30-day challenge. Learn 30 phrasal verbs in 30 days. Jumpstart your vocabulary in 2017.
Today is day 3 and we’re studying ‘cut’ phrasal verbs. Now, there are so many phrasal verbs with ‘cut’, and they’re so complicated, that we’re breaking this into a two-part series. So today, you get part 1.
Today we’re studying ‘cut’. And there are so many phrasal verbs with ‘cut’, that I’m going to cut this video in two.
There’s a story about my brother when he was a baby, and some confusion over phrasal verbs. He heard the sound of a chainsaw outside, and he said, “What are they doing?” My mom said, “they’re cutting down a tree.” This means, cutting it at the base so there is no tree anymore. Cutting it down. Later, they were still going, he still heard the sound of the chainsaw, and he said, well, what are they doing now? My mom said, “well, now they’re cutting it up.” He said, “why would they cut it down if they were just going to cut it up?”
Well, of course, cutting a tree down is not the opposite of cutting a tree up. Cut down has a couple of different meanings. It can mean, like in the case of the tree, to make something fall down by cutting it at the base. It can also mean to reduce: I’m trying to cut down on sugars, but it’s so hard around the holidays. If you cut someone down, you’re trying to make that person look or feel stupid. The bully cut her down in front of everyone by making fun of her glasses. There’s also a phrase to cut someone down to size. That means, they think they’re better than they are, and you want them to know you don’t think they’re so great. He was so arrogant. I’m going to cut him down to size at the next meeting.
To cut up means to cut into pieces. The vegetables need to be cut up. If someone is a cutup, he or she is making jokes, being funny. I love John. He’s such a cutup. If you cut someone up, that’s not good. That means you’ve attacked him with a knife. But, it also has a figurative meaning, for when someone is very upset, hurt feelings. She’s cut up over losing her job.
To cut back has the same meaning as to cut down: it’s to reduce. We need to cut back our reliance on fossil fuels. I need to cut back calories if I’m going to lose weight.
To cut across or to cut through something is to take a shortcut, make your route a shorter distance. Let’s cut through the quad, it’s quicker that way. He cut through the woods. ‘Cut across’ can also mean to affect different groups: News of the merger cut across all the departments: Everyone, even those people in separate departments who maybe didn’t usually get along, felt worried about the merger. ‘Cut through’ can also mean to slice something: the knife cut through the rope easily. That can also be used figuratively: his words cut through my heart.
Cut away means, in video, to change to a different scene. For example, cut away to people laughing. If you cut something away, that means you remove it, with a knife or a scissors or something like that. Cut away the fat before cooking the chicken.
Okay, so that was cut down, cut up, cut back, cut across, cut through, cut away. Tomorrow you’ll learn cut in, cut into, cut off, and cut out.
The word CUT is pronounced with the K consonant sound, the UH as in BUTTER vowel, and the T. Kk, touch the back of the tongue to the soft palate and release, cu-. For the UH vowel, relax everything, uh, , cu-, let the resonance of the voice fall low, uh, down here. Uh, cu-. The pronunciation of the T sound depends on the word after it. If the next word begins with a vowel, make that a Flap T, like in ‘cut across’. Cut a-, cut a-, cut a-. Just bounce the tongue against the roof of the mouth, don’t stop the air, cut a-, cut across. If the next word begins with a consonant, then a Stop T will sound great here, like in the phrase “cut back”. Cut back, cut, stop the air, cut back, cut back. You don’t release the T, you don’t hear a T sound. What you hear is an abrupt stop, the the next word. Cut back, cut back.
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This 30-day challenge is leading up to a phrasal verbs course that will be available in my online school on February 1. Rachel’s English Academy is a collection of courses focusing on English conversation, pronunciation, and listening comprehension. You will understand Americans better, and speak better English, with these courses. Visit RachelsEnglishAcademy.com to sign up and get started today.
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