In today’s episode, Lindsay interviews Alex Bricker from ESL with Purpose.

Alex specializes in teaching phrasal verbs and real English to non-native English speakers.

Did you know that phrasal verbs are 30% of a native English speaker’s vocabulary?

Listen in on today’s episode and learn new vocabulary using the word fill.

About Alex Bricker from ESL With Purpose

Today, Lindsay’s guest is Alex Bricker.

Alex Bricker has a You Tube channel called ESL with Purpose.

Lindsay asks Alex why he wanted to be an English teacher.

Alex shares that in college he met so many people from different backgrounds.

The diversity he got exposed to with the friends he made opened an opportunity for him.

Some of the students would ask him to help them with their English.

He loved the experience of sharing his expertise in English while he also learned about their different cultures.

Alex mostly focuses on teaching phrasal verbs.

He says that the majority of conversations between native English speakers are made up of phrasal verbs.

He has seen a need for more focus on this because of the scarcity of learning materials out there that specialize in phrasal verbs.

Phrasal Verbs Are 30% of Our Conversation

According to Alex, 30% of a native English speaker’s vocabulary is made up of phrasal verbs.

Phrasal verbs are so vital in the English language that you can hear them everywhere.

You can hear them in the news and even politicians use them in their speeches.

In today’s episode, Alex uses flashcards as an aid to teaching about phrasal verbs.

There are other similar cards that you can use if you’re interested.

You can search for “Phrase it game” or “Phrase It” on Amazon if you want to use these flashcards in your own classroom.

Here are examples of phrasal verbs from Alex and Lindsay where they share the definition and differentiate each one from the other.

Phrasal Verbs with “Fill”

  • Fill up

Alex shares that this can be confusing for others because it can sound like “fill out” or “fill in.”

Native English speakers often speak so fast and sound like they are combining words together.

Fill up means to add a liquid or a volume of fluid of some kind to something.

Lindsay says that when she hears “fill up” she thinks of a gas station.

This is common to say fill up your car’s gas tank. Another way to use it is in a restaurant where a waiter can ask you if you’d like to refill your drink.

You then say “yes sure, fill up my water please.”

Through the conversation, Lindsay mentions bottomless coffee at diners in America.

She asks how Alex feels about them.

Alex loves coffee and he loves to go to these places that have good quality coffee beans.

  • Fill In

Fill in can be used in two ways.

The first way is when you are filling in a line in a document. It can either be filling in your name, address, or providing answers on a test.

You use the phrasal verb “fill in” which means to fulfill a certain or small portion in a document.

The second definition of “fill in” is to substitute for something.

This works in a scenario when you are sick and can’t go to work, you can ask a colleague to fill in for you.

You would say “Hey, could you feel in for me?”

Lindsay asks Alex if the listeners should focus on learning just “fill in” or “fill in for me” to better understand how to use this.

Alex recommends memorizing using “fill in for me” because it would set you apart from others and this is a common way that native English speakers use this phrase.

  • Fill Out

Fill out means completing an entire document.

In contrast to ‘fill in’ where you just fulfill a portion of a document, “fill out” is used to say you are completing the full document or form.

This can also be used to say fill out an assignment or homework, website pop-up forms, and many more.

Another definition that Alex shares about fill out is that you can use it as an adjective.

As an example, he shares that during the holidays, people celebrate and attend parties and feasts.

You can fill up on too much food and your waistline will fill out.

In this scenario, fill out is used to describe getting fat or heavy around the mid-section.

  • Bonus: Giveaway and Sign Up

Since Alex mentioned website pop up forms, he mentions a bonus phrasal verb which is related to giveaways.

Website pop-up forms often advertise giveaways.

They will offer freebies and ask you to sign up for something so you can have the chance to win the giveaway.


Remember, 30% of native English conversations are phrasal verbs.

So make sure you learn the right way to use these phrasal verbs to bring your English skills to a higher level and talk like a native English speaker.

If you’d to hear more content about phrasal verbs from Alex Bricker, head to his Youtube channel: ESL With Purpose.

He has a lot of free lessons online.

He has a 8-week course called English On The Street: Learn American English Online focusing on phrasal verbs.

This is available in Udemy.

You can also go to his website:

Go ahead and take charge of elevating your English speaking skills with the resources we provided you in the episode today.

What phrasal verb do you hear all the time?

Share it in the comments down below and help other listeners learn from you as well.

Alex Bio:

After years of teaching ESL, Alex found a need to develop a tool to help English language learners through the use of phrasal verbs called Phrase It. Often an overlooked aspect of English language learning, the use of phrasal verbs form a critical piece or constructive glue that enhances fluency like a native English speaker. Although there are over 5,000 phrasal verbs in English, learning the most common ones can make a difference in understanding news headlines, reading articles, speaking and listening at the grocery store, getting a loan for a business, paying the bills, and a whole range of survival and business skills.

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