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English Every Day | Phrasal Verb - Brush Up On Something

Phrasal Verb: to brush up on (something)

Phrasal Verb: to brush up on (something)

Me and my friend were just having a chat about getting a new job. He wants to become a driving instructor. This was part of our conversation:

“I’m not a very good driver though,” he joked.

“Yeah, you will have to brush up on your skills!” I replied.

I said this to him because it means to improve and revise something you have already learnt, to update your skills so that they comply with a particular standard, or the skills are up-to-date. He took his driving test around 10 years ago, so he would need to update his skills, he would need to brush up on his driving skills, in order for him to pass his driving instructor test. He would need to make sure he knows all the new laws and all of the little skills you need to drive. Most drivers who took their test a long time ago probably wouldn’t pass if they had to retake their test now! They would all need to brush up on their driving skills!

Here’s another example. Imagine that you’re travelling to the greatest city in the UK, Manchester, and that you haven’t practised speaking English for a long while. You would need to brush up on your English to make sure you could communicate with people on your holiday in the UK. You would need to revise and practise your English skills. You could join a speaking group or you could ask a teacher to help you to brush up on your skills. You could listen to vloggers from Manchester on YouTube to brush up on understanding the Manchester accent!

Another example: Before making this website, I had to brush up on my web design skills because I hadn’t done this for a long, long time. So, I had to remind myself again of how to design websites.

BE CAREFUL: If you haven’t learnt a skill, you can’t brush up on it, or you can’t revise it. For example, if you are new to driving a car, you can’t brush up on your skills because you are learning a new skill. If you haven’t studied English before, you can’t brush up on your skills. You can only brush up on something that you have done before and need to refresh your skills.

Do you get it? What do you need to brush up on? Is there anything you need to brush up on?

Phrasal Verb: to chuck (something) away
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