Phrasal Verbs Tricks & Tips Day 1

Phrasal Verbs Tricks & Tips Day 1


What are phrasal verbs?

Generally, phrasal verbs are mainly used in spoken English and informal texts. ( Phrasal verbs are mostly used in an informal conversation, the less the informality, the less is the use of phrasal verbs.) Phrasal verbs generally consiste of a verb and a particle(preposition, adverb). Partilce can change the meaning od the verb completely. For example:

  • look up – consult a reference book (look a word up in a dictionary)
  • look for – seek (look for her ring)
  • look forward – anticipate with pleasure (look forward to meeting someone)

There are no general rules that can explain the meaning of phrasal verbs. You can, atmost, look them up in a dictionary and study their meanings.

A phrasal verb is a verb like pick upturn on or get on with. These verbs consists of a basic verb + another word or words. “Phrase” is basically formed by two or three words that make up a phrase – which is why these are called “phrasal verbs”. But a phrasal verb is still a verb. Look is a verb. Look up is also a verb – a different verb. Phrasal verbs do not have the same meaning and their behavior is grammatically different. One should treat each and every phrasal verb separately, and learn it like any other verb. Look at the following examples. It can be clearly seen that there are three types of phrasal verbs formed from a single-word verb:

verbdefinitionexample
single-word verblookdirect your eyes in a certain directionYou must lookbefore you leap.
phrasal verbverb + adverblook upsearch for and find information in a reference bookYou can look upthe word in a dictionary.
verb + prepositionlook aftertake care ofWho is looking after the baby?
verb + adverb + prepositionlook forward toanticipate with pleasurelook forward tomeeting you.

Phrasal Verb: VERB + ADVERB

The structure of this type of phrasal verb is:

verb+adverb

These phrasal verbs can be:

  • transitive (direct object)
  • intransitive (no direct object)

Look at these examples of transitive and intransitive::

meaningexample sentence
direct object
transitiveput offpostponeWe will have to put offthe meeting.
turn downrefuseThey turned downmy offer.
intransitiveget uprise from bedI don’t like to get up.
break downstop workingHe was late because his car broke down.

Separable

When this type of phrasal verb has a direct object, we can usually separate the two parts. For example, “turn down” is separable. We can say: “turn down my offer” or “turn my offer down“. Look at these example sentences:

tickThey turned down my offer.
tickThey turned my offer down.

However, if the direct object is a pronoun, we have no choice. We must separate the two parts of the verb and insert the pronoun. Look at these examples with the verb “switch on”. Note that the last one is impossible:

tickJohn switched on the radio.
tickJohn switched the radio on.
tickJohn switched it on.
crossJohn switched on it.
Separable or inseparable?
Many dictionaries tell you when a phrasal verb is separable. If a dictionary writes “look (something) up”, you know that the phrasal verb “look up” is separable, and you can say “look something up” and “look up something”. It’s a good idea to write “sthg/sby” as appropriate in your vocabulary book when you learn a new phrasal verb, like this:

  • get up
  • break down
  • break sthg off
  • turn sthg/sby down

This tells you if the verb needs a direct object (and where to place it).

Phrasal Verb: VERB + PREPOSITION

This type of phrasal verb is also called a “prepositional verb“. The structure of a prepositional verb is:

verb+preposition

Because a preposition always has an object, all prepositional verbs have direct objects (ie they are transitive).

Look at these examples of prepositional verbs:

prepositional verbmeaningexample sentence
direct object
believe inhave faith in the existence ofbelieve inGod.
look aftertake care ofHe is looking afterthe dog.
talk aboutdiscussDid you talk aboutme?
wait forawaitJohn is waiting forMary.

Prepositional verbs cannot be separated. That means that we cannot put the direct object between the two parts. For example, we must say “look after the baby”. We cannot say “look the baby after”:

tickWho is looking after the baby?
crossWho is looking the baby after?

It is a good idea to write “something/somebody” in your vocabulary book when you learn a new prepositional verb, like this:

  • believe in something/somebody
  • look after sthg/sby

This reminds you that the verb needs a direct object (and where to place it).

Phrasal Verb: VERB + ADVERB + PREPOSITION

This type of phrasal verb is also called a “phrasal-prepositional verb“. The structure of a phrasal-prepositional verb is:

verb+adverb+preposition

Look at these examples of phrasal-prepositional verbs:

phrasal-prepositional verbmeaningexample sentence
direct object
get on withhave a friendly relationship withHe doesn’t get on withhis wife.
put up withtolerateI won’t put up withyour attitude.
look forward toanticipate with pleasurelook forward toseeing you.
run out ofuse up, exhaustWe have run out ofeggs.

Because phrasal-prepositional verbs end with a preposition, there is always a direct object. And, like prepositional verbs, phrasal-prepositional verbs cannot be separated. Look at these examples:

tickWe ran out of gas.
tickWe ran out of it.
crossWe ran gas out of.
crossWe ran out gas of.

It is a good idea to write “something/somebody” in your vocabulary book when you learn a new phrasal-prepositional verb, like this:

  • get on with somebody
  • put up with sthg/sby
  • run out of something

This reminds you that the verb needs a direct object (and where to place it).

Position of the Particle:

In some cases the particle is placed either after the verb or after the object.

Example:

  • Write down the word
  • Write the word down

If the object is a pronoun, however, the particle has to be placed after the pronoun (object).

Example:

  • Write it down.
  • Your photo album. Put it down
  • Your jacket. Take it off

How to Learn Phrasal Verbs

Everywhere we see are English phrasal verbs, so one of the best way to learn them is to listen them. The commonly used phrases are used most of the time in our day to day conversation. If you have ever heard a verb along with another word many times, it may be a phrasal verb.

If you are unsure of a phrasal verb or a phrase or just a verb that is being spoken along with a preposition, try looking up for them in a dictionary. Many of the dictionaries have entries for phrasal verbs. You can also look them up in the English Page phrasal dictionary, which is an excellent source. Do not forget to save the link.

Some phrasal verb meanings are obvious—like “fall down”—but some are almost like idioms since they can’t be literally translated—like “come on.” To make their learning easy, you can try grouping phrasal verbs into categories like time of day (i.e. wake up, lie down) or positive (i.e. cheer up) and negative (i.e. give up).

There are so many phrasal verbs that it might seem difficult to learn them all. But many of these phrases become natural after a while—all it takes is some repetition and practice.

How to Use Phrasal Verbs in English

Phrasal verbs are used just like verbs—anywhere they make sense!

Many times, verb and the preposition used in a phrasal verb need to be said together, like in the phrase “fall down”. In some cases, you can seperate verb and the preposition by putting some words in between them.

For example: the phrase “turn off” can be used just like that, or it can be interrupted by stating what you’re turning off. In other words, you can say “turn off the TV,” but you can also say “turn the TV off.” Both are correct!

One more thing to keep in mind about phrasal verbs is that they still are verbs. It means verb part of the phrase can be changed depending upon the tense of the sentence. So “turn off” can also be “turned off” and “turning off,” for example.

It will take you a while to get used to which phrasal verbs can be separated and which can’t, so hang in there!

What do Phrasal and Prepositional Verbs have in common and what are the differences?

Two-word verbs can be Phrasal Verbs or Prepositional Verb.

Phrasal Verbs often have a very different (idiomatic) meaning.

  • verb: look
  • adverb: in
  • Phrasal Verb: look in

1. What is the difference between a preposition and an adverb and why this distinction is important.

An object can go before or after an adverb – but it can only go after a preposition. So:

  • Phrasal Verbs can be separated
  • Prepositional Verbs must not be separated.

1.1. Phrasal Verbs

  • correct: verb + object + adverb → I switch the computer on.
  • correct: verb adverb + object → I switched on the computer.

1.2. Prepositional Verbs

  • correct: verb + preposition + object → The cat jumped on the computer.
  • incorrect: verb + object + preposition → The cat jumped the computer on.

200 common phrasal verbs, with meanings and example sentences

phrasal verbmeaningexample sentence
ask somebodyoutinvite on a dateBrian asked Judy out to dinner and a movie.
ask aroundask many people the same questionasked around but nobody has seen my wallet.
add up tosomethingequalYour purchases add up to $205.32.
backsomething upreverseYou’ll have to back up your car so that I can get out.
backsomebody upsupportMy wife backed me up over my decision to quit my job.
blow upexplodeThe racing car blew up after it crashed into the fence.
blowsomething upadd airWe have to blow 50 balloons up for the party.
break downstop functioning (vehicle, machine)Our car broke down at the side of the highway in the snowstorm.
break downget upsetThe woman broke down when the police told her that her son had died.
breaksomethingdowndivide into smaller partsOur teacher broke the final project downinto three separate parts.
break inforce entry to a buildingSomebody broke in last night and stole our stereo.
break intosomethingenter forciblyThe firemen had to break into the room to rescue the children.
breaksomething inwear something a few times so that it doesn’t look/feel newI need to break these shoes in before we run next week.
break ininterruptThe TV station broke in to report the news of the president’s death.
break upend a relationshipMy boyfriend and I broke up before I moved to America.
break upstart laughing (informal)The kids just broke up as soon as the clown started talking.
break outescapeThe prisoners broke out of jail when the guards weren’t looking.
break out insomethingdevelop a skin conditionbroke out in a rash after our camping trip.
bringsomebodydownmake unhappyThis sad music is bringing me down.
bringsomebody upraise a childMy grandparents brought me up after my parents died.
bringsomething upstart talking about a subjectMy mother walks out of the room when my father brings up sports.
bringsomething upvomitHe drank so much that he brought his dinner up in the toilet.
call aroundphone many different places/peopleWe called around but we weren’t able to find the car part we needed.
call somebodybackreturn a phone callcalled the company back but the offices were closed for the weekend.
call somethingoffcancelJason called the wedding off because he wasn’t in love with his fiancé.
call onsomebodyask for an answer or opinionThe professor called on me for question 1.
call onsomebodyvisit somebodyWe called on you last night but you weren’t home.
call somebodyupphoneGive me your phone number and I will callyou up when we are in town.
calm downrelax after being angryYou are still mad. You need to calm downbefore you drive the car.
not care forsomebody/ somethingnot like (formal)I don’t care for his behaviour.
catch upget to the same point as somebody elseYou’ll have to run faster than that if you want to catch up with Marty.
check inarrive and register at a hotel or airportWe will get the hotel keys when we check in.
check outleave a hotelYou have to check out of the hotel before 11:00 AM.
checksomebody/ something outlook at carefully, investigateThe company checks out all new employees.
check outsomebody/ somethinglook at (informal)Check out the crazy hair on that guy!
cheer upbecome happierShe cheered up when she heard the good news.
cheersomebody upmake happierI brought you some flowers to cheer you up.
chip inhelpIf everyone chips in we can get the kitchen painted by noon.
cleansomething uptidy, cleanPlease clean up your bedroom before you go outside.
come acrosssomethingfind unexpectedlycame across these old photos when I was tidying the closet.
come apartseparateThe top and bottom come apart if you pull hard enough.
come down withsomethingbecome sickMy nephew came down with chicken pox this weekend.
come forwardvolunteer for a task or to give evidenceThe woman came forward with her husband’s finger prints.
come fromsome placeoriginate inThe art of origami comes from Asia.
count onsomebody/ somethingrely onI am counting on you to make dinner while I am out.
crosssomething outdraw a line throughPlease cross out your old address and write your new one.
cut back onsomethingconsume lessMy doctor wants me to cut back onsweets and fatty foods.
cut somethingdownmake something fall to the groundWe had to cut the old tree in our yard down after the storm.
cut ininterruptYour father cut in while I was dancing with your uncle.
cut inpull in too closely in front of another vehicleThe bus driver got angry when that car cut in.
cut instart operating (of an engine or electrical device)The air conditioner cuts in when the temperature gets to 22°C.
cut somethingoffremove with something sharpThe doctors cut off his leg because it was severely injured.
cut somethingoffstop providingThe phone company cut off our phone because we didn’t pay the bill.
cut somebodyofftake out of a willMy grandparents cut my father off when he remarried.
cut somethingoutremove part of something (usually with scissors and paper)cut this ad out of the newspaper.
do somebody/ somethingoverbeat up, ransack (BrE, informal)He’s lucky to be alive. His shop was done over by a street gang.
do somethingoverdo again (AmE)My teacher wants me to do my essay over because she doesn’t like my topic.
do away withsomethingdiscardIt’s time to do away with all of these old tax records.
do somethingupfasten, closeDo your coat up before you go outside. It’s snowing!
dress upwear nice clothingIt’s a fancy restaurant so we have to dress up.
drop backmove back in a position/groupAndrea dropped back to third place when she fell off her bike.
drop in/ by/ overcome without an appointmentI might drop in/by/over for tea sometime this week.
dropsomebody/ something offtake somebody/ something somewhere and leave them/it thereI have to drop my sister off at work before I come over.
drop outquit a class, school etcdropped out of Science because it was too difficult.
eat outeat at a restaurantI don’t feel like cooking tonight. Let’s eat out.
end upeventually reach/do/decideWe ended up renting a movie instead of going to the theatre.
fall apartbreak into piecesMy new dress fell apart in the washing machine.
fall downfall to the groundThe picture that you hung up last night fell down this morning.
fall outseparate from an interiorThe money must have fallen out of my pocket.
fall out(of hair, teeth) become loose and unattachedHis hair started to fall out when he was only 35.
figuresomething outunderstand, find the answerI need to figure out how to fit the piano and the bookshelf in this room.
fill somethinginto write information in blanks, as on a form (BrE)Please fill in the form with your name, address, and phone number.
fill somethingoutto write information in blanks, as on a form (AmE)The form must be filled out in capital letters.
fill somethingupfill to the topI always fill the water jug up when it is empty.
find outdiscoverWe don’t know where he lives. How can we find out?
find somethingoutdiscoverWe tried to keep the time of the party a secret, but Samantha found it out.
get somethingacross/ overcommunicate, make understandableI tried to get my point across/over to the judge but she wouldn’t listen.
get along/onlike each otherI was surprised how well my new girlfriend and my sister got along/on.
get aroundhave mobilityMy grandfather can get around fine in his new wheelchair.
get awaygo on a vacationWe worked so hard this year that we had to get away for a week.
get away withsomethingdo without being noticed or punishedJason always gets away with cheating in his maths tests.
get backreturnWe got back from our vacation last week.
get somethingbackreceive something you had beforeLiz finally got her Science notes backfrom my room-mate.
get back atsomebodyretaliate, take revengeMy sister got back at me for stealing her shoes. She stole my favourite hat.
get back intosomethingbecome interested in something againI finally got back into my novel and finished it.
get onsomethingstep onto a vehicleWe’re going to freeze out here if you don’t let us get on the bus.
get oversomethingrecover from an illness, loss, difficultyI just got over the flu and now my sister has it.
get oversomethingovercome a problemThe company will have to close if it can’t get over the new regulations.
get round tosomethingfinally find time to do (AmE: get around to something)I don’t know when I am going to get round to writing the thank you cards.
get togethermeet (usually for social reasons)Let’s get together for a BBQ this weekend.
get upget out of bedgot up early today to study for my exam.
get upstandYou should get up and give the elderly man your seat.
give somebodyawayreveal hidden information about somebodyHis wife gave him away to the police.
give somebodyawaytake the bride to the altarMy father gave me away at my wedding.
givesomethingawayruin a secretMy little sister gave the surprise party away by accident.
givesomethingawaygive something to somebody for freeThe library was giving away old books on Friday.
givesomethingbackreturn a borrowed itemI have to give these skates back to Franz before his hockey game.
give inreluctantly stop fighting or arguingMy boyfriend didn’t want to go to the ballet, but he finally gave in.
givesomething outgive to many people (usually at no cost)They were giving out free perfume samples at the department store.
givesomething upquit a habitI am giving up smoking as of January 1st.
give upstop tryingMy maths homework was too difficult so I gave up.
go aftersomebodyfollow somebodyMy brother tried to go after the thief in his car.
go aftersomethingtry to achieve somethingwent after my dream and now I am a published writer.
go againstsomebodycompete, opposeWe are going against the best soccer team in the city tonight.
go aheadstart, proceedPlease go ahead and eat before the food gets cold.
go backreturn to a placeI have to go back home and get my lunch.
go outleave home to go on a social eventWe’re going out for dinner tonight.
go out withsomebodydateJesse has been going out with Luke since they met last winter.
go oversomethingreviewPlease go over your answers before you submit your test.
go overvisit somebody nearbyI haven’t seen Tina for a long time. I think I’ll go over for an hour or two.
go withoutsomethingsuffer lack or deprivationWhen I was young, we went withoutwinter boots.
grow apartstop being friends over timeMy best friend and I grew apart after she changed schools.
grow backregrowMy roses grew back this summer.
grow intosomethinggrow big enough to fitThis bike is too big for him now, but he should grow into it by next year.
grow out ofsomethingget too big forElizabeth needs a new pair of shoes because she has grown out of her old ones.
grow upbecome an adultWhen Jack grows up he wants to be a fireman.
handsomethingdowngive something used to somebody elsehanded my old comic books down to my little cousin.
handsomething insubmitI have to hand in my essay by Friday.
handsomething outto distribute to a group of peopleWe will hand out the invitations at the door.
handsomethingovergive (usually unwillingly)The police asked the man to hand overhis wallet and his weapons.
hang instay positive (informal)Hang in there. I’m sure you’ll find a job very soon.
hang onwait a short time (informal)Hang on while I grab my coat and shoes!
hang outspend time relaxing (informal)Instead of going to the party we are just going to hang out at my place.
hang upend a phone callHe didn’t say goodbye before he hung up.
holdsomebody/ somethingbackprevent from doing/goingI had to hold my dog back because there was a cat in the park.
holdsomethingbackhide an emotionJamie held back his tears at his grandfather’s funeral.
hold onwait a short timePlease hold on while I transfer you to the Sales Department.
hold ontosomebody/ somethinghold firmly using your hands or armsHold onto your hat because it’s very windy outside.
holdsomebody/ something uprobA man in a black mask held the bank upthis morning.
keep on doingsomethingcontinue doingKeep on stirring until the liquid comes to a boil.
keepsomethingfromsomebodynot tellWe kept our relationship from our parents for two years.
keepsomebody/ something outstop from enteringTry to keep the wet dog out of the living room.
keepsomething upcontinue at the same rateIf you keep those results up you will get into a great college.
let somebodydownfail to support or help, disappointI need you to be on time. Don’t let me down this time.
let somebodyinallow to enterCan you let the cat in before you go to school?
log in (or on)sign in (to a website, database etc)I can’t log in to Facebook because I’ve forgotten my password.
log out (or off)sign out (of a website, database etc)If you don’t log off somebody could get into your account.
look aftersomebody/ somethingtake care ofI have to look after my sick grandmother.
look down onsomebodythink less of, consider inferiorEver since we stole that chocolate bar your dad has looked down on me.
look forsomebody/ somethingtry to findI’m looking for a red dress for the wedding.
look forward to somethingbe excited about the futureI’m looking forward to the Christmas break.
look intosomethinginvestigateWe are going to look into the price of snowboards today.
look outbe careful, vigilant, and take noticeLook out! That car’s going to hit you!
look out forsomebody/ somethingbe especially vigilant forDon’t forget to look out for snakes on the hiking trail.
looksomethingovercheck, examineCan you look over my essay for spelling mistakes?
looksomething upsearch and find information in a reference book or databaseWe can look her phone number up on the Internet.
look up tosomebodyhave a lot of respect forMy little sister has always looked up to me.
makesomething upinvent, lie about somethingJosie made up a story about why we were late.
make upforgive each otherWe were angry last night, but we made up at breakfast.
makesomebody upapply cosmetics toMy sisters made me up for my graduation party.
mix somethingupconfuse two or more thingsmixed up the twins’ names again!
pass awaydieHis uncle passed away last night after a long illness.
pass outfaintIt was so hot in the church that an elderly lady passed out.
passsomething outgive the same thing to many peopleThe professor passed the textbooks outbefore class.
passsomething updecline (usually something good)passed up the job because I am afraid of change.
pay somebodybackreturn owed moneyThanks for buying my ticket. I’ll pay you back on Friday.
pay forsomethingbe punished for doing something badThat bully will pay for being mean to my little brother.
picksomething outchoosepicked out three sweaters for you to try on.
pointsomebody/ something outindicate with your fingerI’ll point my boyfriend out when he runs by.
put somethingdownput what you are holding on a surface or floorYou can put the groceries down on the kitchen counter.
put somebodydowninsult, make somebody feel stupidThe students put the substitute teacher down because his pants were too short.
put somethingoffpostponeWe are putting off our trip until January because of the hurricane.
put somethingoutextinguishThe neighbours put the fire out before the firemen arrived.
put somethingtogetherassembleI have to put the crib together before the baby arrives.
put up withsomebody/ somethingtolerateI don’t think I can put up with three small children in the car.
put somethingonput clothing/ accessories on your bodyDon’t forget to put on your new earrings for the party.
run intosomebody/ somethingmeet unexpectedlyran into an old school-friend at the mall.
run oversomebody/ somethingdrive a vehicle over a person or thingI accidentally ran over your bicycle in the driveway.
run over/ throughsomethingrehearse, reviewLet’s run over/through these lines one more time before the show.
run awayleave unexpectedly, escapeThe child ran away from home and has been missing for three days.
run outhave none leftWe ran out of shampoo so I had to wash my hair with soap.
sendsomethingbackreturn (usually by mail)My letter got sent back to me because I used the wrong stamp.
set somethinguparrange, organizeOur boss set a meeting up with the president of the company.
set somebodyuptrick, trapThe police set up the car thief by using a hidden camera.
shop aroundcompare pricesI want to shop around a little before I decide on these boots.
show offact extra special for people watching (usually boastfully)He always shows off on his skateboard
sleep overstay somewhere for the night (informal)You should sleep over tonight if the weather is too bad to drive home.
sort somethingoutorganize, resolve a problemWe need to sort the bills out before the first of the month.
stick tosomethingcontinue doing something, limit yourself to one particular thingYou will lose weight if you stick to the diet.
switchsomething offstop the energy flow, turn offThe light’s too bright. Could you switch it off.
switchsomething onstart the energy flow, turn onWe heard the news as soon as we switched on the car radio.
take aftersomebodyresemble a family membertake after my mother. We are both impatient.
takesomethingapartpurposely break into piecesHe took the car brakes apart and found the problem.
takesomethingbackreturn an itemI have to take our new TV back because it doesn’t work.
take offstart to flyMy plane takes off in five minutes.
takesomething offremove something (usually clothing)Take off your socks and shoes and come in the lake!
takesomething outremove from a place or thingCan you take the garbage out to the street for me?
takesomebody outpay for somebody to go somewhere with youMy grandparents took us out for dinner and a movie.
tearsomething uprip into piecestore up my ex-boyfriend’s letters and gave them back to him.
think backremember (often + to, sometimes + on)When I think back on my youth, I wish I had studied harder.
thinksomethingoverconsiderI’ll have to think this job offer overbefore I make my final decision.
throwsomethingawaydispose ofWe threw our old furniture away when we won the lottery.
turnsomethingdowndecrease the volume or strength (heat, light etc)Please turn the TV down while the guests are here.
turnsomethingdownrefuseturned the job down because I don’t want to move.
turnsomething offstop the energy flow, switch offYour mother wants you to turn the TV offand come for dinner.
turnsomething onstart the energy, switch onIt’s too dark in here. Let’s turn some lights on.
turnsomething upincrease the volume or strength (heat, light etc)Can you turn the music up? This is my favourite song.
turn upappear suddenlyOur cat turned up after we put posters up all over the neighbourhood.
try somethingonsample clothingI’m going to try these jeans on, but I don’t think they will fit.
try somethingouttestI am going to try this new brand of detergent out.
use somethingupfinish the supplyThe kids used all of the toothpaste up so we need to buy some more.
wake upstop sleepingWe have to wake up early for work on Monday.
warmsomebody/ something upincrease the temperatureYou can warm your feet up in front of the fireplace.
warm upprepare body for exerciseI always warm up by doing sit-ups before I go for a run.
wear offfade awayMost of my make-up wore off before I got to the party.
work outexercisework out at the gym three times a week.
work outbe successfulOur plan worked out fine.
worksomething outmake a calculationWe have to work out the total cost before we buy the house.

LIST OF PHRASAL VERBS

e.g.

account forfixed upget out of
back outkeep inmake up
deal withran afterlooked after
care aboutwatching forwork out
got on withleft offmade up
feel outmy mindjoin up
keep up withlooked uphold on
get outask afterasked for
help upkeep downhold off
died awaydrew backtook out
set inworked upthrew away

A GROUP OF PHRASAL VERBS AND THEIR MEANINGS

PHRASAL VERBMEANING
BACK
back upsupport
back outwithdraw
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
BEAR
bear downdefeat, overcome, crush
bear outcarry
bear uphave courage
bear withendure, tolerate
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
BLOW
blow outextinguish
blow upexplode
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
BREAK
break updisperse, shatter
break downfall, stop working / collapse
break in / intoenter by force
break outappear and force out escape, spread suddenly
break thro’penetrate
break offend
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
BRING
bring forthproduce
bring abouthappen
bring downfall
bring outpublish
bring upeducate, rear
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
CALL
call fordemand, wanted
call inrequest to help, summon
call offcancel
call outshout
call onto pay a short visit to a person
call atto pay a short visit to a place
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
CARRY
carry offwin, snatch
carry oncontinue
carry outexecute
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
COME
come roundrecover
come overaffected
come abouthappen, occur
come crossto meet by chance, discover
come offtake place
come onhurry
come upmove to a higher level or position
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
DROP
drop invisit
drop outdiscountinue
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
FALL
fall foradmire
fall offdecrease
fall outquarrel
fall throughfail to be successfully completed, collapse
fall uponattack
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
GET
get awayescape
get onmake progress, climb
get overovercome, recover
get roundpersuade
get throughpass
get uprise
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
GIVE
give insurrender, collapse
give outannounce
give updiscountinue
give wayyield
give awaypresent, distribute
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
GO
go aboutpreform, do
go afterchase, follow
go downto be recorded, believe will be remembered
go intoexamine, investigate
go oncontinue, hurry
go throughendure
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
HOLD
hold oncatch
hold outgive, offer
hold backwithhold
hold updelay
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
KEEP
keep backwith hold
keep downcontrol, repress
keep going oncontinue
keep oncontinue
keep toadhere to
keep it upcontinue, maintain
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
LAY
lay bysave
lay down (arm)surrender
lay down (life)sacrifice
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
LOOK
look backcontemplate, reflect
look aftertake care of
look downdespise, hate
look forto try to find / search
look intoexamine
look over intoexamine, investigate
look onconsider, regard
look outwatchful, beware
look todepend on
look up (book)scarch for, refer
look uptorespect
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
MAKE
make afterfollow
make forsetout
make awaysteal
make outunderstand
make upcompensate / invent
make fastsecure
make offrun away
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
PASS
pass awaydie
pass forconsidered as
pass offfalsely present, ignore
pass throughundergo
pass outfaint
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
PUT
put acrossnarrate
put bysave
put downcrush / write
put forthannounce
put offpostpone, delay
put onwear
put outextinguish
put throughimplement
put upstay / provide
put up withendure, tolerate
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
RUN
run acrossmeet
run afterchase, seek
run downdecline, collide, deteriorate
run outexhaust, expire, completely used up
run overoverflow
run onhurry
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
SEE
see aboutdeal
see offwitness one’s departure
see throughdetect / penetrate
see toattend
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
SET
set againstoppose
set about / onstart
set inbegin
set out / offstart
set upestablish
set towith determination, fight, active
set asidedisregard
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
STAND
stand uprise
stand bysupport, wait
stand upoppose, noticeable
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
TAKE
take downwrite
take outextract
take afterresemble
take indeceive
take onfight with, assume
take upoccupy, raise at
take offleave, remove
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
THROW
throw awaywaste
throw upresign
PHRASAL VERBMEANING
TURN
turn againstdislike
turn awayrefuse admission
turn downreject, refuse
turn oncause ot flow by unscrewing water, gas etc., gas
turn offstop
turn outproduce
turn uparrive, appear
turn insleep
turn uponattack

56 of the Most Useful Phrasal Verbs in English

Below are some of the most common phrasal verbs in the English language. We organized them alphabetically so they’re easy to find, but you can group them however you want when you’re learning them!

Bring

Bring up — To mention something. (Note: The two parts of this phrasal verb can be separated.)

“Mark was sick and had to miss the party, so please don’t bring it up, I don’t want him to feel bad for missing it.”

Bring on — To cause something to happen, usually something negative. (The two parts of this phrasal verb can be separated by what’s happening.)

“His lung cancer was brought on by years of smoking.”

Bring it on! — To accept a challenge with confidence.

“You want to have a race? Bring it on! I can beat you!”

Call

Call on — This can mean either to visit someone, or to use someone’s or something’s knowledge.

To visit someone: “I’ll call on you this evening to see how you’re feeling.”

To use someone’s knowledge: “I may need to call on the university’s excellent professors in order to answer your question.”

Call off — To cancel something.

“The picnic was called off because of the rain.”

Cheer

Cheer on — To support someone by giving them words of encouragement. (Can be separated by the name or pronoun of the person/people being cheered on).

“Even though Samantha was in the last place, her brother cheeredher on through the entire race.”

Cheer up — This phrase can either be used as a phrase of encouragement said to someone who seems sad (just saying “cheer up!” to them), or it can mean to try to make someone happier.

“Andrew was having a bad day, so his girlfriend cheered him up by taking him out for ice cream.”

Come

Come up (with something) — To think of an idea.

“I came up with this idea for a TV show about a woman living with her best friend and daughter. I call it ‘Two and a Half Women.’”

Come up — To bring up a topic, or when something happens unexpectedly.

To bring up a topic: “I wanted to tell her that I got a new job but the chance never came up.”

Unexpected occurrence: “I was going to meet my friends for dinner, but something came up so I had to cancel.”

Come in — To enter.

“‘Come in, the door is open!’ said the grandmother to the wolf.”

Come across — To meet or find by chance.

“I was cleaning the attic and I came across my high school uniform. Can you believe it still fits?”

Come forward — To volunteer information about something, like a crime.

“The police are encouraging people to come forward with any information about the kidnapped girl.”

Cut

Cut off — This phrase can be used in several ways, but its general meaning is “to interrupt or stop something.” (Can be separated.)

While driving, to get in front of another car suddenly: “That red car just cut me off and I almost crashed into it.”

To stop supplying things to or communicating with someone: “His father is rich but he cut him off without any money of his own.”

Cut (it) out — This phrase has the same meaning as saying “Stop it.”

“Hey, cut it out! I was watching that movie, so stop changing the channel!”

Cut in — To interrupt someone when they are speaking.

“I was about to ask that girl on a date, but her friend cut in and I lost the chance.”

Drop

Drop by/in — To stop by for a visit, for a short time.

“Andrew is such a great boyfriend, when he heard that his girlfriend had a cold he dropped by to bring her some soup.”

Drop off — To leave something or someone in their destination. (Can be separated by the object being dropped off.)

“I can give you a ride and drop you off at work.”

Fall

Fall apart — This phrase means “to break into pieces,” but it can be used to talk about things that are not physical, like a marriage or a person.

“They tried to save their marriage by going to therapy but in the end if fell apart anyway.”

Fall down — To drop to the ground, usually by accident.

“My friend slipped on a banana peel and fell down. I thought that only happened in cartoons!”

Fill

Fill (someone) in — To give someone the details about something. (Is usually separated by the person getting filled in).

“Quickly, let’s go! There’s no time to explain, I’ll fill you in on the way.”

Fill up — To become completely full.

“The little girl filled up on candy before dinner, and didn’t want to eat any of the chicken.”

Get

Get away — To escape. You may have heard the phrase “getaway car.” That’s the car used by criminals to run away from a crime scene, like a bank robbery.

“Carmen’s neighbor tried to show her pictures of all her cats, but Carmen managed to get away.”

Get around — To solve a problem by avoiding the main issue. This phrase can also be used very informally to refer to someone who has many sexual partners. As you can imagine, it’s not very nice to say that someone “gets around”!

“Some people know all the different ways to get around tax laws.”

Get along (with) — To have a friendly relationship with someone.

“Some people are surprised that I get along with my mother-in-law really well!”

Get up — To stand up, or to wake up.

“I have so much trouble getting up in the morning that I have to set three alarms.”

Get back to — To return to someone or something. This phrase is often used to say that you will return with an answer to a question or a request at a later time.

“Derek’s coworker wasn’t sure what time the meeting was, so he said he’d get back to him with the time.”

Get back at — To get revenge on someone.

“Her ex-husband took her house so she got back at him by taking his dogs.”

Give

Give out — This phrase can mean to break down or stop working, or to hand out or distribute something.

To stop working: “The city had to rebuild the bridge completely, because it was about to give out and fall down.”

To distribute: “He has a lot of contacts because he gives out his business card to everyone he meets.”

Give in — To surrender, especially in a fight or argument.

“Ben’s mother gave in and let him stay out late with his friends.”

Give away — To hand things out for free. (Can be separated by the item being given away.)

“When Linda’s cat had kittens, she gave them all away to good homes.”

Give up — To stop trying, surrender.

“After two weeks of trying to build my own table, I gave up and just bought one.”

Go

Go out (with) — To go on a date with someone.

“Sarah was so happy when Peter finally asked her to go out with him!”

Go ahead — To go in front of someone, or to give permission to do or say something.

Go ahead, explain to me why there is a car on my roof.”

Grow

Grow up — To grow up, sometimes used to tell someone to stop acting childish.

“Some people tell Steve he needs to grow up, but he loves acting like a child.”

Grow apart — To get distant from someone, like a friend.

“When my friend moved to a different country I tried to stay close with her, but we slowly grew apart.”

Hang

Hang on — To keep something.

“When everyone else was getting fired, Paul managed to hang on to his job.”

Hang out — To spend time with someone, casually.

“My friends and I used to hang out in the park after school.”

Hang up — To end a call on the phone, especially if it’s before the other person is ready.

“I was in the middle of a sentence, and he hung up on me! How rude.”

Hold

Hold on — To hold something tightly. This phrase can also be a way of asking someone to wait for a moment.

“You’d better hold on to your hat, it’s windy out there!”

Hold back — To stop yourself from doing or saying something.

“Amy has a great voice but whenever she’s singing in public she feels shy and holds back.”

Log

Log in (to) — Used with computers, this phrase means to sign into your account on a website or computer.

“Don’t forget to log in to your FluentU account to learn English better and faster.”

Log out/off — Also used with computers, this phrase means to sign out of your account.

“You should always log out of your accounts when you use a public computer.”

Look

Look up — To check the meaning of something. (Can be separated by the item being looked up).

“If you don’t know the meaning of a word, you should look it up in the dictionary.”

Look out — To watch out for something.

Look out, there’s a baseball coming your way!”

Pay

Pay back — To give someone back money that you owe them. (Can be separated by the person getting paid back.) When it’s written as one word, “payback” means revenge.

“Thanks for getting me lunch when I forgot my wallet at home! I’ll payyou back tomorrow.”

Pay for — This phrase can either mean to give someone money for a particular purpose (like paying for a new car), or to suffer because of something you did.

“He’ll pay for all the problems he caused me by being late today!”

Put

Put out — This phrase can mean to extinguish a fire, or to irritate someone by asking them for a favor. (In the case of annoying someone, can be separated by the person getting annoyed.) Be aware that in very informal slang, this phrase has a more offensive meaning.

To extinguish a fire: “The firefighters managed to put out the fire before it spread to other houses.”

To irritate someone: “I’d ask you to make me dinner but I don’t want to put you out.”

Put on — To get your clothes or makeup on.

“Every morning she puts on her dress, lipstick, shoes and hat—in that order.”

Take

Take off — This phrase can mean to remove clothing, or to leave for a journey (i.e. planes take off when they begin their flights).

“She was very happy when she finally got home and took off her shoes. They had been hurting her feet all day!”

Take out — To remove something, like from a pocket or a bag. This phrase can also mean to take someone on a date. (Can be separated by the item or person being taken out.) The phrase can also mean to remove someone, as in by killing them—but this is probably not something you would need to use in everyday conversation!

To remove something: “The children sat at their desks and took outtheir pens and paper.”

To take someone on a date: “He took her out to the most expensive restaurant in the city.”

Turn

Turn on/off — To switch a machine or light on or off.

Turn off the light, I’m trying to sleep!”

Turn around — To move so that you’re facing the opposite direction.

“Sally was about to get on the plane, but she turned around when someone called her name.”

Turn up — When someone that was lost is found unexpectedly.

“Anything I lose usually turns up under the couch. It’s my cat’s favorite hiding place.”

Warm

Warm up (to) — To start liking someone or something more as you spend more time with them, especially if you didn’t really like them in the beginning.

“The new puppy was scared of my husband when we first got him, but he warmed up to him pretty quickly.”

Work

Work out — To exercise.

“I try to work out every morning, by repeatedly lifting a heavy donut to my mouth.”

Work (something) out — To come up with a solution or a compromise with someone.

“Don’t worry, I’m sure we can work something out so that everyone is happy.”

 

 

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