Phrasal Verbs Tricks & Tips Day 1
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What are phrasal verbs?
Phrasal verbs are mainly used in spoken English and informal texts. (The more formal a conversation or text, the less phrasal verbs are found.)
Phrasal verbs consist of a verb and a particle (preposition, adverb). The particle can change the meaning of 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 rules that might explain the meaning of phrasal verbs. All you can do is look them up in a good dictionary and study their meanings.
A phrasal verb is a verb like pick up, turn on or get on with. These verbs consists of a basic verb + another word or words. The two or three words that make up a phrasal verb form a short “phrase” – which is why we call them “phrasal verbs”. But a phrasal verb is still a verb. Look is a verb. Look up is also a verb – a different verb. They do not have the same meaning, and they behave differently grammatically. You should treat each phrasal verb as a separate verb, and learn it like any other verb. Look at these examples. You can see that there are three types of phrasal verb formed from a single-word verb:
|single-word verb||look||direct your eyes in a certain direction||You must lookbefore you leap.|
|phrasal verb||verb + adverb||look up||search for and find information in a reference book||You can look upthe word in a dictionary.|
|verb + preposition||look after||take care of||Who is looking after the baby?|
|verb + adverb + preposition||look forward to||anticipate with pleasure||I look forward tomeeting you.|
Phrasal Verb: VERB + ADVERB
The structure of this type of phrasal verb is:
These phrasal verbs can be:
- transitive (direct object)
- intransitive (no direct object)
Look at these examples of transitive and intransitive::
|transitive||put off||postpone||We will have to put off||the meeting.|
|turn down||refuse||They turned down||my offer.|
|intransitive||get up||rise from bed||I don’t like to get up.|
|break down||stop working||He was late because his car broke down.|
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:
|They turned down my offer.|
|They 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:
|John switched on the radio.|
|John switched the radio on.|
|John switched it on.|
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:
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 verb||meaning||example sentence|
|believe in||have faith in the existence of||I believe in||God.|
|look after||take care of||He is looking after||the dog.|
|talk about||discuss||Did you talk about||me?|
|wait for||await||John is waiting for||Mary.|
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”:
|Who is looking after the baby?|
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:
Look at these examples of phrasal-prepositional verbs:
|phrasal-prepositional verb||meaning||example sentence|
|get on with||have a friendly relationship with||He doesn’t get on with||his wife.|
|put up with||tolerate||I won’t put up with||your attitude.|
|look forward to||anticipate with pleasure||I look forward to||seeing you.|
|run out of||use up, exhaust||We have run out of||eggs.|
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:
|We ran out of gas.|
|We ran out of it.|
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.
- 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).
- Write it down.
- Your photo album. Put it down
- Your jacket. Take it off
How to Learn Phrasal Verbs
English phrasal verbs are everywhere, so one of the best ways to learn them is to try to listen for them. These phrases are commonly used, and would not be unusual to hear in a conversation. Do you hear a verb used together with another word very often? It might be a phrasal verb.
If you’re not sure whether a phrase is a phrasal verb or just a verb that happened to be spoken with a preposition, try looking it up. Most dictionaries have entries for phrasal verbs, so look the phrase up to be sure. You can also look up the phrase in the English Page phrasal dictionary which is an excellent resource, so save that 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 them easier to learn, 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!
Usually, the verb and preposition in a phrasal verb need to be said together, like in the phrase “fall down.” In some cases, though, you can separate the verb and the preposition by putting other 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!
Another thing to keep in mind about phrasal verbs is that they are still verbs. That means the verb part of the phrase can be changed depending on 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 verb||meaning||example sentence|
|ask somebodyout||invite on a date||Brian asked Judy out to dinner and a movie.|
|ask around||ask many people the same question||I asked around but nobody has seen my wallet.|
|add up tosomething||equal||Your purchases add up to $205.32.|
|backsomething up||reverse||You’ll have to back up your car so that I can get out.|
|backsomebody up||support||My wife backed me up over my decision to quit my job.|
|blow up||explode||The racing car blew up after it crashed into the fence.|
|blowsomething up||add air||We have to blow 50 balloons up for the party.|
|break down||stop functioning (vehicle, machine)||Our car broke down at the side of the highway in the snowstorm.|
|break down||get upset||The woman broke down when the police told her that her son had died.|
|breaksomethingdown||divide into smaller parts||Our teacher broke the final project downinto three separate parts.|
|break in||force entry to a building||Somebody broke in last night and stole our stereo.|
|break intosomething||enter forcibly||The firemen had to break into the room to rescue the children.|
|breaksomething in||wear something a few times so that it doesn’t look/feel new||I need to break these shoes in before we run next week.|
|break in||interrupt||The TV station broke in to report the news of the president’s death.|
|break up||end a relationship||My boyfriend and I broke up before I moved to America.|
|break up||start laughing (informal)||The kids just broke up as soon as the clown started talking.|
|break out||escape||The prisoners broke out of jail when the guards weren’t looking.|
|break out insomething||develop a skin condition||I broke out in a rash after our camping trip.|
|bringsomebodydown||make unhappy||This sad music is bringing me down.|
|bringsomebody up||raise a child||My grandparents brought me up after my parents died.|
|bringsomething up||start talking about a subject||My mother walks out of the room when my father brings up sports.|
|bringsomething up||vomit||He drank so much that he brought his dinner up in the toilet.|
|call around||phone many different places/people||We called around but we weren’t able to find the car part we needed.|
|call somebodyback||return a phone call||I called the company back but the offices were closed for the weekend.|
|call somethingoff||cancel||Jason called the wedding off because he wasn’t in love with his fiancé.|
|call onsomebody||ask for an answer or opinion||The professor called on me for question 1.|
|call onsomebody||visit somebody||We called on you last night but you weren’t home.|
|call somebodyup||phone||Give me your phone number and I will callyou up when we are in town.|
|calm down||relax after being angry||You are still mad. You need to calm downbefore you drive the car.|
|not care forsomebody/ something||not like (formal)||I don’t care for his behaviour.|
|catch up||get to the same point as somebody else||You’ll have to run faster than that if you want to catch up with Marty.|
|check in||arrive and register at a hotel or airport||We will get the hotel keys when we check in.|
|check out||leave a hotel||You have to check out of the hotel before 11:00 AM.|
|checksomebody/ something out||look at carefully, investigate||The company checks out all new employees.|
|check outsomebody/ something||look at (informal)||Check out the crazy hair on that guy!|
|cheer up||become happier||She cheered up when she heard the good news.|
|cheersomebody up||make happier||I brought you some flowers to cheer you up.|
|chip in||help||If everyone chips in we can get the kitchen painted by noon.|
|cleansomething up||tidy, clean||Please clean up your bedroom before you go outside.|
|come acrosssomething||find unexpectedly||I came across these old photos when I was tidying the closet.|
|come apart||separate||The top and bottom come apart if you pull hard enough.|
|come down withsomething||become sick||My nephew came down with chicken pox this weekend.|
|come forward||volunteer for a task or to give evidence||The woman came forward with her husband’s finger prints.|
|come fromsome place||originate in||The art of origami comes from Asia.|
|count onsomebody/ something||rely on||I am counting on you to make dinner while I am out.|
|crosssomething out||draw a line through||Please cross out your old address and write your new one.|
|cut back onsomething||consume less||My doctor wants me to cut back onsweets and fatty foods.|
|cut somethingdown||make something fall to the ground||We had to cut the old tree in our yard down after the storm.|
|cut in||interrupt||Your father cut in while I was dancing with your uncle.|
|cut in||pull in too closely in front of another vehicle||The bus driver got angry when that car cut in.|
|cut in||start operating (of an engine or electrical device)||The air conditioner cuts in when the temperature gets to 22°C.|
|cut somethingoff||remove with something sharp||The doctors cut off his leg because it was severely injured.|
|cut somethingoff||stop providing||The phone company cut off our phone because we didn’t pay the bill.|
|cut somebodyoff||take out of a will||My grandparents cut my father off when he remarried.|
|cut somethingout||remove part of something (usually with scissors and paper)||I cut this ad out of the newspaper.|
|do somebody/ somethingover||beat up, ransack (BrE, informal)||He’s lucky to be alive. His shop was done over by a street gang.|
|do somethingover||do again (AmE)||My teacher wants me to do my essay over because she doesn’t like my topic.|
|do away withsomething||discard||It’s time to do away with all of these old tax records.|
|do somethingup||fasten, close||Do your coat up before you go outside. It’s snowing!|
|dress up||wear nice clothing||It’s a fancy restaurant so we have to dress up.|
|drop back||move back in a position/group||Andrea dropped back to third place when she fell off her bike.|
|drop in/ by/ over||come without an appointment||I might drop in/by/over for tea sometime this week.|
|dropsomebody/ something off||take somebody/ something somewhere and leave them/it there||I have to drop my sister off at work before I come over.|
|drop out||quit a class, school etc||I dropped out of Science because it was too difficult.|
|eat out||eat at a restaurant||I don’t feel like cooking tonight. Let’s eat out.|
|end up||eventually reach/do/decide||We ended up renting a movie instead of going to the theatre.|
|fall apart||break into pieces||My new dress fell apart in the washing machine.|
|fall down||fall to the ground||The picture that you hung up last night fell down this morning.|
|fall out||separate from an interior||The money must have fallen out of my pocket.|
|fall out||(of hair, teeth) become loose and unattached||His hair started to fall out when he was only 35.|
|figuresomething out||understand, find the answer||I need to figure out how to fit the piano and the bookshelf in this room.|
|fill somethingin||to write information in blanks, as on a form (BrE)||Please fill in the form with your name, address, and phone number.|
|fill somethingout||to write information in blanks, as on a form (AmE)||The form must be filled out in capital letters.|
|fill somethingup||fill to the top||I always fill the water jug up when it is empty.|
|find out||discover||We don’t know where he lives. How can we find out?|
|find somethingout||discover||We tried to keep the time of the party a secret, but Samantha found it out.|
|get somethingacross/ over||communicate, make understandable||I tried to get my point across/over to the judge but she wouldn’t listen.|
|get along/on||like each other||I was surprised how well my new girlfriend and my sister got along/on.|
|get around||have mobility||My grandfather can get around fine in his new wheelchair.|
|get away||go on a vacation||We worked so hard this year that we had to get away for a week.|
|get away withsomething||do without being noticed or punished||Jason always gets away with cheating in his maths tests.|
|get back||return||We got back from our vacation last week.|
|get somethingback||receive something you had before||Liz finally got her Science notes backfrom my room-mate.|
|get back atsomebody||retaliate, take revenge||My sister got back at me for stealing her shoes. She stole my favourite hat.|
|get back intosomething||become interested in something again||I finally got back into my novel and finished it.|
|get onsomething||step onto a vehicle||We’re going to freeze out here if you don’t let us get on the bus.|
|get oversomething||recover from an illness, loss, difficulty||I just got over the flu and now my sister has it.|
|get oversomething||overcome a problem||The company will have to close if it can’t get over the new regulations.|
|get round tosomething||finally 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 together||meet (usually for social reasons)||Let’s get together for a BBQ this weekend.|
|get up||get out of bed||I got up early today to study for my exam.|
|get up||stand||You should get up and give the elderly man your seat.|
|give somebodyaway||reveal hidden information about somebody||His wife gave him away to the police.|
|give somebodyaway||take the bride to the altar||My father gave me away at my wedding.|
|givesomethingaway||ruin a secret||My little sister gave the surprise party away by accident.|
|givesomethingaway||give something to somebody for free||The library was giving away old books on Friday.|
|givesomethingback||return a borrowed item||I have to give these skates back to Franz before his hockey game.|
|give in||reluctantly stop fighting or arguing||My boyfriend didn’t want to go to the ballet, but he finally gave in.|
|givesomething out||give to many people (usually at no cost)||They were giving out free perfume samples at the department store.|
|givesomething up||quit a habit||I am giving up smoking as of January 1st.|
|give up||stop trying||My maths homework was too difficult so I gave up.|
|go aftersomebody||follow somebody||My brother tried to go after the thief in his car.|
|go aftersomething||try to achieve something||I went after my dream and now I am a published writer.|
|go againstsomebody||compete, oppose||We are going against the best soccer team in the city tonight.|
|go ahead||start, proceed||Please go ahead and eat before the food gets cold.|
|go back||return to a place||I have to go back home and get my lunch.|
|go out||leave home to go on a social event||We’re going out for dinner tonight.|
|go out withsomebody||date||Jesse has been going out with Luke since they met last winter.|
|go oversomething||review||Please go over your answers before you submit your test.|
|go over||visit somebody nearby||I haven’t seen Tina for a long time. I think I’ll go over for an hour or two.|
|go withoutsomething||suffer lack or deprivation||When I was young, we went withoutwinter boots.|
|grow apart||stop being friends over time||My best friend and I grew apart after she changed schools.|
|grow back||regrow||My roses grew back this summer.|
|grow intosomething||grow big enough to fit||This bike is too big for him now, but he should grow into it by next year.|
|grow out ofsomething||get too big for||Elizabeth needs a new pair of shoes because she has grown out of her old ones.|
|grow up||become an adult||When Jack grows up he wants to be a fireman.|
|handsomethingdown||give something used to somebody else||I handed my old comic books down to my little cousin.|
|handsomething in||submit||I have to hand in my essay by Friday.|
|handsomething out||to distribute to a group of people||We will hand out the invitations at the door.|
|handsomethingover||give (usually unwillingly)||The police asked the man to hand overhis wallet and his weapons.|
|hang in||stay positive (informal)||Hang in there. I’m sure you’ll find a job very soon.|
|hang on||wait a short time (informal)||Hang on while I grab my coat and shoes!|
|hang out||spend time relaxing (informal)||Instead of going to the party we are just going to hang out at my place.|
|hang up||end a phone call||He didn’t say goodbye before he hung up.|
|holdsomebody/ somethingback||prevent from doing/going||I had to hold my dog back because there was a cat in the park.|
|holdsomethingback||hide an emotion||Jamie held back his tears at his grandfather’s funeral.|
|hold on||wait a short time||Please hold on while I transfer you to the Sales Department.|
|hold ontosomebody/ something||hold firmly using your hands or arms||Hold onto your hat because it’s very windy outside.|
|holdsomebody/ something up||rob||A man in a black mask held the bank upthis morning.|
|keep on doingsomething||continue doing||Keep on stirring until the liquid comes to a boil.|
|keepsomethingfromsomebody||not tell||We kept our relationship from our parents for two years.|
|keepsomebody/ something out||stop from entering||Try to keep the wet dog out of the living room.|
|keepsomething up||continue at the same rate||If you keep those results up you will get into a great college.|
|let somebodydown||fail to support or help, disappoint||I need you to be on time. Don’t let me down this time.|
|let somebodyin||allow to enter||Can 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/ something||take care of||I have to look after my sick grandmother.|
|look down onsomebody||think less of, consider inferior||Ever since we stole that chocolate bar your dad has looked down on me.|
|look forsomebody/ something||try to find||I’m looking for a red dress for the wedding.|
|look forward to something||be excited about the future||I’m looking forward to the Christmas break.|
|look intosomething||investigate||We are going to look into the price of snowboards today.|
|look out||be careful, vigilant, and take notice||Look out! That car’s going to hit you!|
|look out forsomebody/ something||be especially vigilant for||Don’t forget to look out for snakes on the hiking trail.|
|looksomethingover||check, examine||Can you look over my essay for spelling mistakes?|
|looksomething up||search and find information in a reference book or database||We can look her phone number up on the Internet.|
|look up tosomebody||have a lot of respect for||My little sister has always looked up to me.|
|makesomething up||invent, lie about something||Josie made up a story about why we were late.|
|make up||forgive each other||We were angry last night, but we made up at breakfast.|
|makesomebody up||apply cosmetics to||My sisters made me up for my graduation party.|
|mix somethingup||confuse two or more things||I mixed up the twins’ names again!|
|pass away||die||His uncle passed away last night after a long illness.|
|pass out||faint||It was so hot in the church that an elderly lady passed out.|
|passsomething out||give the same thing to many people||The professor passed the textbooks outbefore class.|
|passsomething up||decline (usually something good)||I passed up the job because I am afraid of change.|
|pay somebodyback||return owed money||Thanks for buying my ticket. I’ll pay you back on Friday.|
|pay forsomething||be punished for doing something bad||That bully will pay for being mean to my little brother.|
|picksomething out||choose||I picked out three sweaters for you to try on.|
|pointsomebody/ something out||indicate with your finger||I’ll point my boyfriend out when he runs by.|
|put somethingdown||put what you are holding on a surface or floor||You can put the groceries down on the kitchen counter.|
|put somebodydown||insult, make somebody feel stupid||The students put the substitute teacher down because his pants were too short.|
|put somethingoff||postpone||We are putting off our trip until January because of the hurricane.|
|put somethingout||extinguish||The neighbours put the fire out before the firemen arrived.|
|put somethingtogether||assemble||I have to put the crib together before the baby arrives.|
|put up withsomebody/ something||tolerate||I don’t think I can put up with three small children in the car.|
|put somethingon||put clothing/ accessories on your body||Don’t forget to put on your new earrings for the party.|
|run intosomebody/ something||meet unexpectedly||I ran into an old school-friend at the mall.|
|run oversomebody/ something||drive a vehicle over a person or thing||I accidentally ran over your bicycle in the driveway.|
|run over/ throughsomething||rehearse, review||Let’s run over/through these lines one more time before the show.|
|run away||leave unexpectedly, escape||The child ran away from home and has been missing for three days.|
|run out||have none left||We ran out of shampoo so I had to wash my hair with soap.|
|sendsomethingback||return (usually by mail)||My letter got sent back to me because I used the wrong stamp.|
|set somethingup||arrange, organize||Our boss set a meeting up with the president of the company.|
|set somebodyup||trick, trap||The police set up the car thief by using a hidden camera.|
|shop around||compare prices||I want to shop around a little before I decide on these boots.|
|show off||act extra special for people watching (usually boastfully)||He always shows off on his skateboard|
|sleep over||stay somewhere for the night (informal)||You should sleep over tonight if the weather is too bad to drive home.|
|sort somethingout||organize, resolve a problem||We need to sort the bills out before the first of the month.|
|stick tosomething||continue doing something, limit yourself to one particular thing||You will lose weight if you stick to the diet.|
|switchsomething off||stop the energy flow, turn off||The light’s too bright. Could you switch it off.|
|switchsomething on||start the energy flow, turn on||We heard the news as soon as we switched on the car radio.|
|take aftersomebody||resemble a family member||I take after my mother. We are both impatient.|
|takesomethingapart||purposely break into pieces||He took the car brakes apart and found the problem.|
|takesomethingback||return an item||I have to take our new TV back because it doesn’t work.|
|take off||start to fly||My plane takes off in five minutes.|
|takesomething off||remove something (usually clothing)||Take off your socks and shoes and come in the lake!|
|takesomething out||remove from a place or thing||Can you take the garbage out to the street for me?|
|takesomebody out||pay for somebody to go somewhere with you||My grandparents took us out for dinner and a movie.|
|tearsomething up||rip into pieces||I tore up my ex-boyfriend’s letters and gave them back to him.|
|think back||remember (often + to, sometimes + on)||When I think back on my youth, I wish I had studied harder.|
|thinksomethingover||consider||I’ll have to think this job offer overbefore I make my final decision.|
|throwsomethingaway||dispose of||We threw our old furniture away when we won the lottery.|
|turnsomethingdown||decrease the volume or strength (heat, light etc)||Please turn the TV down while the guests are here.|
|turnsomethingdown||refuse||I turned the job down because I don’t want to move.|
|turnsomething off||stop the energy flow, switch off||Your mother wants you to turn the TV offand come for dinner.|
|turnsomething on||start the energy, switch on||It’s too dark in here. Let’s turn some lights on.|
|turnsomething up||increase the volume or strength (heat, light etc)||Can you turn the music up? This is my favourite song.|
|turn up||appear suddenly||Our cat turned up after we put posters up all over the neighbourhood.|
|try somethingon||sample clothing||I’m going to try these jeans on, but I don’t think they will fit.|
|try somethingout||test||I am going to try this new brand of detergent out.|
|use somethingup||finish the supply||The kids used all of the toothpaste up so we need to buy some more.|
|wake up||stop sleeping||We have to wake up early for work on Monday.|
|warmsomebody/ something up||increase the temperature||You can warm your feet up in front of the fireplace.|
|warm up||prepare body for exercise||I always warm up by doing sit-ups before I go for a run.|
|wear off||fade away||Most of my make-up wore off before I got to the party.|
|work out||exercise||I work out at the gym three times a week.|
|work out||be successful||Our plan worked out fine.|
|worksomething out||make a calculation||We have to work out the total cost before we buy the house.|
LIST OF PHRASAL VERBS
|account for||fixed up||get out of|
|back out||keep in||make up|
|deal with||ran after||looked after|
|care about||watching for||work out|
|got on with||left off||made up|
|feel out||my mind||join up|
|keep up with||looked up||hold on|
|get out||ask after||asked for|
|help up||keep down||hold off|
|died away||drew back||took out|
|set in||worked up||threw away|
A GROUP OF PHRASAL VERBS AND THEIR MEANINGS
|bear down||defeat, overcome, crush|
|bear up||have courage|
|bear with||endure, tolerate|
|break up||disperse, shatter|
|break down||fall, stop working / collapse|
|break in / into||enter by force|
|break out||appear and force out escape, spread suddenly|
|bring up||educate, rear|
|call for||demand, wanted|
|call in||request to help, summon|
|call on||to pay a short visit to a person|
|call at||to pay a short visit to a place|
|carry off||win, snatch|
|come about||happen, occur|
|come cross||to meet by chance, discover|
|come off||take place|
|come up||move to a higher level or position|
|fall through||fail to be successfully completed, collapse|
|get on||make progress, climb|
|get over||overcome, recover|
|give in||surrender, collapse|
|give away||present, distribute|
|go about||preform, do|
|go after||chase, follow|
|go down||to be recorded, believe will be remembered|
|go into||examine, investigate|
|go on||continue, hurry|
|hold out||give, offer|
|keep back||with hold|
|keep down||control, repress|
|keep going on||continue|
|keep to||adhere to|
|keep it up||continue, maintain|
|lay down (arm)||surrender|
|lay down (life)||sacrifice|
|look back||contemplate, reflect|
|look after||take care of|
|look down||despise, hate|
|look for||to try to find / search|
|look over into||examine, investigate|
|look on||consider, regard|
|look out||watchful, beware|
|look to||depend on|
|look up (book)||scarch for, refer|
|make up||compensate / invent|
|make off||run away|
|pass for||considered as|
|pass off||falsely present, ignore|
|put down||crush / write|
|put off||postpone, delay|
|put up||stay / provide|
|put up with||endure, tolerate|
|run after||chase, seek|
|run down||decline, collide, deteriorate|
|run out||exhaust, expire, completely used up|
|see off||witness one’s departure|
|see through||detect / penetrate|
|set about / on||start|
|set out / off||start|
|set to||with determination, fight, active|
|stand by||support, wait|
|stand up||oppose, noticeable|
|take on||fight with, assume|
|take up||occupy, raise at|
|take off||leave, remove|
|turn away||refuse admission|
|turn down||reject, refuse|
|turn on||cause ot flow by unscrewing water, gas etc., gas|
|turn up||arrive, appear|
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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 (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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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.”