Today, in the post we have compiled 50 most frequently used “Phrasal Verbs”. Phrasal verb is a verb combined with a preposition or adverb or both. These phrasal verbs are Versatile in nature. They can play multiple roles in a sentence. And also, can be asked in the exam questions in many ways. For ex- In Reading Comprehension, sentence improvements, cloze tests, sentence corrections, fill in the blanks, phrasal connectors etc. there might be even more applications of phrasal verbs in Competitive exam English section.
So, we advise you to read, memorize and learn all the important phrasal verbs. We will keep publishing such notes every day. Stay tuned for More. We wish good luck and success in the exams.
1. act up (no object): misbehave (for people); not work properly (for machines).
Example 1→ “The babysitter had a difficult time. The children acted up all evening.”
Example 2→ “I guess I’d better take my car to the garage. It’s been acting up lately.”
Example 1→ “What’s wrong with Bob? He’s acting like an idiot.”
Note: This phrasal verb is very informal.
3. add up (1. No object): logically fit together.
Example 1→ “His theory is hard to believe, but his research adds up.”
Note: This phrasal verb is often negative.
Example 2→ “His theory seems, at first, to be plausible, but the facts in his research don’t add up.”
4. add up (2. Separable): find the total.
Example 1→ “What’s the total of those bills? Could you add them up and see?”
5. add up to (inseparable): to total.
Example 1→ “The bills add up to Rs. 734.96. That’s more than I expected!”
6. ask out (separable): ask for a date.
Example 1→ “Nina has a new boy friend. James asked her out last night.”
7. back down (no object): not follow a threat.
Example 1→ “Timmy was going to call the police when I told him I’d wrecked his car, but he backed down when I said I’d pay for the damages.”
8. back up (1. no object): move backward; move in reverse.
Example 1→ “You missed the lines in the parking space. You’ll have to back up and try again.”
Example 2→ “The people waiting in line are too close to the door. We won’t be able to open it unless they back up.”
9. back up (2. separable): drive a vehicle backwards (in reverse).
Example 1→ “You’re too close! Back your car up so I can open the garage door.”
10. back up (3. separable): confirm a story, facts, or information.
Example 1→ “If you don’t believe me, talk to Dave. He’ll back me up.”
11. back up (4. separable): make a “protection” copy to use if there are problems with the original.
Example 1→ “When my computer crashed, I lost many of my files. It’s a good thing I backed them up.”
12. beg off (no object): decline an invitation; ask to be excused from doing something.
Example 1→ “At first Lily said she would be at the party. Later she begged off.”
13. blow up (1. separable): inflate.
Example 1→ “We need lots of balloons for the party. Will you blow them up?”
blow up (2. separable): explode; destroy by exploding.
Example 1→ “That old building really came down quickly!” “That’s because the construction company used dynamite to blow it up.”
14. blow up (3. no object): suddenly become very angry.
Example 1→ “When I told Jerry that I’d had an accident with his car, he blew up.”
15. bone up on (inseparable): review/study thoroughly for a short time.
Example 1→ “If you’re going to travel to Peru, you’d better bone up on your Spanish.”
16. break down (1. separable): separate something into component parts.
Example 1→ “We spent a lot of money at the supermarket. When we broke the total cost down, we spent more on cleaning supplies than food.”
break down (2. no object): stop working/functioning. “Sharon will be late for work today. Her car broke down on the freeway.”
17. break in (1. Often no object; with an object, break into – inseparable): enter by using force (and breaking a lock, window, etc.)
Example 1→ “Jane’s apartment was burglarized last night. Someone broke in while Jane was at the movies.”
Example 2→ “Somebody broke into Jane’s apartment while she was at the movies.
18. break in (2. separable): wear something new until it’s / they’re comfortable.
Example 1→ “These are nice shoes, but they’re too stiff. I hope it doesn’t take too long to break them in.”
19. break in (3. separable): train; get someone / something accustomed to a new routine.
Example 1→ “I hope I can learn my new job quickly. The manager hasn’t scheduled much time for breaking me in.”
20. break up (1. no object): disperse; scatter.
Example 1→ “What time did the party break up last night?”
21. break up (2. Usually no object; with an object, break up with [inseparable]): end a personal relationship.
Example 1→ “Tim and Julie aren’t going steady any more. They got really angry with each other and broke up.”
Example 2→ “Have you heard the news? Julie broke up with Tim!”
Example 3→ “I’m sorry to hear that their marriage broke up. I’m sure the divorce will be difficult for the children.”
22. bring/take back (separable): return something.
Example 1→ “Yes, you can borrow my pen, don’t forget to bring it back to me when you’re finished.”
Example 2→ “This book is due tomorrow. I guess I should take it back to the library.”
23. bring off (separable): accomplish something difficult; accomplish something people had considered impossible or unlikely.
Example 1→ “No one thought Jack could get an A in that course, but he brought it off.”
24. bring up (1. separable): mention (as a topic of discussion).
Example 1→ “We planned to discuss overtime pay in the meeting. Why didn’t someone bring that topic up?”
25. bring up (2. separable): raise, rear.
“Lily’s parents died when she was a baby. Her grandparents brought her up.”
26. brush up on (inseparable): review/study thoroughly for a short time.
Example 1→ “If you’re going to travel to Peru, you’d better brush up on your Spanish.”
27. burn down (no object): destroyed/consumed by fire.
Note: For upright things – trees, buildings, etc. – only.
Example 1→ “Lighting struck Mr. Kennedy’s barn last night. It burned down before the fire fighters arrived.”
28. burn up (1. no object): destroyed / consumed by fire.
Note: For people and non-upright things only.
Example 1→ “All of Mr. Kennedy’s hay burned up when his barn burned down.”
29. burn up (2. separable): cause someone to become very angry.
Example 1→ “Did you hear how rudely Fred talked to me? That really burned me up!”
30. butt in (no object): impolitely interrupt (a conversation, an action).
Example 1→ “Hey, you! Don’t butt in! Wait for your turn!”
31. butter up (separable): praise someone excessively with the hope of getting some benefit.
Example 1→ “I guess Marty really wants to be promoted. He’s been buttering his boss up all week.”
32. Call off (separable): cancel something that has been scheduled.
Example 1→ “We don’t have school today. The mayor called classes off because of the snow.”
33. call on (inseparable): ask someone for an answer in class.
Example 1→ “I don’t know why the teacher never calls on you. You always know the answer.”
34. Calm down (with or without an object: with an object, separable): become calm/less agitated or upset; help someone become calm/ less agitated or upset.
Example 1→ “Why are you so upset? Suzie didn’t intend to spill orange juice on you. Calm down!”
Example 2→ “I know Ralph is upset, but can you calm him down? He’s making so much noise that he’s irritating everyone in the office.”
35. (not) care for (1. inseparable): like; want.
Note: This phrasal verb is usually negative, though it may be used affirmatively in questions.
Example 1→ “Would you care for something to drink? We have coffee, tea, or orange juice.”
Example 2→ “Could I have water, please? I don’t care for coffee, tea, or juice.”
36. care for (2. inseparable): take care of; supply care to; attend / watch over.
Example 1→ “Amy’s father got out of the hospital last week. The family is caring for him at home.”
37. catch on (no object): develop understanding or knowledge of something.
Example 1→ “Bill had never used a computer until he took this class, but he caught on very quickly and is now one of the best students.”
38. catch up (with) (often without an object; with an object, inseparable): stop being behind.
Example 1→ “Terry stopped to rest for a few minutes. He’ll catch up / catch up with us later.”
39. check in(to) (inseparable): register for / at a hotel, conference, etc.; let someone know officially that you have arrived.
Example 1→ “My plane will arrive around 5:00 PM. I should be able to check into the hotel by 6:00 or 6:30.”
Example 2→ “When you arrive at the convention, be sure to check in at the registration desk.”
40. check off (separable): make a mark to indicate that something on a list has been completed.
Example 1→ “Here are the things you need to do. Please check each one off when you’ve finished it.”
41. check out (of) (1. inseparable): follow procedures for leaving (a hotel, etc.)
Example 1→ “Don’t forget to take your room key to the front desk when you check out (when you check out of the hotel).”
42. check out (2. separable): follow procedures for borrowing something (usually for a limited period of time).
Example 1→ “I’m sorry, but you can’t take that encyclopedia home. The library won’t allow you to check reference books out.”
43. cheer up (separable): help someone feel less worried / depressed / sad.
Example 1→ “Suzie’s brother was depressed about not getting a promotion, so she sent him a funny card to cheer him up.”
44. chew out (separable): scold someone severely; berate.
Example 1→ “Tom’s father was really angry when Tom didn’t come home until 3:00 AM. He chewed Tom out and then said Tom had to stay at home for two weeks.”
45. chicken out (no object): lose the courage or confidence to do something–often at the last minute.
Example 1→ “Sam said he was going to ask Leela for a date, but he chickened out.”
46. chip in (inseparable): contribute / donate (often money) to something done by a group.
Example 1→ “We’re going to buy a birthday cake for our boss and I’m collecting donations. Do you want to chip in?”
47. clam up (inseparable): suddenly become quiet/refuse to talk about something.
Example 1→ “Lila wouldn’t talk about the accident. When I asked her what happened, she clammed up.”
48. come across (inseparable): find (unexpectedly).
Example 1→ “I’ve lost my extra car keys. If you come across them while your’re cleaning the room, please put them in a safe place.”
49. come down with __________ (inseparable): become ill with __________.
Example 1→ “George won’t be at the office today. He came down with the flu over the weekend.”
50. come to (1. inseparable): total.
Example 1→ “Your charges come to Rs. 124.38. Will you pay by cheque, in cash, or with a credit card?”