Friday, 24 February 2012

Phrasal verb

Phrasal verb

A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and a preposition, a verb and an adverb, or a verb with both an adverb and a preposition, any of which are part of the syntax of the sentence, and so are a complete semantic unit. Sentences may contain direct and indirect objects in addition to the phrasal verb. Phrasal verbs are particularly frequent in the English language. A phrasal verb often has a meaning which is different from the original verb.
According to Tom McArthur:
...the term ‘phrasal verb’ was first used by Logan Pearsall Smith, in “Words and Idioms” (1925), in which he states that the OED Editor Henry Bradley suggested the term to him.
Alternative terms for phrasal verb are ‘compound verb’, ‘verb-adverb combination’, ‘verb-particle construction (VPC)’, AmE ‘two-part word/verb’ and ‘three-part word/verb’ (depending on the number of particles), and multi-word verb (MWV).
Prepositions and adverbs used in a phrasal verb are also called particles in that they do not alter their form through inflections (are therefore uninflected: they do not accept affixes, etc.). Because of the idiomatic nature of phrasal verbs, they are often subject to preposition stranding.

Phrasal verbs in informal speech

Phrasal verbs are usually used informally in everyday speech as opposed to the more formal Latinate verbs, such as “to get together” rather than “to congregate”, “to put off” rather than “to postpone”, or “to get out” rather than “to exit”.

Grammar of phrasal verb

Some phrasal verbs take an object (transitive); other do not take an object (intransitive).
  • The plumber soon sorted out the shower problem (with object)
  • The path branched off to the river ( no object)

Literal usage

Many verbs in English can be combined with an adverb or a preposition, and readers or listeners will easily understand a phrasal verb used in a literal sense with a preposition:
  • "He walked across the square."
Verb and adverb constructions can also easily be understood when used literally:
  • "She opened the shutters and looked outside."
  • "When he heard the crash, he looked up."
An adverb in a literal phrasal verb modifies the verb it is attached to, and a preposition links the verb to transform the verb in the idiomatic and literal phrasal verb.

Idiomatic usage

It is, however, the figurative or idiomatic application in everyday speech which makes phrasal verbs so important:
  • "I hope you will get over your operation quickly."
  • "Work hard, and get your examination over with."

The literal meaning of “to get over”, in the sense of “to climb over something to get to the other side”, no longer applies to explain the subject's enduring an operation or the stress of an examination which they have to overcome. It is when the combined meaning of verb plus adverb, or verb plus preposition is totally different from each of its component parts, that the semantic content of the phrasal verb cannot be predicted by its constituent parts and so becomes much more difficult for a student learning English to recognise. Attempts have been made, however, to identify some system in the way that a given particle contributes to the meaning of a phrasal verb, and it seems likely that an understanding of conceptual metaphor may be helpful here. As Lakoff and Johnson show, most particles have, initially, a literal meaning which is spatial or "orientational", and then metaphorical meanings attach to them in ways that are (fairly) systematic (see also Knowles & Moon 2006: 17). One phrasal verbs dictionary for learners of English, Macmillan Phrasal Verbs Plus, provides annotated charts for 12 of the most common particles used in phrasal verbs, tracing the way they develop non-literal uses on the basis of conceptual metaphor, and showing how the "meaning" of each particle in a phrasal verb is, to some degree at least, predictable.
In her introduction to "Longman Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs, What this dictionary contains", Rosemary Courtney includes as a third category
3. Idioms which are formed from phrasal verbs, such as let the cat out of the bag. These idioms are printed in heavy type. Idioms have a meaning which is different from the meaning of the single words, and usually have a fixed word order.
Courtney then cites among many other examples in the dictionary such phrases as "to add insult to injury", "to add fuel to the flames", "to leave someone in the lurch", "to scare someone out of their wits", etc.

Phrasal verb patterns

A phrasal verb contains either a preposition or an adverb (or both), and may also combine with one or more nouns or pronouns.

Particle verbs

Phrasal verbs that contain a particle such as up (in some traditions called an adverb, in others a preposition) are called "particle verbs", and are related to separable verbs in other Germanic languages. There are two main patterns: intransitive and transitive. An intransitive particle verb does not have an object:

  • “When I entered the room he looked up.”

A transitive particle verb has a nominal object in addition to the particle. If the object is an ordinary noun phrase, it can usually appear on either side of the particle, although very long noun phrases tend to come after the particle:

  • Switch off the light.
  • Switch the light off.
  • Switch off the lights in the hallway next to the bedroom in which the president is sleeping.

With some transitive particle verbs, however, the noun phrase object must come after the preposition. Such examples are said to involve "inseparable" phrasal verbs:

  • The gas gave off fumes. (not *The gas gave fumes off.)
Other transitive particle verbs still require the object to precede the particle, even when the object is a long noun phrase:
  • I cannot tell the Beatles apart. (not *I cannot tell apart the Beatles.)
  • I cannot tell the various members of the band called the Beatles apart.
However, some authors[7]:p. 19 would dispute this, arguing that the particle must be adjacent to the verbwhenever the noun phrase is lengthy and complicated.
With all transitive particle verbs, if the object is a pronoun, it must, with just one type of exception, precede the particle:
  • Switch it off. (not *Switch off it.)
  • The smell put them off. (not *put off them)
  • They let him through. (not *they let through him)
The exception:pp.17, 20 occurs if the direct object is contrastively stressed, as in
  • Figure out THESE, not THOSE.
Gorlach:p.40 asserts that the position of the noun phrase object before or after the particle has a subtle effect on the degree to which the phrase has resultative implication. For example, the simple verb eat makes no claim on whether or not the result of the eating is that the apple is completely consumed; whereas the phrasal verbeat up seems to make different claims on this result, depending on the position of the particle with respect to the object:
  • to eat the apple (neutral for ‘complete’ result)
  • to eat up the apple (greater possibility for ‘complete’ result)
  • to eat the apple up (compulsory claim for ‘complete’ result)

Prepositional verbs

Prepositional verbs are phrasal verbs that contain a preposition, which is always followed by its nominal object. They are different from inseparable transitive particle verbs, because the object still follows the preposition if it is a pronoun:
  • On Fridays, we look after our grandchildren.
  • We look after them. (not *look them after)
The verb can have its own object, which usually precedes the preposition:
  • She helped the boy to an extra portion of potatoes.
  • with pronouns: She helped him to some.
Prepositional verbs with two prepositions are possible:
  • We talked to the minister about the crisis.

Phrasal-prepositional verbs

A phrasal verb can contain an adverb and a preposition at the same time. Again, the verb itself can have a direct object:
  • no direct object: The driver got off to a flying start.
  • direct object: Onlookers put the accident down to the driver’s loss of concentration.

Phrasal nouns

Phrasal nouns consist of a verb combined with a particle. The particle may come before or after the verb.
  • standby " we are keeping the old equipment on standby, in case of emergency." (ready to be used if necessary)
  • back-up " Neil can provide technical backup if you need it" (support)
  • onset " the match was halted by the onset of rain" ( start of something unpleasant)
  • input " Try to come to the meeting- we'd value your input" (contribution)
Some such nouns have a corresponding phrasal verbs but some don't, the phrasal verb set on exist but it means attack, the verb related to onset is set in. If the particle is in first place, then the phrasal noun is never written with a hyphen, if the particle comes second, then there is sometimes a hyphen between the two parts of the phrasal noun.

Phrasal verbs and modifying adverbs

When modifying adverbs are used alongside particle adverbs intransitively (as particle adverbs usually are), the adverbs can appear in any verb/particle/adverb positions:
  • “He unhappily looked round.”
  • “He looked unhappily round.”
  • “He looked round unhappily.”
The particle adverb here is "round" and the modifying adverb is "unhappily". ("Round" is a particle because it isnot inflected — does not take affixes and alter its form. "Unhappily" is a modifying adverb because it modifies the verb "look").
With a transitive particle verb, the adverb goes either before the verb or after the object or particle, whichever is last:
  • “He cheerfully picked the book up.”
  • “He picked up the book cheerfully.” (not *picked cheerfully up the book)
  • “He picked the book up cheerfully.”
Prepositional verbs are different from transitive particle verbs, because they allow adverbs to appear between the verb and the preposition:
  • “He desperately looked for his keys.
  • “He looked for his keys desperately.
  • “He looked desperately for his keys.

Phrasal verbs combined with special verb forms and clauses

Courtney also includes special verb forms and clauses in phrasal verb constructions.
Phrasal verbs combined with wh-clauses and that-clauses
Sentences which include verb + particle + object(s) + wh-clauses
  • “The teacher tries to dictate to his class what the right thing to do is
= transitive verb + preposition (dictate to) + indirect object (his class) + wh-clause (what the right thing to do is).
  • “My friends called for me when the time came
= transitive verb + preposition (called for) + pronoun (me) + wh-clause (when the time came).
  • Watch out that you don’t hit your head on the low beam
= intransitive verb + adverb (watch out) + that-clause (that you don’t hit your head on the low beam).
Phrasal verbs combined with verb-ing forms
  • “You can’t prevent me from seeing her
= transitive verb + pronoun (prevent me) + preposition (from) + verb-ing form (seeing) + pronoun (her).


  1. ^ Academic Center: English as a Foreign Language Resources
  2. ^ McArthur, Tom: “The Oxford Companion to the English Language”, pp72-76, Oxford University Press, 1992 ISBN 0-19-2114183-X.
  3. ^ Lakoff, G. & Johnson, M., Metaphors We Live By, Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1980: 14-21
  4. ^ Knowles, M. & Moon, R. Introducing Metaphor, London: Routledge, 2006
  5. ^ a b Courtney, Rosemary: "Longman Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs", Longman Group Uk Limited, 1989ISBN 0-582-55530-2 CSD, ISBN 0-582-05864-3 PPR
  6. ^ Cambridge International Dictionary of Phrasal Verbs, Anglais-Français, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1998.
  7. ^ a b Fraser, Bruce, The Verb-Particle Combination in English, Academic Press, 1976.
  8. ^ Gorlach, Marina, Phrasal Constructions and Resultatives in English, John Benjamins Publ. Co., 2004.
  9. ^ English phrasal verb in use, Cambridge university press,2007,Michael Mccarthy, Felicity O'dell

See also


  • Long, Thomas Hill (Editorial Director), Summers, Della (Managing Editor): "Longman Dictionary of English Idioms", Longman Group Limited, 1979 ISBN 0-582-55524-8
  • Macmillan Phrasal Verbs Plus Dictionary, Oxford: Macmillan Education 2005, ISBN 1-405-06390-4
  • Oxford Phrasal Verbs Dictionary. Oxford: OUP. 2001. ISBN 0-19-431543-6.

PHRASAL VERB PAGE by Dennis Oliver

To see definitions and examples for each phrasal verb, select the proper letter below. (For example, choose "A" for "add up.")

 Phrasal Verbs: A

act up (no object): misbehave (for people); not work properly (for machines).
"The babysitter had a difficult time. The childrenacted up all evening."
"I guess I'd better take my car to the garage. It's been acting up lately."
act like (inseparable): behave in a way that's like _____ .
"What's wrong with Bob? He's acting like an idiot."
Note: This phrasal verb is very informal.
add up (1. no object): logically fit together.
"His theory is hard to believe, but his researchadds up."
Note: This phrasal verb is often negative.
"His theory seems, at first, to be plausible, but the facts in his research don't add up."
add up (2. separable): find the total.
"What's the total of those bills? Could you addthem up and see?"
add up to (inseparable): to total.
"The bills add up to $734.96. That's more than I expected!"
ask out (separable): ask for a date.
"Nancy has a new boy friend. Joe asked herout last night."

Phrasal Verbs: B

back down (no object): not follow a threat.
"Tom 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."
back off (no object): not follow a threat.
"Tom was ready to call the police when I told him I'd wrecked his car, but he backed off when I said I'd pay for the damages."
back up (1. no object): move backward; move in reverse.
"You missed the lines in the parking space. You'll have to back up and try again."
"The people waiting in line are too close to the door. We won't be able to open it unless they backup."
back up (2. separable): drive a vehicle backwards (in reverse).
"You're too close! Back your car up so I can open the garage door."
back up (3. separable): confirm a story, facts, or information.
"If you don't believe me, talk to Dave. He'llback me up."
back up (4. separable): make a "protection" copy to use if there are problems with the original.
"When my computer crashed, I lost many of my files. It's a good thing I backed them up."
beg off (no object): decline an invitation; ask to be excused from doing something.
"At first Lily said she would be at the party. Later she begged off."
blow up (1. separable): inflate.
"We needs lots of balloons for the party. Will youblow them up?"
blow up (2. separable): explode; destroy by exploding.
A: "That old building really came down quickly!"
B: "That's because the construction company used dynamite to blowit up."
blow up (3. no object): suddenly become very angry.
"When I told Jerry that I'd had an accident with his car, he blew up."
bone up on (inseparable): review / study thoroughly for a short time.
"If you're going to travel to Peru, you'd betterbone up on your Spanish."
break down (1. separable): separate something into component parts.
"We spent a lot of money at the supermarket. When webroke 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."
break in (1. often no object; with an object, break into--inseparable): enter by using force (and breaking a lock, window, etc.)
"Jane's apartment was burglarized last night. Someonebroke in while Jane was at the movies." / "Somebody broke into Jane's apartment while she was at the movies.
break in (2. separable): wear something new until it's / they're comfortable.
"These are nice shoes, but they're too stiff. I hope it doesn't take too long to break them in."
break in (3. separable): train; get someone / something accustomed to a new routine.
"I hope I can learn my new job quickly. The manager hasn't scheduled much time for breaking mein."
break up (1. no object): disperse; scatter.
"What time did the party break up last night?"
break up (2. usually no object; with an object, breakup with [inseparable)]): end a personal relationship.
"Tim and Julie aren't going steady any more. They got really angry with each other and broke up."
"Have you heard the news? Julie broke up with Tim!"
"I'm sorry to hear that their marriage broke up. I'm sure the divorce will be difficult for the children."
bring / take back (separable): return something.
"Yes, you can borrow my pen, don't forget tobring it back to me when you're finished."
"This book is due tomorrow. I guess I should take itback to the library."
bring off (separable): accomplish something difficult; accomplish something people had considered impossible or unlikely.
"No one thought Chuck could get an A in that course, but he brought it off. "
bring up (1. separable): mention (as a topic of discussion).
"We planned to discuss overtime pay in the meeting. Why didn't someone bring that topic up?"
bring up (2. separable): raise; rear.
"Lucy's parents died when she was a baby. Her grandparents brought her up."
brush up on (inseparable): review / study thoroughly for a short time.
"If you're going to travel to Peru, you'd betterbrush up on your Spanish."
burn down (no object): become destroyed / consumed by fire.
Note: For upright things--trees, buildings, etc.--only.
"Lightning struck Mr. Kennedy's barn last night. It burned down before the fire fighters arrived."
burn up (1. no object): become destroyed / consumed by fire.
Note: For people and non-upright things only.
"All of Mr. Kennedy's hay burned up when his barn burned down."
burn up (2. separable): cause someone to become very angry.
"Did you hear how rudely Fred talked to me? That really burned me up!"
butt in (no object): impolitely interrupt (a conversation, an action).
"Hey, you! Don't butt in! Wait for your turn!"
butter up (separable): praise someone excessively with the hope of getting some benefit.
"I guess Marty reall wants to be promoted. He's beenbuttering his boss up all week."

Phrasal Verbs: C

call off (separable): cancel something that has been scheduled.
"We don't have school today. The mayor calledclasses off because of the snow."
call on (inseparable): ask someone for an answer in class.
"I don't know why the teacher never calls onyou. You always know the answer."
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.
"Why are you so upset? Suzie didn't intend to spill orange juice on you. Calm down!"
"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."
(not) care for (1. inseparable): like; want.
Note: This phrasal verb is usually negative, though it may be used affirmatively in questions.
A: "Would you care for something to drink? We have coffee, tea, or orange juice."
B: "Could I have water, please? I don't care for coffee, tea, or juice."
care for (2. inseparable): take care of; supply care to; attend / watch..
"Amy's father got out of the hospital last week. The family is caring for him at home."
catch on (no object): develop understanding or knowledge of something.
"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."
catch up (with) (often without an object; with an object, inseparable): stop being behind.
"Terry stopped to rest for a few minutes. He'llcatch up / catch up with us later."
check in(to) (inseparable): register for / at a hotel, conference, etc.; let someone know officially that you have arrived.
"My plane will arrive around 5:00 PM. I should be able to check into the hotel by 6:00 or 6:30."
"When you arrive at the convention, be sure to check in at the registration desk."
check off (separable): make a mark to indicate that something on a list has been completed.
"Here are the things you need to do. Pleasecheck each one off when you've finished it."
check out (of) (1. inseparable): follow procedures for leaving (a hotel, etc.)
"Don't forget to take your room key to the front desk when you check out (when you check out ofthe hotel)."
check out (2. separable): follow procedures for borrowing something (usually for a limited period of time).
"I'm sorry, but you can't take that encyclopedia home. The library won't allow you to check reference booksout."
cheer up (separable): help someone feel less worried / depressed / sad.
"Suzie's brother was depressed about not getting a promotion, so she sent him a funny card tocheer himup."
chew out (separable): scold someone severely; berate.
"Tom's father was really angry when Tom didn't come home until 3:00 AM. He chewed Tom outand then said Tom had to stay at home for two weeks."
chicken out (no object): lose the courage or confidence to do something--often at the last minute.
"Sam said he was going to ask Lulu for a date, but hechickened out."
chip in (inseparable): contribute / donate (often money) to something done by a group.
"We're going to buy a birthday cake for our boss and I'm collecting donations. Do you want to chip in?"
clam up (inseparable): suddenly become quiet / refuse to talk about something.
"Lila wouldn't talk about the accident. When I asked her what happened, she clammed up."
come across (inseparable): find (unexpectedly).
"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."
come down with _____ (inseparable): become ill with _____ .
"George won't be at the office today. He came downwith the flu over the weekend."
come to (1. inseparable): total.
"Your charges come to $124.38. Will you pay by check, in cash, or
with a credit card?"
come to (2. no object): regain consciousness.
"When I told Gina that she'd won a million dollars, she fainted. When she
came to, I told her it was a joke and she almost hit me!"
count on (inseparable): depend on; trust that something will happen or that someone
will do as expected.

"I'm counting on you to wake me up tomorrow. I know I won't hear the alarm."
cross out (separable): show that something written is wrong or unnecessary by making an X across it.
"We can't afford to buy everything on your shopping list, so I've crossed all the unnecessary thingsout."
cut back (on) (often without an object; with an object,cut back on [inseparable]): use less of something.
"You drink too much coffee. You should cutback."
"You should cut back on the amount of coffee that you drink."

Phrasal Verbs: D

do in (1. separable): cause to become very tired.
"Those three games of tennis yesterday afternoon really did me in. I slept for ten hours after I got home."
do in (2. separable): to kill; to murder.
"The said that the murdered man was done inbetween 10 and 11 o'clock last night."
do over (separable): do something again.
"Oh, no! I forgot to save my report before I turned the computer off! Now I'll have to do it over!"
drag on (no object): last much longer than expected or is necessary.
"I thought the meeting would be a short one, but itdragged on for more than three hours."
draw up (separable): create a formal document.
"The Ajax and Tip-Top Banks have decided to merge. Their lawyers will draw all the official documents upsometime this month."
drop off (separable): deliver something; deliver someone (by giving him/her a ride).
"Yes, I can take those letters to the post office. I'll drop them off as I go home from work."
"You don't have to take a taxi. You live fairly close to me, so I'll be happy to drop you off."
drop in (on) (inseparable): visit informally (and usually usually without scheduling a specific time).
"If you're in town next month, we'd love to see you. Please try to drop in. (Please try to drop in onus."
drop by (inseparable): visit informally (and usually without scheduling a specific time).
"If you're in town next month, we'd love to see you. Please try to drop by the house."
drop out (of) (inseparable): stop attending / leave school or an organization.
"No, Paul isn't at the university. He dropped out. / He dropped out of school."
draw out (separable): prolong something (usually far beyond the normal limits).
"I thought that speech would never end. The speaker could have said everything important in about five minutes, but hedrew the speech out for over an hour!"

Phrasal Verbs: E

eat out (no object): have a meal in a restaurant.
"I'm too tired to cook tonight. Why don't we eat out?"
egg on (separable): urge / encourage greatly toward doing something (usually something negative).
"At first Bob and Chuck were just having a mild argument, but Bob's friends egged them on until they started fighting."
end up (1. no object): finally arrive at; arrive at an unexpected place.
"We got lost last night and ended up in the next town."
end up (2. no object): arrive somewhere as a result or consequence.
"You're working too hard. If you don't take it easy, you'll end up in the hospital!"

Phrasal Verbs: F

face up to (inseparable): admit to; take responsibility for.
"You can't pretend that you're doing OK in this course, Joe. Sooner or later, you'll have to face up to the fact that you're failing it."
fall through (no object): not happen. (Note:describes something that was planned but didn't happen.)
"We had originally intended to go to Mexico for our vacation, but our trip fell through when I got sick."
fall through (no object): not happen. (Note:describes something that was planned but didn't happen.)
"We had originally intended to go to Mexico for our vacation, but our trip fell through when I got sick."
feel up to (inseparable): feel strong enough or comfortable enough to do something.
"I know the accident was a terrible shock. Do youfeel up to talking about it?"
figure out (1. separable): logically find the answer to aproblem; solve a problem by thinking about it carefully.
"For a long time I couldn't understand the last problem, but I finally figured it out."
figure out (2. separable): understand why someone behaves the way she/he does.
"I can't figure Margie out. Sometimes she's very warm and friendly and sometimes she acts as if she doesn't know me."
fill in (1. separable): add information to a form.
"The office needs to know your home address and phone number. Could you fill them in on this form?"
fill in (on) (2. separable): supply information that someone doesn't know.
"I wasn't able to attend the meeting yesterday, but I understand that it was important. Could you fillme in? / Could you fill me in on what was discussed?"
fill in for (inseparable): temporarily do someone else's work; temporarily substitute for another person.
"Professor Newton is in the hospital and won't be able to teach for the rest of the term. Do you know who's going to fill in for her?"
fill out (1. separable): complete a form by adding required information.
"Of course I completed my application! I filledit out and mailed it over three weeks ago!"
fill out (2. no object): become less thin; gain weight.
"Jerry used to be really skinny, but in the last year he's begun to fill out."
find out (about) (inseparable): learn / get information (about).
"I'm sorry that you didn't know the meeting had been canceled. I didn't find out (find out about it) myself until just a few minutes ago."

Phrasal Verbs: G

get across (separable): make something understood; communicate something understandably.
"Alan is really intelligent but sometimes he has problems getting his ideas across."
get along (with) (inseparable): have a friendly relationship (with); be friendly (toward).
"Why can't you and your sister get along? Everyone else gets along with her just fine!"
get around (1. inseparable): avoid having to do something.
"Teresa got around the required math classes by doing well on a math proficiency test."
get around (2. no object): move from place to place.
"She doesn't have a car. She gets around by bicycle, bus, or taxi."
get around to (inseparable): do something eventually.
"I really should wash the dishes, but I don't feel like it. Maybe I'll get around to them tomorrow morning."
get by (no object): survive, financially, in a difficult situation.
"It's going to be hard to pay the rent now that you've lost your job, but somehow we'll get by."
get in (1. inseparable): enter a small, closed vehicle.
"I don't know where Carole was going. She just got in her car and drove away."
get in (2. no object): arrive.
"Do you know what time Fred's plane gets in?"
get on (inseparable): enter a large, closed vehicle.
"I'm sorry, but you're too late to say goodbye toAngela. She got on the plane about 20 minutes ago."
get off (1. inseparable): leave a large, closed vehicle.
"When you get off the bus, cross the street, turn right on Oak Street, and keep going until you're at the corner of Oak and Lincoln Boulevard."
get off (2. separable): be excused (for a period of time) from work, class, or other regularly scheduled activities.
"Some schools got President's Day offbut ours didn't. We had classes as usual."
get off (3. separable): make it possible for someone toavoid punishment.
"Everyone knew he was guilty, but his lawyer was clever and got him off."
get out of (1. inseparable): leave a small, closed vehicle.
"There's something wrong with the garage door opener. You'll have to get out of the car and open it by hand."
get out of (2. inseparable): escape having to do something.
"Lisa said she had a terrible headache and got out of giving her speech today."
get over (1. no object): finish. (Note: for individual activities, not ones that happen again and again.)
"What time do your classes get over?"
get over (2. inseparable): recover from an illness or painful experience.
"Katy was really upset when she failed the test. She thought she would never get over feeling so stupid."
get rid of (1. inseparable): dispose of; give away or throw away.
"That shirt is really ugly. Why don't you getrid of it?"
get rid of (2. inseparable): dismiss someone; fire someone from a job; cause someone to leave.
"The treasurer of the XYZ company was spending too much money so the company president got rid of him."
get up (usually no object; with an object, separable): leave bed after sleeping and begin your daily activities.
"You'll have to get up much earlier than usualtomorrow. We have to leave by no later than 6:00 AM."
"I know I won't hear the alarm tomorrow morning. Can youget me up at 6:00 AM?"
give up (1. separable): stop doing something (usually a habit).
"He knows smoking isn't good for his health, but he can't give it up."
give up (2. no object): decide not to try (unsuccessfully)to solve a problem.
A: "What's black and white and red all over?"
B: "I give up. What?"
A: "An embarrassed zebra!"

go out with (inseparable): have a date with.
"You went out with Sharon last night, didn't you?"
go with (1. no object): look pleasing together. (Note: for clothes, furniture, etc.)
"You should buy that shirt. It will go wellwith your dark brown suit."
go with (2. no object): date regularly and steadily.
"Is Gina going with Jim? I see them together all the time."
goof off (no object): be lazy; do nothing in particular.
A: "Do you have any special plans for your vacation?"
B: "No. I'm just going to stay home and goof off."

grow up (1. no object): spend the years between being a child and being an adult.
"Did you know that Frank grew up in Malaysia?"
grow up (2. no object): behave responsibly; behave as an adult, not a child.
A: "Lee really irritates me sometimes. He's really silly and childish."
B: "I agree. I wish he would grow up."

Phrasal Verbs: H

hand in (separable): submit homework, an assignment, etc.
"You'd better get started on your report. You know that you have to hand it in at 8:30 tomorrow morning!"
hand out (separable): distribute.
"Why don't you have a course description and list of assignments? The teacher handed them out on the first day of class."
hang up (no object): end a phone conversation by replacing the receiver.
"I'd like to talk longer, but I'd better hang up. My sister needs to make a call."
have to do with (inseparable): be about.
"This class has to do with the behavior of people in groups."
hold up (1. separable): raise; lift to a higher-than-normal position.
"The winner of the race proudly held his trophyup for all to see."
hold up (2. separable): delay.
"I'm sorry I'm late. There was an accident on the freeway and traffic held me up."
hold up (3. separable): rob; threaten someone with harm unless he/she gives her/his money or other valuable things.
"Sarah is very upset. When she was walking home last night, two men held her up and took her purse and jewelry."

Phrasal Verbs: I

iron out (separable): mutually reach an agreement; mutually resolve difficulties
"Yes, I know we disagree on lots of things, Susan, but we can iron them out."

Phrasal Verbs: J

jack up (1. separable): raise / life by using a jack.
"We'll have to jack the back of the carup before we can change the tire."
jack up (2. separable): raise (used for prices).
"The car dealer bought my old Ford for $750 andjacked the price up to $1,500 when they sold it."
jump all over (inseparable): severely scold someone; berate someone.
"Arthur is really upset. His boss jumped all over him because he's been late for work three times this week."

Phrasal Verbs: K

keep on (1. inseparable--followed by an -ing verb): continue
"I'm not ready to stop yet. I think I'll keep on working for a while."
keep on (someone) (2. inseparable): continue to remind someone to do something until he/she does it (even if this irritates her/him).
"Bill's very forgetful. You'll have to keep onhim or he'll never do all the things you want him to do."
kick out (separable): expel; force someone to leave because of his/her poor performance or unacceptable behavior.
"Jim's club kicked him out because he didn't pay his dues or come to meetings."
knock out (separable): make unconscious.
"The boxing match ended when one boxer knockedthe other one out."
"That medicine really knocked me out. I slept for 14 hours straight!"
knock oneself out (separable): work much harder than normal or than what is expected.
"We completed the project on timebecause of Chuck. Heknocked himself out to be sure we didn't miss the deadline."

Phrasal Verbs: L

lay off (separable): dismiss someone from a job because of lack of work or money (not because of poor performance)
"I feel really sorry Sally's family. Her father waslaid off yesterday."
leave out (separable): forget; omit.
"Oh, no! When I made the list of those who attended the meeting, I left your name out!"
let down (separable): disappoint.
"I know I let you down when I didn't do what I promised. I'm really sorry."
let up (no object): become less intense or slower.
"It's been raining hard for a long time. Will it everlet up?"
look back on (inseparable): remember; reflect on / consider something in the past.
"When they looked back on their many years together, they realized that their marriage had been a very happyone."
look down on (inseparable): hold in contempt; regard as inferior.
"It's not surprising that Fred has few friends. He seems to look down on anyone who doesn't like the same things that he does."
look forward to (inseparable): anticipate pleasantly; think about a pleasant thing before it happens
"I'm really looking forward to vacation. I can't wait for it to begin!"
look in on (inseparable): visit in order to check something's / someone's condition.
"My father just came home from the hospital. I plan tolook in on him today after I finish work."
look into (inseparable): investigate / get more details about something.
"Someone said there was a meeting at 9:30 but I haven't heard anything about it. Shall I look intoit?"
look like (inseparable): resemble (in appearance).
"Does he look like his father or his mother?"
look over (separable): check; review.
"I think I may have some typos in this report. Could you look it over?"
look up (1. separable): find something in a reference work.
"I'm sorry, but I don't know what that word means. I'll have to look it up."
look up (2. separable): find where someone lives or worksand visit him/her.
"Thanks for giving me your brother's address. When I'm in Chicago next month, I'll be sure to lookhim up."
look up to (inseparable): respect.
"Everyone looks up to Joyce because she always makes time to help others."
luck out (no object): be unexpectedly lucky.
"Gloria was worried because she wasn't prepared to give a report at the meeting, but she lucked out because the meeting was postponed."

Phrasal Verbs: M

make fun of (inseparable): make jokes about (usually unkindly).
"I agree that Bob looks ridiculous since he shaved his head, but don't make fun of him. You'll hurt his feelings."
make up (1. separable): invent / create (imaginary) information.
"Judy's story is hard to believe. I'm sure shemade it up."
make up (2. separable): compensate for something missed or not done by doing extra or equivalent work.
"I'm sorry I missed the test. May I make itup?"
make up (with) (3. inseparable): re-establish a friendly relationship by admitting guilt.
"Jack and his girlfriend were very angry with each other, but last night they finally made up."
"Jack and his girlfriend were very angry with each other, but last night they finally made up witheach other."
make out (separable): see / hear something well enough to understand what it means. (Note: often negative.)
"Ruth's writing is very small. I almost need a magnify glass to make it out."
"What were the last two examples that he gave? I couldn'tmake them out."
make for (1. inseparable): go to or toward.
"Her teen-aged children are always hungry. As soon as they arrive home from school, they make for the refrigerator."
make for (2. inseparable): result in; cause.
"Many hands make for light work. (If many people work together, there's less work for everyone.)"
mark up (separable): increase the price (for resale).
"Mrs. White's import shop is profitable because she buys things inexpensively and then marksthem up."
mark down (separable): reduce the price (as an incentive to buy).
"These shoes were really a bargain! The storemarked them down by 40%!"
mix up (separable): cause to become confused.
"I didn't complete the assignment because I didn't know how. The directions mixed me up."

Phrasal Verbs: N

nod off (no object): fall sleep (usually unintentionally).
"The speech was so boring that several people in the audience nodded off before it was finished."

Phrasal Verbs: P

pan out (no object): succeed; happen as expected (for plans). (Note: almost always negative when in statements.)
"I'll be here next week after all. My trip to Chicago didn't pan out."
pass away (no object): die.
"I was very sorry to hear that your grandfatherpassed away."
pass out (1. no object): faint; lose consciousness.
"When Ella heard that she'd won a million dollars, she was so shocked that she passed out."
pass out (2. separable): distribute.
"Everyone in the room needs one of these information sheets. Who will help me pass them out?"
pick out (separable): choose; select.
"Billy's grandmother especially liked her birthday card because Billy had picked it out himself."
pick up (1. separable): lift; take up.
"Those books don't belong on the floor. Will you help me pick them up?"
pick up (2. separable): arrange to meet someone and give her/him a ride.
"Of course we can go there together. What time should I pick you up?"
pick up (3. separable): get; buy.
"The children just drank the last of the milk. Could you pick some more up on your way home this evening?"
pick up (4. separable): refresh; revitalize.
"He was feeling a little tired, so he drank a glass of orange juice. It picked him up enough to finish his work."
pick on (inseparable): bully; intentionally try to make someone upset.
"You should be ashamed of teasing your little brother, Bob! Pick on someone your own size!"
pitch in (no object): help; join together to accomplish something.
"We'll be finished soon if everyone pitches in."
pull over (no object): drive a vehicle to the side of the rode.
"When the policeman indicated that I should pull over, I knew he was going to give me a ticket."
put away (separable): return something to the proper place.
"I just took these clothes out of the dryer. Will you help me put them away?"
put off (1. separable): postpone; delay; avoid
"I can't put this work off any longer. If I don't do it soon, it'll be impossible to finish it in time."
"When will Mr. Smith agree to a meeting? I keep asking for an appointment, but he keeps puttingme off."
put on (1. separable): begin to wear; don.
"It's a little bit chilly outside. You'd betterput a sweater on."
put on (2. separable): try to make someone believe something that is ridiculous or untrue.
"Don't believe a word of what Jim was saying. He was just putting us on."
put (someone) out (separable): inconvenience someone.
"I hate to put you out, but I need a ride to the train station and hope you can take me."
put up (1. separable): return something to the proper place.
"Your toys are all over the floor, Timmy. Pleaseput them up."
put up (2. separable): provide someone with a place tosleep.
"There's no need for you to check into a hotel. I'll be happy to put you up."
put up with (inseparable): tolerate.
"It's really important to come to work on time. The boss won't put up with tardiness."
put back (separable): return something to the proper place.
"I've finished with these books. Do you want me toput them back on the shelves?"

Phrasal Verbs: R

rip off (separable): cheat; take advantage of; charge too much.
"Don't even think about buying a car there. They'llrip you off."
round off (separable): change from a fraction to the nearest whole number.
"Round all prices off to the closest whole-dollar amounts. For example, round $33.73 off to $34.00."
run into (inseparable): meet by chance.
"Yesterday at the supermarket, Jan ran into her former roommate. Before yesterday, they hadn't seen each other for nearly five years."
run out of (inseparable): use the last of.
"On the way home from work, Art ran out ofgas."

Phrasal Verbs: S

set up(separable): make arrangements for something.
"You'll see Mr. Thomas tomorrow. I've set a meeting up for 9:30 AM."
set back (1. separable): cause a delay in scheduling.
"We've had some problems with the project that have set us back at least two days . We'll give you a progress report tomorrow."
set back (2. separable): cost.
"I wonder how much Bill's new car set him back?"
slip up(no object): make a mistake.
"You slipped up here. The amount should be $135.28, not $132.58."
stand out (no object): be noticeably better than other similar people or things.
"Good job, Ann! Your work really stands out!"
stand up (1. no object): rise to a standing position.
"When the Chairperson entered the room, everyone stood up."
stand up (2. separable): make a date but not keep it.
"Angela was supposed to go to the dance with Fred, but she stood him up and went with Chuck instead."
show up (1. no object): arrive; appear.
"The boss was very upset when you didn't show up for the meeting. What happened?"
show up (2. separable): do a noticeably better job (often unexpectedly) than someone else.
"Everyone thought Marsha would win, but Jean did. Actually, Jean really showed Marsha up."
stand for (1. no object): represent.
"These letters seem to be an abbreviation. Do you know what they stand for?"
stand for (2. inseparable): tolerate; permit (usually negative).
"I'm not surprised that Mrs. Johnson rejected your report. She won't stand for shoddy work."

Phrasal Verbs: T

take after (inseparable): resemble; favor (in appearance).
Note: used for people.
"Both my sister and I take after our father."
take / bring back (separable): return.
"This book is due tomorrow. I guess I shouldtake it back to the library."
"Yes, you can borrow my pen, but don't forget to bring itback to me when you're finished."
take care of (1. inseparable): provide care for; watch one's health.
"Lois has been taking care of her father since he returned home from the hospital."
"You've been working too hard lately. You'd better take care of yourself!"
take care of (2. ineparable): make arrangements (forsomething to happen); take responsibility for.
"Will you take care of making reservations forour flight to Boston?"
take off (1. separable): remove (something you're wearing).
"Please take your hat off when you go inside a building."
take off (2. no object): leave; depart (often suddenly or quickly).
"Was something wrong with Jill? She took offwithout saying goodbye."
"When does your plane take off?"
take off (3. separable): make arrangements to be absent from work.
"Susan isn't here today. She's taking today and tomorrow off."
take up (separable): begin (a hobby or leisure-time activity).
A: "Do you like to ski?"
B: "I've never been skiing, but I think I'd like to take itup."
tell (someone) off (separable): speak to someone bluntly and negatively, saying exactly what she/he did wrong.
"Julie was really angry at Bob; she told himoff in front of all of us."
tick off (1. separable): irritate someone; make someone upset or angry.
"It really ticks her off when someone is late for an appointment."
tick off (2. separable): show that something has been completed by putting a tick (check) beside it.
"Here are the things you need to do. Tick each one off when you finish it."
throw away (separable): discard; put in the garbage.
"You shouldn't throw those newspapersaway; they're recyclable."
throw out (1. separable): discard; put in the garbage.
"This food smells bad. You'd better throw itout."
throw out (2. separable): forcibly make someone leave (usually because of bad behavior).
"Those people are drunk and making everyone uncomfortable. The manager should throw themout."
throw up (usually no object; with an object, separable): vomit.
"Paul was so nervous about his job interview that hethrew up just before he left for it."
try on (separable): wear something briefly to check its fit, how it looks, etc.
"I'm not sure that jacket is large enough. May Itry it on?"
try out (separable): use a machine briefly to determine how well it works.
"I really like the way this car looks. May Itry it out?"
try out (for) (inseparable): try to win a place on a team or other organization.
"I know you want to be on the football team. Are you going to try out?"
"If you like to sing, you should try out for the choir.
turn around (1. usually no object): move so that you are facing the opposite direction.
"Everyone turned around and stared when I entered the meeting late."
turn around (2. separable): move so that someone / something is facing the opposite direction.
"I don't want this chair facing the window. Will you help me turn it around?"
turn around (3. separable): make changes so that something that was unprofitable is profitable.
"The company was doing poorly until it hired a new president. He turned it around in about six months and now it's doing quite well."
turn down (1. separable): decrease the volume.
"Your music is giving me a headache! Pleaseturn it down or use your headphones!"
turn down (2. separable): refuse.
"I thought I could borrow some money from Joe, but when I asked, he turned me down."
turn in (1. separable): give / deliver / submit to someone.
"I've written my report, but I haven't turnedit in."
turn in (2. no object): go to bed.
"I'm pretty tired. I guess I'll turn in."
turn in (3. separable): report or deliver wrongdoers to the authorities.
"Two days after the robbery, the thieves turnedthemselves in."
turn off (1. separable): stop by turning a handle or switch.
"I'm cold. Do you mind if I turn the air conditioner off?"
turn off (2. separable): bore; repel (very informal).
"That music turns me off. Please play something else!"
turn on (1. separable): start by turning a handle or switch.
"It's cold in here. I'm going to turn the heater on"
turn on (2. separable): interest very much; excite (very informal).
"What kind of music turns you on?"
turn up (1. separable): increase the volume.
"I can barely hear the TV. Can you turn itup a little?"
turn up (2. no object): appear unexpectedly.
"We were all surprised when Pam turned up at the party. We didn't even know she was in town."

Phrasal Verbs: W

wait on (1. inseparable): serve (usually customers in a restaurant, shop, etc.)
"I want to make a complaint. The person who justwaited on me was very impolite."
wait for (inseparable): wait until someone / something arrives or is finished with something else.
"When will Kenny be finished with work? I've beenwaiting for him for almost an hour!"
"I'm tired of waiting for the bus. I guess I'll take a taxi instead."
wake up (1. no object): stop sleeping.
"I usually wake up around 5:00 AM each day."
wake up (2. separable): rouse someone; cause someone to stop sleeping.
"I have an important meeting tomorrow and I'm afraid I won't hear my alarm. Will you wake me upat 6:00 AM?"
watch out for (inseparable): be careful of; beware of.
"There's a school at the end of this block.Watch out for children crossing the street."
"If you take that road, watch out for ice during the winter."
wear out (1. separable): wear something / use something until it can no longer be worn / be used.
"I need a new pencil sharpener. I wore this oneout."
"I suppose I should get some new shoes. I've almost wornthis pair out."
wear out (2. separable): cause to become exhausted; cause to become very tired.
"I had four different meetings today. They woreme out."
"I suppose I should get some new shoes. I've almost wornthis pair out."
work out (1. no object): exercise (usually in a gym, etc.) to build muscles, body tone, etc.
"Instead of eating lunch on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Sheila goes to the recreation center to work out."
work out (2. separable): solve a problem / resolve a difficult situation (usually by working together).
"I know we disagree on many points, but I believe we can work things out."
wrap up (1. no object): wear enough clothes to keep warm.
"It's really cold today. Be sure you wrap upwhen you leave the house."
wrap up (2. separable): finish something; bring something to a conclusion.
"We've been talking about the problem for nearly three hours. 
I hope we'll be able to wrap the discussion up soon."

write down (separable): record something in writing.
"Could you tell me your e-mail address again? I want to write it down."
write up (separable): record; report in writing.
"You'll need to make a report on your business meetings. Be sure you write them up as soon as possibleafter you return from your trip."

Phrasal Verbs: Z

zonk out (no object): fall asleep quickly because of exhaustion.
"I intended to go shopping after work, but I was so tired that I zonked out as soon as I got home."

Phrasal Verbs List

Phrasal verbs are usually two-word phrases consisting of verb + adverb or verb + preposition. Think of them as you would any other English vocabulary. Study them as you come across them, rather than trying to memorize many at once. Use the list below as a reference guide when you find an expression that you don't recognize. The examples will help you understand the meanings. If you think of each phrasal verb as a separate verb with a specific meaning, you will be able to remember it more easily. Like many other verbs, phrasal verbs often have more than one meaning.

As well as learning their meanings, you need to learn how to use phrasal verbs properly. Some phrasal verbs require a direct object (someone/something), while others do not. Some phrasal verbs can be separated by the object, while others cannot. Review this phrasal verbs grammar from time to time so that you don't forget the rules!

ask someone outinvite on a dateBrian asked Judy out to dinner and a movie.
ask aroundask many people the same questionI asked around but nobody has seen my wallet.
add up to somethingequalYour purchases add up to $205.32.
back something upreverseYou'll have to back up your car so that I can get out.
back someone upsupportMy wife backed me up over my decision to quit my job.
blow upexplodeThe racing car blew up after it crashed into the fence.
blow something 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.
break something downdivide into smaller partsOur teacher broke the final project down into three separate parts.
break inforce entry to a buildingSomebody broke in last night and stole our stereo.
break into somethingenter forciblyThe firemen had to break into the room to rescue the children.
break something 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 in somethingdevelop a skin conditionI broke out in a rash after our camping trip.
bring someone downmake unhappyThis sad music is bringing me down.
bring someone upraise a childMy grandparents brought me up after my parents died.
bring something upstart talking about a subjectMy mother walks out of the room when my father brings up sports.
bring something 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 someone backreturn a phone callI called the company back but the offices were closed for the weekend.
call something offcancelJason called the wedding off because he wasn't in love with his fiancé.
call on someoneask for an answer or opinionThe professor called on me for question 1.
call on someonevisit someoneWe called on you last night but you weren't home.
call someone upphoneGive me your phone number and I will call you up when we are in town.
calm downrelax after being angryYou are still mad. You need to calm down before you drive the car.
not care for someone/somethingnot like (formal)I don't care for his behaviour.
catch upget to the same point as someone 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.
check someone/something outlook at carefully, investigateThe company checks out all new employees.
check out someone/somethinglook at (informal)Check out the crazy hair on that guy!
cheer upbecome happierShe cheered up when she heard the good news.
cheer someone upmake happierI brought you some flowers to cheer you up.
chip inhelpIf everyone chips in we can get the kitchen painted by noon.
clean something uptidy, cleanPlease clean up your bedroom before you go outside.
come across somethingfind unexpectedlyI came across these old photos when I was tidying the closet.
come apartseparateThe top and bottom come apart if you pull hard enough.
come down with somethingbecome 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 from somewhereoriginate inThe art of origami comes from Asia.
count on someone/somethingrely onI am counting on you to make dinner while I am out.
cross something outdraw a line throughPlease cross out your old address and write your new one.
cut back on somethingconsume lessMy doctor wants me to cut back on sweets and fatty foods.
cut something downmake 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 something offremove with something sharpThe doctors cut off his leg because it was severely injured.
cut something offstop providingThe phone company cut off our phone because we didn't pay the bill.
cut someone offtake out of a willMy grandparents cut my father off when he remarried.
cut something outremove part of something (usually with scissors and paper)I cut this ad out of the newspaper.
do someone/something overbeat up, ransack (Br.E., informal)He's lucky to be alive. His shop was done over by a street gang.
do something overdo again (N.Amer.)My teacher wants me to do my essay over because she doesn't like my topic.
do away with somethingdiscardIt's time to do away with all of these old tax records.
do something upfasten, 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.
drop someone/something offtake someone/something somewhere and leave them/it thereI have to drop my sister off at work before I come over.
drop outquit a class, school etcI dropped 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.
figure something outunderstand, find the answerI need to figure out how to fit the piano and the bookshelf in this room.
fill something into write information in blanks (Br.E.)Please fill in the form with your name, address, and phone number.
fill something outto write information in blanks (N.Amer.)The form must be filled out in capital letters.
fill something upfill 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 something outdiscoverWe tried to keep the time of the party a secret, but Samantha found it out.
get something across/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 with somethingdo without being noticed or punishedJason always gets away with cheating in his maths tests.
get backreturnWe got back from our vacation last week.
get something backreceive something you had beforeLiz finally got her Science notes back from my room-mate.
get back at someoneretaliate, take revengeMy sister got back at me for stealing her shoes. She stole my favourite hat.
get back into somethingbecome interested in something againI finally got back into my novel and finished it.
get on somethingstep onto a vehicleWe're going to freeze out here if you don't let us get on the bus.
get over somethingrecover from an illness, loss, difficultyI just got over the flu and now my sister has it.
get over somethingovercome a problemThe company will have to close if it can't get over the new regulations.
get round to somethingfinally find time to do (N.Amer.: 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 bedI got up early today to study for my exam.
get upstandYou should get up and give the elderly man your seat.
give someone awayreveal hidden information about someoneHis wife gave him away to the police.
give someone awaytake the bride to the altarMy father gave me away at my wedding.
give something awayruin a secretMy little sister gave the surprise party away by accident.
give something awaygive something to someone for freeThe library was giving away old books on Friday.
give something backreturn 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.
give something outgive to many people (usually at no cost)They were giving out free perfume samples at the department store.
give something upquit a habitI am giving up smoking as of January 1st.
give upstop tryingMy maths homework was too difficult so I gave up.
go after someonefollow someoneMy brother tried to go after the thief in his car.
go after somethingtry to achieve somethingI went after my dream and now I am a published writer.
go against someonecompete, 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 with someonedateJesse has been going out with Luke since they met last winter.
go over somethingreviewPlease go over your answers before you submit your test.
go overvisit someone nearbyI haven't seen Tina for a long time. I think I'll go over for an hour or two.
go without somethingsuffer lack or deprivationWhen I was young, we went without winter 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 upbecome an adultWhen Jack grows up he wants to be a fireman.
grow out of somethingget too big forElizabeth needs a new pair of shoes because she has grown out of her old ones.
grow into somethinggrow big enough to fitThis bike is too big for him now, but he should grow into it by next year.
hand something downgive something used to someone elseI handed my old comic books down to my little cousin.
hand something insubmitI have to hand in my essay by Friday.
hand something outto distribute to a group of peopleWe will hand out the invitations at the door.
hand something overgive (usually unwillingly)The police asked the man to hand over his wallet and his weapons.
hang instay positive (N.Amer., 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.
hold someone/something backprevent from doing/goingI had to hold my dog back because there was a cat in the park.
hold something backhide 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 onto someone/somethinghold firmly using your hands or armsHold onto your hat because it's very windy outside.
hold someone/somethinguprobA man in a black mask held the bank up this morning.
keep on doing somethingcontinue doingKeep on stirring until the liquid comes to a boil.
keep something from someonenot tellWe kept our relationship from our parents for two years.
keep someone/something outstop from enteringTry to keep the wet dog out of the living room.
keep something upcontinue at the same rateIf you keep those results up you will get into a great college.
let someone downfail to support or help, disappointI need you to be on time. Don't let me down this time.
let someone inallow to enterCan you let the cat in before you go to school?
look after someone/somethingtake care ofI have to look after my sick grandmother.
look down on someonethink less of, consider inferiorEver since we stole that chocolate bar your dad has looked down on me.
look for someone/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 into somethinginvestigateWe 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 for someone/somethingbe especially vigilant forDon't forget to look out for snakes on the hiking trail.
look something overcheck, examineCan you look over my essay for spelling mistakes?
look something upsearch and find information in a reference book or databaseWe can look her phone number up on the Internet.
look up to someonehave a lot of respect forMy little sister has always looked up to me.
make something 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.
make someone upapply cosmetics toMy sisters made me up for my graduation party.
mix something upconfuse two or more thingsI mixed 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.
pass something outgive the same thing to many peopleThe professor passed the textbooks out before class.
pass something updecline (usually something good)I passed up the job because I am afraid of change.
pay someone backreturn owed moneyThanks for buying my ticket. I'll pay you back on Friday.
pay for somethingbe punished for doing something badThat bully will pay for being mean to my little brother.
pick something outchooseI picked out three sweaters for you to try on.
point someone/something outindicate with your fingerI'll point my boyfriend out when he runs by.
put something downput what you are holding on a surface or floorYou can put the groceries down on the kitchen counter.
put someone downinsult, make someone feel stupidThe students put the substitute teacher down because his pants were too short.
put something offpostponeWe are putting off our trip until January because of the hurricane.
put something outextinguishThe neighbours put the fire out before the firemen arrived.
put something togetherassembleI have to put the crib together before the baby arrives.
put up with someone/somethingtolerateI don't think I can put up with three small children in the car.
put something onput clothing/accessories on your bodyDon't forget to put on your new earrings for the party.
run into someone/somethingmeet unexpectedlyI ran into an old school-friend at the mall.
run over someone/somethingdrive a vehicle over a person or thingI accidentally ran over your bicycle in the driveway.
run over/through somethingrehearse, 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.
send something backreturn (usually by mail)My letter got sent back to me because I used the wrong stamp.
set something uparrange, organizeOur boss set a meeting up with the president of the company.
set someone uptrick, 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 something outorganize, resolve a problemWe need to sort the bills out before the first of the month.
stick to somethingcontinue doing something, limit yourself to one particular thingYou will lose weight if you stick to the diet.
switch something offstop the energy flow, turn offThe light's too bright. Could you switch it off.
switch something onstart the energy flow, turn onWe heard the news as soon as we switched on the car radio.
take after someoneresemble a family memberI take after my mother. We are both impatient.
take something apartpurposely break into piecesHe took the car brakes apart and found the problem.
take something backreturn an itemI have to take our new TV back because it doesn't work.
take offstart to flyMy plane takes off in five minutes.
take something offremove something (usually clothing)Take off your socks and shoes and come in the lake!
take something outremove from a place or thingCan you take the garbage out to the street for me?
take someone outpay for someone to go somewhere with youMy grandparents took us out for dinner and a movie.
tear something uprip into piecesI tore 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.
think something overconsiderI'll have to think this job offer over before I make my final decision.
throw something awaydispose ofWe threw our old furniture away when we won the lottery.
turn something downdecrease the volume or strength (heat, light etc)Please turn the TV down while the guests are here.
turn something downrefuseI turned the job down because I don't want to move.
turn something offstop the energy flow, switch offYour mother wants you to turn the TV off and come for dinner.
turn something onstart the energy, switch onIt's too dark in here. Let's turn some lights on.
turn something 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 something onsample clothingI'm going to try these jeans on, but I don't think they will fit.
try something outtestI am going to try this new brand of detergent out.
use something upfinish 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.
warm someone/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 outexerciseI work out at the gym three times a week.
work outbe successfulOur plan worked out fine.
work something outmake a calculationWe have to work out the total cost before we buy the house.

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