Phrasal verbs are usually two-word phrases consisting of verb + adverb or verb + preposition. Think of them as any other English vocabulary. Study them as you come across them, rather than trying to memorize many at once. Check here most common phrasal verbs with meaning and examples.
This is a list of about 200 common phrasal verbs, with meanings and examples.
Phrasal verbs are usually two-word phrases consisting of verb + adverb or verb + preposition. Think of them as 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.
Most phrasal verbs consist of two words, but a few consist of three words, which always stay together
invite on a date
Brian asked Judy out to dinner and a movie.
ask many people the same question
I asked around but nobody has seen my wallet.
add up to something
Your purchases add up to $205.32.
You’ll have to back up your car so that I can get out.
My wife backed me up over my decision to quit my job.
The racing car blew upafter it crashed into the fence.
We have to blow50 balloons up for the party.
stop functioning (vehicle, machine)
Our car broke down at the side of the highway in the snowstorm.
The woman brokedown when the police told her that her son had died.
divide into smaller parts
Our teacher broke the final project down into three separate parts.
force entry to a building
Somebody brokeinlast night and stole our stereo.
The firemen had to breakintothe room to rescue the children.
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.
The TV station broke in to report the news of the president’s death.
end a relationship
My boyfriend and I broke up before I moved to America.
start laughing (informal)
The kids just broke up as soon as the clown started talking.
The prisoners broke out of jail when the guards weren’t looking.
develop a skin condition
I broke out in a rash after our camping trip.
This sad music is bringingme down.
raise a child
My grandparents broughtme up after my parents died.
start talking about a subject
My mother walks out of the room when my father bringsup sports.
He drank so much that he broughthis dinner up in the toilet.
phone many different places/people
We calledaround but we weren’t able to find the car part we needed.
return a phone call
I called the company back but the offices were closed for the weekend.
Jason calledthe wedding offbecause he wasn’t in love with his fiancé.
ask for an answer or opinion
The professor called onme for question 1.
We calledonyou last night but you weren’t home.
Give me your phone number and I will callyou up when we are in town.
relax after being angry
You are still mad. You need to calmdownbefore you drive the car.
not care for someone/something
not like (formal)
I don’t care for his behaviour.
get to the same point as someone else
You’ll have to run faster than that if you want to catch up with Marty.
arrive and register at a hotel or airport
We will get the hotel keys when we check in.
leave a hotel
You have to check out of the hotel before 11:00 AM.
look at carefully, investigate
The company checksoutall new employees.
look at (informal)
Check outthe crazy hair on that guy!
She cheered upwhen she heard the good news.
I brought you some flowers to cheeryou up.
If everyone chips in we can get the kitchen painted by noon.
Please cleanupyour bedroom before you go outside.
I came across these old photos when I was tidying the closet.
The top and bottom come apart if you pull hard enough.
My nephew came down with chicken pox this weekend.
volunteer for a task or to give evidence
The woman cameforwardwith her husband’s finger prints.
The art of origami comesfrom Asia.
count on someone/something
I am counting on you to make dinner while I am out.
draw a line through
Please cross outyour old address and write your new one.
cutback on something
My doctor wants me to cut back on sweets and fatty foods.
make something fall to the ground
We had to cut the old tree in our yard down after the storm.
Your father cut in while I was dancing with your uncle.
pull in too closely in front of another vehicle
The bus driver got angry when that car cut in.
start operating (of an engine or electrical device)
The air conditioner cuts in when the temperature gets to 22ºC.
remove with something sharp
The doctors cut off his leg because it was severely injured.
The phone company cutoffour phone because we didn’t pay the bill.
take out of a will
My grandparents cut my father offwhen he remarried.
remove part of something (usually with scissors and paper)
I cut this ad out of the newspaper.
beat up, ransack (Br.E., informal)
He’s lucky to be alive. His shop was done over by a street gang.
do again (N.Amer.)
My teacher wants me to do my essay over because she doesn’t like my topic.
do away with something
It’s time to do away with all of these old tax records.
Doyour coat up before you go outside. It’s snowing!
wear nice clothing
It’s a fancy restaurant so we have to dress up.
move back in a position/group
Andrea dropped backto third place when she fell off her bike.
come without an appointment
I might drop in/by/over for tea some time this week.
take someone/something somewhere and leave them/it there
I have to drop my sister off at work before I come over.
quit a class, school etc
I dropped out of Science because it was too difficult.
eat at a restaurant
I don’t feel like cooking tonight. Let’s eat out.
We ended up renting a movie instead of going to the theatre.
break into pieces
My new dress fell apartin the washing machine.
fall to the ground
The picture that you hung up last night felldown this morning.
separate from an interior
The money must have fallenout of my pocket.
(of hair, teeth) become loose and unattached
His hair started to fall out when he was only 35.
understand, find the answer
I need to figure out how to fit the piano and the bookshelf in this room.
to write information in blanks (Br.E.)
Please fillinthe form with your name, address, and phone number.
to write information in blanks (N.Amer.)
The form must be filledoutin capital letters.
fill to the top
I always fill the water jug up when it is empty.
We don’t know where he lives. How can we find out?
We tried to keep the time of the party a secret, but
Samantha foundit out.
communicate, make understandable
I tried to get my point across/over to the judge but she wouldn’t listen.
like each other
I was surprised how well my new girlfriend and my sister got along/on.
My grandfather can get around fine in his new wheelchair.
go on a vacation
We worked so hard this year that we had to get away for a week.
get away with something
do without being noticed or punished
Jason always gets away with cheating in his maths tests.
We got back from our vacation last week.
receive something you had before
Liz finally got her Science notes back from my room- mate.
get back at someone
retaliate, take revenge
My sister gotback at me for stealing her shoes. She stole my favourite hat.
get back into something
become interested in something again
I finally got back into my novel and finished it.
get on something
step onto a vehicle
We’re going to freeze out here if you don’t let us get on the bus.
recover from an illness, loss, difficulty
I just got over the flu and now my sister has it.
get over something
overcome a problem
The company will have to close if it can’t getoverthe new regulations.
getround to something
finally find time to do (N.Amer.: getaroundtosomething)
I don’t know when I am going to get round to writing the thank you cards.
meet (usually for social reasons)
Let’s get togetherfor a BBQ this weekend.
get out of bed
I got up early today to study for my exam.
You should get up and give the elderly man your seat.
give someone away
reveal hidden information about someone
His wife gavehim awayto the police.
give someone away
take the bride to the altar
My father gave me away at my wedding.
ruin a secret
My little sister gavethe surprise party away by accident.
give something to someone for free
The library was giving away old books on Friday.
return a borrowed item
I have to give these skates back to Franz before his hockey game.
reluctantly stop fighting or arguing
My boyfriend didn’t want to go to the ballet, but he finally gave in.
give to many people (usually at no cost)
They were giving out free perfume samples at the department store.
quit a habit
I am giving up smoking as of January 1st.
My maths homework was too difficult so I gave up.
My brother tried to goafter the thief in his car.
try to achieve something
I went after my dream and now I am a published writer.
go against someone
We are going against the best soccer team in the city tonight.
Please go ahead and eat before the food gets cold.
return to a place
I have to go back home and get my lunch.
leave home to go on a social event
We’re going out for dinner tonight.
go out with someone
Jesse has been going out with Luke since they met last winter.
Please go overyour answers before you submit your test.
visit someone nearby
I haven’t seen Tina for a long time. I think I’ll go over for an hour or two.
go without something
suffer lack or deprivation
When I was young, we went without winter boots.
stop being friends over time
My best friend and I grew apart after she changed schools.
My roses grewbackthis summer.
become an adult
When Jack growsup he wants to be a fireman.
get too big for
Elizabeth needs a new pair of shoes because she has grown out of her old ones.
grow big enough to fit
This bike is too big for him now, but he should grow intoit by next year.
give something used to someone else
I handed my old comic books down to my little cousin.
I have to hand in my essay by Friday.
to distribute to a group of people
We will hand out the invitations at the door.
give (usually unwillingly)
The police asked the man to hand over his wallet and his weapons.
stay positive (N.Amer., informal)
Hang in there. I’m sure you’ll find a job very soon.
wait a short time (informal)
Hang on while I grab my coat and shoes!
spend time relaxing (informal)
Instead of going to the party we are just going to hang out at my place.
end a phone call
He didn’t say goodbye before he hung up.
prevent from doing/going
I had to hold my dog back
hide an emotion
Jamie heldbackhis tears at his grandfather’s funeral.
wait a short time
Please holdonwhile I transfer you to the Sales Department.
hold firmly using your hands or arms
Hold onto your hat because it’s very windy outside.
A man in a black mask held the bank up this morning.
keepon doing something
Keep on stirring until the liquid comes to a boil.
We keptour relationship from our parents for two years.
stop from entering
Try to keep the wet dog out of the living room.
continue at the same rate
If you keepthose results up you will get into a great college.
fail to support or help, disappoint
I need you to be on time. Don’t letme down this time.
let someone in
allow to enter
Can you let the cat in before you go to school?
take care of
I have to look after my sick grandmother.
look down on someone
think less of, consider inferior
Ever since we stole that chocolate bar your dad has lookeddown onme.
try to find
I’m looking fora red dress for the wedding.
be excited about the future
I’m lookingforward tothe Christmas break.
We are going to lookintothe price of snowboards today.
be careful, vigilant, and take notice
Look out! That car’s going to hit you!
lookout for someone/something
be especially vigilant for
Don’t forget to look out for snakes on the hiking trail.
Can you lookovermy essay for spelling mistakes?
search and find information in a reference book or database
We can lookher phone number up on the Internet.
look up to someone
have a lot of respect for
My little sister has always lookedupto me.
invent, lie about something
Josie madeupa story about about why we were late.
forgive each other
We were angry last night, but we made up at breakfast.
apply cosmetics to
My sisters mademe up for my graduation party.
confuse two or more things
I mixed up the twins’ names again!
His uncle passedawaylast night after a long illness.
It was so hot in the church that an elderly lady passed out.
give the same thing to many people
The professor passed the textbooks out before class.
decline (usually something good)
I passed up the job because I am afraid of change.
return owed money
Thanks for buying my ticket. I’ll pay you backon Friday.
be punished for doing something bad
That bully will payforbeing mean to my little brother.
I picked out three sweaters for you to try on.
indicate with your finger
I’ll point my boyfriend out when he runs by.
put what you are holding on a surface or floor
You can put the groceries down on the kitchen counter.
insult, make someone feel stupid
The students put the substitute teacher down because his pants were too short.
We are putting off our trip until January because of the hurricane.
The neighbours put the fire out before the firemen arrived.
I have to put the crib together before the baby arrives.
put up with someone/something
I don’t think I can put up with three small children in the car.
put clothing/accessories on your body
Don’t forget to put on your new earrings for the party.
I ran into an old school-friend at the mall.
drive a vehicle over a person or thing
I accidentally ran over your bicycle in the driveway.
Let’s runover/throughthese lines one more time before the show.
leave unexpectedly, escape
The child ranaway from home and has been missing for three days.
have none left
We ran outof shampoo so I had to wash my hair with soap.
return (usually by mail)
My letter got sent back to me because I used the wrong stamp.
Our boss seta meeting up with the president of the company.
The police set up the car thief by using a hidden camera.
I want to shop around a little before I decide on these boots.
act extra special for people watching (usually boastfully)
He always shows off on his skateboard
stay somewhere for the night (informal)
You should sleepovertonight if the weather is too bad to drive home.
organize, resolve a problem
We need to sort the bills out before the first of the month.
continue doing something, limit yourself to one particular thing
You will lose weight if you stick to the diet.
stop the energy flow, turn off
The light’s too bright. Could you switchit off.
start the energy flow, turn on
We heard the news as soon as we switched on the car radio.
resemble a family member
I take after my mother. We are both impatient.
purposely break into pieces
He took the car brakes apart and found the problem.
return an item
I have to take our new TV backbecause it doesn’t work.
start to fly
My plane takes off in five minutes.
remove something (usually clothing)
Take off your socks and shoes and come in the lake!
remove from a place or thing
Can you takethe garbage out to the street for me?
pay for someone to go somewhere with you
My grandparents tookus out for dinner and a movie.
rip into pieces
I tore up my ex-boyfriend’s letters and gave them back to him.
remember (often + to, sometimes + on)
When I think back on my youth, I wish I had studied harder.
I’ll have to think this job offer overbefore I make my final decision.
We threwour old furniture awaywhen we won the lottery.
decrease the volume or strength (heat, light etc)
Please turn the TV down while the guests are here.
I turned the job down because I don’t want to move.
stop the energy flow, switch off
Your mother wants you to turn the TV off and come for dinner.
start the energy, switch on
It’s too dark in here. Let’s turn some lights on.
increase the volume or strength (heat, light etc)
Can you turnthe music up? This is my favourite song.
Our cat turned up after we put posters up all over the neighbourhood.
I’m going to try these jeans on, but I don’t think they will fit.
I am going to try this new brand of detergent out.
finish the supply
The kids usedall of the toothpaste up so we need to buy some more.
We have to wake up early for work on Monday.
increase the temperature
You can warm your feet up in front of the fireplace.
prepare body for exercise
I always warm up by doing sit-ups before I go for a run.
Most of my make-up woreoff before I got to the party.
I work out at the gym three times a week.
Our plan worked out fine.
make a calculation
We have to work out the total cost before we buy the house.