Phrasal verbs – list – meaning – examples

Phrasal  Verbs    Meaning    Example
 ask someone out  invite on a date  Brian asked Judy out to dinner and a movie.
 ask around  ask many people the same question  I asked around but nobody has seen my wallet.
 add up to something  equal  Your purchases add up to $205,32.
 back something up  reverse  You’ll have to back up your car so that I can get out.
 back someone up  support  My wife backed me up over my decision to quit my job.
 blow up  explode  The racing car blew up after it crashed into the fence.
 blow something up  add air  We have to blow 50 balloons up for the party.
 break down  stop functioning (vehicle, machine)  Our car broke down at the side of the highway in the snowstorm.
 break down  get upset  The woman broke down when the police told her that her son had died.
 break something down  divide into smaller parts  Our teacher broke the final project down into three separate parts.
 break in  force entry to a building  Somebody broke in last night and stole our stereo.
 break into something  enter forcibly  The firemen had to break into the room to rescue the children.
 break something in  wear something a few times so that it doesn’t look/feel new  I need to break these shoes in before we run next week.
 break in  interrupt  The TV station broke in to report the news of the president’s death.
 break up  end a relationship  My boyfriend and I broke up before I moved to America.
 break up  start laughing (informal)  The kids just broke up as soon as the clown started talking.
 break out  escape  The prisoners broke out of jail when the guards weren’t looking.
 break out in something  develop a skin condition  I broke out in a rash after our camping trip.
 bring someone down  make unhappy  This sad music is bringing me down.
 bring someone up  raise a child  My grandparents brought me up after my parents died.
 bring something up  start talking about a subject  My mother walks out of the room when my father brings up sports.
 bring something up  vomit  He drank so much that he brought his dinner up in the toilet.
 call around  phone many different places/people  We called around but we weren’t able to find the car part we needed.
 call someone back  return a phone call  I called the company back but the offices were closed for the weekend.
 call something off  cancel  Jason called the wedding off because he wasn’t in love with his fiancé.
 call on someone  ask for an answer or opinion  The professor called on me for question 1.
 call on someone  visit someone  We called on you last night but you weren’t home.
 call someone up  phone  Give me your phone number and I willcall you up when we are in town.
 calm down  relax after being angry  You are still mad. You need to calm down before you drive the car.
 not care forsomeone/something  not like (formal)  I don’t care for his behaviour.
 catch up  get to the same point as someone else  You’ll have to run faster than that if you want to catch up with Marty.
 check in  arrive and register at a hotel or airport  We will get the hotel keys when wecheck in.
 check out  leave a hotel  You have to check out of the hotel before 11:00 AM.
 check someone/something out  look at carefully, investigate  The company checks out all new employees.
 check outsomeone/something  look at (informal)  Check out the crazy hair on that guy!
 cheer up  become happier  She cheered up when she heard the good news.
 cheer someone up  make happier  I brought you some flowers to cheer you up.
 chip in  help  If everyone chips in we can get the kitchen painted by noon.
 clean something up  tidy, clean  Please clean up your bedroom before you go outside.
 come across something  find unexpectedly  I came across these old photos when I was tidying the closet.
 come apart  separate  The top and bottom come apart if you pull hard enough.
 come down with something  become sick  My nephew came down with chicken pox this weekend.
 come forward  volunteer for a task or to give evidence  The woman came forward with her husband’s finger prints.
 come from somewhere  originate in  The art of origami comes from Asia.
 count on someone/something  rely on  I am counting on you to make dinner while I am out.
 cross something out  draw a line through  Please cross out your old address and write your new one.
 cut back on something  consume less  My doctor wants me to cut back on sweets and fatty foods.
 cut something down  make something fall to the ground  We had to cut the old tree in our yard down after the storm.
 cut in  interrupt  Your father cut in while I was dancing with your uncle.
 cut in  pull in too closely in front of another vehicle  The bus driver got angry when that carcut in.
 cut in  start operating (of an engine or electrical device)  The air conditioner cuts in when the temperature gets to 22°C.22°C.
 cut something off  remove with something sharp  The doctors cut off his leg because it was severely injured.
 cut something off  stop providing  The phone company cut off our phone because we didn’t pay the bill.
 cut someone off  take out of a will  My grandparents cut my father off when he remarried.
 cut something out  remove part of something (usually with scissors and paper)  I cut this ad out of the newspaper.
 dosomeone/something over  beat up, ransack (Br.E., informal)  He’s lucky to be alive. His shop was done over by a street gang.
 do something over  do again (N.Amer.)  My teacher wants me to do my essay over because she doesn’t like my topic.
 do away with something  discard  It’s time to do away with all of these old tax records.
 do something up  fasten, close  Do your coat up before you go outside. It’s snowing!
 dress up  wear nice clothing  It’s a fancy restaurant so we have to dress up.
 drop back  move back in a position/group  Andrea dropped back to third place when she fell off her bike.
 drop in/by/over  come without an appointment  I might drop in/by/over for tea sometime this week.
 drop someone/something off  take someone/something somewhere and leave them/it there  I have to drop my sister off at work before I come over.
 drop out  quit a class, school etc  I dropped out of Science because it was too difficult.
 eat out  eat at a restaurant  I don’t feel like cooking tonight. Let’s eat out.
 end up  eventually reach/do/decide  We ended up renting a movie instead of going to the theatre.
 fall apart  break into pieces  My new dress fell apart in the washing machine.
 fall down  fall to the ground  The picture that you hung up last night fell down this morning.
 fall out  (of hair, teeth) become loose and unattached  His hair started to fall out when he was only 35.
 figure something out  understand, find the answer  I need to figure out how to fit the piano and the bookshelf in this room.
 fill something in  to write information in blanks (Br.E.)  Please fill in the form with your name, address, and phone number.
 fill something out  to write information in blanks (N.Amer.)  The form must be filled out in capital letters.
 fill something up  fill to the top  I always fill the water jug up when it is empty.
 find out  discover  We don’t know where he lives. How can we find out?
 find something out  discover  We tried to keep the time of the party a secret, but
 Samantha found it out.
 get something across/over  communicate, make understandable  I tried to get my point across/over to the judge but she wouldn’t listen.
 get along/on  like each other  I was surprised how well my new girlfriend and my sister got along/on.
 get around  have mobility  My grandfather can get around fine in his new wheelchair.
 get away  go on a vacation  We worked so hard this year that we had to get away for a week.
 get away with something  do without being noticed or punished  Jason always gets away with cheating in his maths tests.
 get back  return  We got back from our vacation last week.
 get something back  receive something you had before  Liz finally got her Science notes backfrom my room-mate.
 get back at someoneget back at someone  retaliate, take revengeretaliate, take revenge  My sister got back at me for stealing her shoes. She stoleMy sister got back 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.
 get over something  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 get over the new regulations.
 get round to something  finally 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 together  meet (usually for social reasons)  Let’s get together for a BBQ this weekend.
 get up  get out of bed  I got up early today to study for my exam.
 get up  stand  You should get up and give the elderly man your seat.
 give someone away  reveal hidden information about someone  His wife gave him away to the police.
 give someone away  take the bride to the altar  My father gave me away at my wedding.
 give something away  ruin a secret  My little sister gave the surprise party away by accident.
 give something away  give something to someone for free  The library was giving away old books on Friday.
 give something back  return a borrowed item  I have to give these skates back to Franz before his hockey game.
 give in  reluctantly stop fighting or arguing  My boyfriend didn’t want to go to the ballet, but he finally gave in.
 give something out  give to many people (usually at no cost)  They were giving out free perfume samples at the department store.
 give something up  quit a habit  I am giving up smoking as of January 1st.
 give up  stop trying  My maths homework was too difficult so I gave up.
 go after someone  follow someone  My brother tried to go after the thief in his car.
 go after something  try to achieve something  I went after my dream and now I am a published writer.
 go against someone  compete, oppose  We are going against the best soccer team in the city
 go ahead  start, proceed  Please go ahead and eat before the food gets cold.
 go back  return to a place  I have to go back home and get my lunch.
 go out  leave home to go on a social event  We’re going out for dinner tonight.
 go out with someone  date  Jesse has been going out with Luke since they met last winter.
 go over something  review  Please go over your answers before you submit your test.
 go over  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.
 grow apart  stop being friends over time  My best friend and I grew apart after she changed schools.
 grow back  regrow  My roses grew back this summer.
 grow up  become an adult  When Jack grows up he wants to be a fireman.
 grow out ofsomething  get too big for  Elizabeth needs a new pair of shoes because she has grown out of her old ones.
 grow into something  grow big enough to fit  This bike is too big for him now, but he should grow into it by next year.
 hand something down  give something used to someone else  I handed my old comic books down to my little cousin.
 hand something in  submit  I have to hand in my essay by Friday.
 hand something out  to distribute to a group of people  We will hand out the invitations at the door.
 hand something over  give (usually unwillingly)  The police asked the man to hand over his wallet and his weapons.
 hang in  stay positive (N.Amer., informal)  Hang in there. I’m sure you’ll find a job very soon.
 hang on  wait a short time (informal)  Hang on while I grab my coat and shoes!
 hang outhang out  spend time relaxing (informal) spend time relaxing (informal)  Instead of going to the party we are just going to hangInstead of going to the party we are just going to hang out at my place.
 hang up  end a phone call  He didn’t say goodbye before he hung up.
 holdsomeone/something back  prevent from doing/going  I had to hold my dog back because there was a cat in the park.
 hold something back  hide an emotion  Jamie held back his tears at his grandfather’s funeral.
 hold on  wait a short time  Please hold on while I transfer you to the Sales Department.
 hold ontosomeone/something  hold firmly using your hands or arms  Hold onto your hat because it’s very windy outside.
 holdsomeone/something up  rob  A man in a black mask held the bank up this morning.
 keep on doing something  continue doing  Keep on stirring until the liquid comes to a boil.
 keep something from someone  not tell  We kept our relationship from our parents for two years.
 keepsomeone/something out  stop from entering  Try to keep the wet dog out of the living room.
 keep something up  continue at the same rate  If you keep those results up you will get into a great college.
 let someone down  fail to support or help, disappoint  I need you to be on time. Don’t let me down this time.
 let someone in  allow to enter  Can you let the cat in before you go to school?
 look after someone/something  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 looked down on me.
 look for someone/something  try to find  I’m looking for a red dress for the wedding.
 look forward to something  be excited about the future  I’m looking forward to the Christmas break.
 look into something  investigate  We are going to look into the price of snowboards today.
 look out  be careful, vigilant, and take notice  Look out! That car’s going to hit you!
 look out for someone/something  be especially vigilant for  Don’t forget to look out for snakes on the hiking trail.
 look something over  check, examine  Can you look over my essay for spelling mistakes?
 look something up  search and find information in a reference book or database  We can look her phone number up on the Internet.
 look up to someone  have a lot of respect for  My little sister has always looked up to me.
 make something up  invent, lie about something  Josie made up a story about why we were late.
 make up  forgive each other  We were angry last night, but we made up at breakfast.
 make someone up  apply cosmetics to  My sisters made me up for my graduation party.
 mix something up  confuse two or more things  I mixed up the twins’ names again!
 pass away  die  His uncle passed away last night after a long illness.
 pass out  faint  It was so hot in the church that an elderly lady passed out.
 pass something out  give the same thing to many people  The professor passed the textbooks outbefore class.
 pass something up  decline (usually something good)  I passed up the job because I am afraid of change.
 pay someone back  return owed money  Thanks for buying my ticket. I’ll pay you back on Friday.
 pay for something  be punished for doing something bad  That bully will pay for being mean to my little brother.
 pick something out  choose  I picked out three sweaters for you to try on.
 pointsomeone/something out  indicate with your finger  I’ll point my boyfriend out when he runs by.
 put something down  put what you are holding on a surface or floor  You can put the groceries down on the kitchen counter.
 put someone down  insult, make someone feel stupid  The students put the substitute teacher down because his pants were too short.
 put something off  postpone  We are putting off our trip until January because of the hurricane.
 put something output something out  extinguishextinguish  The neighbours put the fire out before the firemenThe neighbours put the fire out before the firemen arrived.
 put something together  assemble  I have to put the crib together before the baby arrives.
 put up with someone/something  tolerate  I don’t think I can put up with three small children in the car.
 put something on  put clothing/accessories on your body  Don’t forget to put on your new earrings for the party.
 run into someone/something  meet unexpectedly  I ran into an old school-friend at the mall.
 run over someone/something  drive a vehicle over a person or thing  I accidentally ran over your bicycle in the driveway.
 run over/through something  rehearse, review  Let’s run over/through these lines one more time before the show.
 run away  leave unexpectedly, escape  The child ran away from home and has been missing for three days.
 run out  have none left  We ran out of shampoo so I had to wash my hair with soap.
 send something back  return (usually by mail)  My letter got sent back to me because I used the wrong stamp.
 set something up  arrange, organize  Our boss set a meeting up with the president of the company.
 set someone up  trick, trap  The police set up the car thief by using a hidden camera.
 shop around  compare prices  I want to shop around a little before I decide on these boots.
 show off  act extra special for people watching (usually boastfully)  He always shows off on his skateboard
 sleep over  stay somewhere for the night (informal)  You should sleep over tonight if the weather is too bad to drive home.
 sort something out  organize, resolve a problem  We need to sort the bills out before the first of the month.
 stick to something  continue doing something, limit yourself to one particular thing  You will lose weight if you stick to the diet.
 switch something on  start the energy flow, turn on  We heard the news as soon as we switched on the car radio.
 take after someone  resemble a family member  I take after my mother. We are both impatient.
 take something apart  purposely break into pieces  He took the car brakes apart and found the problem.
 take something back  return an item  I have to take our new TV back because it doesn’t work.
 take off  start to fly  My plane takes off in five minutes.
 take something off  remove something (usually clothing)  Take off your socks and shoes and come in the lake!
 take something out  remove from a place or thing  Can you take the garbage out to the street for me?
 take someone out  pay for someone to go somewhere with you  My grandparents took us out for dinner and a movie.
 tear something up  rip into pieces  I tore up my ex-boyfriend’s letters and gave them back to him.
 think back  remember (often + to, sometimes + on)  When I think back on my youth, I wish I had studied harder.
 think something over  consider  I’ll have to think this job offer overbefore I make my final decision.
 throw something away  dispose of  We threw our old furniture away when we won the lottery.
 turn something down  decrease the volume or strength (heat, light etc)  Please turn the TV down while the guests are here.
 turn something down  refuse  I turned the job down because I don’t want to move.
 turn something off  stop the energy flow, switch off  Your mother wants you to turn the TV off and come for dinner.
 turn something onturn something on  start the energy, switch onstart the energy, switch on  It’s too dark in here. Let’s turn some lights onIt’s too dark in here. Let’s turn some lights on.
 turn something up  increase the volume or strength (heat, light etc)  Can you turn the music up? This is my favourite song.
 turn up  appear suddenly  Our cat turned up after we put posters up all over the neighbourhood.
 try something on  sample clothing  I’m going to try these jeans on, but I don’t think they will
 try something out  test  I am going to try this new brand of detergent out.
 use something up  finish the supply  The kids used all of the toothpaste up so we need to buy some more.
 wake up  stop sleeping  We have to wake up early for work on Monday.
 warmsomeone/something up  increase the temperature  You can warm your feet up in front of the fireplace.
 warm up  prepare body for exercise  I always warm up by doing sit-ups before I go for a run.
 wear off  fade away  Most of my make-up wore off before I got to the party.
 work out  exercise  I work out at the gym three times a week.
 work out  be successful  Our plan worked out fine.
 work something out  make a calculation  We have to work out the total cost before we buy the house.

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