Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal Verbs

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Phrasal Verbs, Nooooooooooooo!! Just kidding.

Students know that  a phrasal verb is like a nightmare for people learning English. There are lots of them and you have to practice if you want to know them. Native speakers use phrasal verbs all the time in their conversation! Knowing them will make your speech look similar to a native person’s speech and it’s good using them in your writing.

 But first, what is a phrasal verb?

Phrasal Verbs English Header

 The term phrasal verb is commonly used when two or three distinct but related constructions in English appear: a verb, a particle and/or a preposition. They mean something together, but if literally translated, they won’t mean that much in a specific sentence.


Verb + preposition (prepositional phrasal verbs)

  1. Who is looking after the dogs? – after is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase after the kids.
  2. They haven’t picked on anybody. – on is a preposition that introduces the prepositional phrase on nobody.

 Verb + particle (particle phrasal verbs)

  1. They brought that up three times. – up is a particle, not a preposition.
  2. You have to think it over. – over is a particle, not a preposition.

Verb + particle + preposition (particle-prepositional phrasal verbs)

  1. Who can put up with that? – upis a particle and with is a preposition.
  2. He is looking forward toa rest. – forward is a particle and to is a preposition.

 Take a look at this list (more phrasal verbs will be added during the weeks): 

Add up

a- To be added together and equal the expected or correct total.
Example: “We added up the oranges: there were 12″

b-To make sense: to seem to be logical or true.
Example: “His story didn’t add up, I think he was lying, it didn’t make sense” 

Blow up

a- To fill (something) with air or gas
Example: “Please could you blow up those balls?”

b- To explode or to cause (something, such as a bomb) to explode.
Example: “The house was blown up by a bomb”

c- To become very angry.
Example: “When I said I couldn’t go to her party, she blew up” 

Back away

a- Retreat

      Example: “-They are coming! Soldiers, back away.”

b- Move backwards from something or somebody

      Example: “-Please back away from this man, he is dangerous.

Be down

a- be reduced or lessen

“-The company’s profits ARE DOWN by ten percent this quarter.”

b- be depressed

“-He’s BEEN DOWN since his partner left him.”

Bring up

a- To take care of and teach (a child who is growing up).

Example: “Their grandparents brought them up because their parents were always traveling”

b- To mention (something) when talking: to start to talk about (something).
Example: “Don’t bring up the fight again, please!” 

Call off

a- To stop doing or planning to do (something) .
Example: “Maria called off the wedding, she decided she didn’t love him”

b- To cause or tell (a person or animal) to stop attacking, chasing, etc.
Example: “Call off your dog! He’s attacking my cat”

 Carry on

a- To continue to do what you have been doing
Example: “Sorry I interrupted, carry on talking!”

b- To behave or speak in an excited or foolish way.
Example: “The little girl was carrying on: shouting and kicking all day long” 

Carry out

a- to perform a task; to perform an assignment. (Also literal)

Example: “She was carrying out the laundry.”

Come across

a- To seem to have a particular quality or character : to make a particular impression.
Example: “Paula came across as a bit bossy”

b- To be expressed to someone.
Example: “I tried to sound happy but it came across as over-excited”

c- To meet or find (something or someone) by chance.
Example: “Carlos was leaving the cinema and he came across Paul, what a coincidence” 

Come up with

a- To get or think of (something that is needed or wanted).
Example: “We finally came up with a solution to that problem!” 

Fall apart

a- To break into parts in usually a sudden and unexpected way,
Example: “My cake fell apart when I tried to cut it”

b- To become unable to live in a normal way because you are experiencing a lot of confusion or emotional pain
Example: “After the divorce, she fell apart”

Get along

a- To be or remain friendly
Example: “We’re not together anymore, but we get along great”

b- To make progress while doing something.
Example: “How are you getting along at playing the piano?”

c- To leave a place
Example: “It was lovely to see you, but my friend has to get along, she has class”

d- To become old.
Example: “Her grandma is getting along; she’s almost 100″

Get away

a- To go away from a place.
Example: “I can’t wait to get away from the country”

b- To avoid being caught : to escape
Example: “The thieves managed to get away in a stolen car”

c- To not be criticized or punished for (something).
Example: “Yvonne is always lying, I can’t understand how she gets away with it” 

Get over

a- To stop being controlled or bothered by (something, such as a problem or feeling).
Example: “I got over my fear of flying”

b- To stop feeling unhappy about (something).
Example: “Finally, Kylie got over her ex-boyfriend”

c- To become healthy again after (an illness).
Example: “Have you heard? Richard has gotten over the flu” 

Give up

a- To stop an activity or effort: to admit that you cannot do something and stop trying
Example: “We all gave up smoking on December 31st” 

Go on

a- To continue.
Example: “They landed in Krakow and then went on to Warsaw”

b- To go or travel to a place before another person or group that is with you.
Example: “You go on to the restaurant, I’ll come in 10 minutes”

c- To happen
Example: “What’s going on? What’s happening?”

d- Used in speech to urge someone to do something
Example: “Go on! Try it, it’s delicious” 

Hold on

a- To have or keep your hand, arms, etc., tightly around something.
Example: “Hold on to the railing, that way you won’t fall”

b- To succeed in keeping a position, condition, etc.
Example: “I will hold on to my job until July” 

Look after

a- To take care of (someone or something).
Example: “The nurse looked after the patient for months, until he was better” 

Look forward to

a- To expect (something) with pleasure.
Example: “William is really looking forward to going on holiday” 

Look up

a- Improve.
Example: “The economy is finally looking up”

b- To search for (something) in a reference book, on the Internet, etc.
Example: “Let’s look up his number in the yellow pages” 

Make out

a- To write down the required information on (something, such as a check).
Example: “Who shall I make the check out to?”

b- To hear and understand (something)
Example: “I can’t make out what you’re saying, can you speak louder?”

c- To kiss and touch for a long time in a sexual way.
Example: “We made out in the back of his car” 

Pass out

a- To fall asleep or become unconscious.
Example: “Lisa was so tired, she got home and passed out on the sofa”

b- to give (something) to several or many people.
Example: “I passed out leaflets with information on our course” 

Pull over

a- To move a vehicle to the side of the road and stop.
Example: “That looks like a lovely restaurant, can you pull the car over and park?” 

Put down

a- To place (someone or something that you have been holding or carrying) on a table, on the floor, etc.
Example: “You can put the suitcases down in the bedroom”

b- To write (something) : to record (something) in writing
Example: “He put down his memories to write a book when he was older”

c- To give (an amount of money) as a first payment when you are buying something that costs a lot of money
Example: “My husband and I are going to put down some money to buy that house in the centre of town”

d- To kill (an animal) in a way that causes it little pain usually because it is injured or sick
Example: “Jessica had to have her rabbit put down; it was very sick” 

Put off

a- To decide that (something) will happen at a later time : postpone.
Example: “Graham was so tired he put the shopping off until next week”

b- To cause (someone) to dislike someone or something
Example: “You’re putting me off my food, stop talking about insects!” 

Put up with

a- To allow (someone or something unpleasant or annoying) to exist or happen.
Example: “My mother won’t put up with my sisters or I swearing” 

Turn up

a- To be found usually unexpectedly.
Example: “Oh! My phone turned up in my bed!”

b- To arrive at a place
Example: “As always, Julian turned up late”

c- To increase the volume, temperature, etc., of something by pressing a button, moving a switch, etc.
Example: “Please turn the music up, I love this song!” 

Watch out

a- To be aware of something dangerous.
Example: “Watch out in the mountain, there are bears there!”