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Common Phrasal Verbs

Common Phrasal Verbs

Last update 

208 most common Phrasal Verbs

Items (208)

  • ASK someone OUT -- Brian asked Judy out to dinner and a movie.

    invite on a date

  • ASK AROUND -- I asked around but nobody has seen my wallet.

    ask many people the same question

  • ADD UP TO smth -- Your purchases add up to $205.32.


  • BACK smth UP -- You'll have to back up your car so that I can get out.


  • BACK someone UP -- My wife backed me up over my decision to quit my job.


  • BLOW UP -- The racing car blew up after it crashed into the fence.


  • BLOW smth UP -- We have to blow 50 balloons up for the party.

    add air

  • BREAK DOWN -- Our car broke down at the side of the highway in the snowstorm.

    stop functioning (vehicle, machine)

  • BREAK DOWN -- The woman broke down when the police told her that her son had died.

    get upset

  • BREAK smthDOWN -- Our teacher broke the final project down into three separate parts.

    divide into smaller parts

  • BREAK IN -- Somebody broke in last night and stole our stereo.

    force entry to a building

  • BREAK INTO smth -- The firemen had to break intothe room to rescue the children.

    enter forcibly

  • BREAK smth IN -- I need to break these shoes in before we run next week.

    wear smth a few times so that it doesn't look/feel new

  • BREAK IN -- The TV station broke in to report the news of the president's death.


  • BREAK UP -- My boyfriend and I broke up before I moved to America.

    end a relationship

  • BREAK UP -- The kids just broke up as soon as the clown started talking.

    start laughing (informal)

  • BREAK OUT -- The prisoners broke out of jail when the guards weren't looking.


  • BREAK OUT IN smth -- I broke out in a rash after our camping trip.

    develop a skin condition

  • BRING someone DOWN -- This sad music is bringing me down.

    make unhappy

  • BRING someone UP -- My grandparents brought meup after my parents died.

    raise a child

  • BRING smth UP -- My mother walks out of the room when my father brings up sports.

    start talking about a subject

  • BRING smth UP -- He drank so much that he brought his dinner up in the toilet.


  • CALL AROUND -- We called around but we weren't able to find the car part we needed.

    phone many different places/people

  • CALL someone BACK -- I called the company back but the offices were closed for the weekend.

    return a phone call

  • CALL smth OFF -- Jason called the wedding off because he wasn't in love with his fiancé.


  • CALL ON someone -- The professor called on me for question 1.

    ask for an answer or opinion

  • CALL ON someone -- We called on you last night but you weren't home.

    visit someone

  • CALL someone UP -- Give me your phone number and I will call you up when we are in town.


  • CALM DOWN -- You are still mad. You need to calm down before you drive the car.

    relax after being angry

  • NOT CARE FOR someone/thg -- I don't care for his behaviour.

    not like (formal)

  • CATCH UP -- You'll have to run faster than that if you want to catch up with Marty.

    get to the same point as someone else

  • CHECK IN -- We will get the hotel keys when we check in.

    arrive and register at a hotel or airport

  • CHECK OUT -- You have to check out of the hotel before 11:00 AM.

    leave a hotel

  • CHECK someone/thgOUT -- The company checks out all new employees.

    look at carefully, investigate

  • CHECK OUT someone/thg -- Check out the crazy hair on that guy!

    look at (informal)

  • CHEER UP -- She cheered up when she heard the good news.

    become happier

  • CHEER someone UP -- I brought you some flowers to cheer you up.

    make happier

  • CHIP IN -- If everyone chips in we can get the kitchen painted by noon.


  • CLEAN smth UP -- Please clean up your bedroom before you go outside.

    tidy, clean

  • COME ACROSS smth -- I came across these old photos when I was tidying the closet.

    find unexpectedly

  • COME APART -- The top and bottom come apart if you pull hard enough.


  • COME DOWN WITH smth -- My nephew came down with chicken pox this weekend.

    become sick

  • COME FORWARD -- The woman came forward with her husband's finger prints.

    volunteer for a task or to give evidence

  • COME FROM SOMEWHERE -- The art of origami comes from Asia.

    originate in

  • COUNT ON someone/thg -- I am counting on you to make dinner while I am out.

    rely on

  • CROSS smth OUT -- Please cross out your old address and write your new one.

    draw a line through

  • CUT BACK ON smth -- My doctor wants me to cut back on sweets and fatty foods.

    consume less

  • CUT smth DOWN -- We had to cut the old tree in our yard down after the storm.

    make smth fall to the ground

  • CUT IN -- Your father cut in while I was dancing with your uncle.


  • CUT IN -- The bus driver got angry when that car cut in.

    pull in too closely in front of another vehicle

  • CUT IN -- The air conditioner cuts in when the temperature gets to 22°C.

    start operating (of an engine or electrical device)

  • CUT smth OFF -- The doctors cut off his leg because it was severely injured.

    remove with smth sharp

  • CUT smth OFF -- The phone company cut off our phone because we didn't pay the bill.

    stop providing

  • CUT someone OFF -- My grandparents cut my fatheroff when he remarried.

    take out of a will

  • CUT smth OUT -- I cut this ad out of the newspaper.

    remove part of smth (usually with scissors and paper)

  • DO someone/thgOVER -- He's lucky to be alive. His shop was done over by a street gang.

    beat up, ransack (Br.E., informal)

  • DO smth OVER -- My teacher wants me to do my essay over because she doesn't like my topic.

    do again (N.Amer.)

  • DO AWAY WITH smth -- It's time to do away with all of these old tax records.


  • DO smth UP -- Do your coat up before you go outside. It's snowing!

    fasten, close

  • DRESS UP -- It's a fancy restaurant so we have to dress up.

    wear nice clothing

  • DROP BACK -- Andrea dropped back to third place when she fell off her bike.

    move back in a position/group

  • DROP IN/BY/OVER -- I might drop in/by/over for tea sometime this week.

    come without an appointment

  • DROP someone/thgOFF -- I have to drop my sister off at work before I come over.

    take someone/thg somewhere and leave them/it there

  • DROP OUT -- I dropped out of Science because it was too difficult.

    quit a class, school etc

  • EAT OUT -- I don't feel like cooking tonight. Let's eat out.

    eat at a restaurant

  • END UP -- We ended up renting a movie instead of going to the theatre.

    eventually reach/do/decide

  • FALL APART -- My new dress fell apart in the washing machine.

    break into pieces

  • FALL DOWN -- The picture that you hung up last night fell down this morning.

    fall to the ground

  • FALL OUT -- The money must have fallen out of my pocket.

    separate from an interior

  • FALL OUT -- His hair started to fall out when he was only 35.

    (of hair, teeth) become loose and unattached

  • FIGURE smth OUT -- I need to figure out how to fit the piano and the bookshelf in this room.

    understand, find the answer

  • FILL smth IN -- Please fill in the form with your name, address, and phone number.

    to write information in blanks (Br.E.)

  • FILL smth OUT -- The form must be filled out in capital letters.

    to write information in blanks (N.Amer.)

  • FILL smth UP -- I always fill the water jug up when it is empty.

    fill to the top

  • FIND OUT -- We don't know where he lives. How can we find out?


  • FIND smth OUT -- We tried to keep the time of the party a secret, but Samantha found it out.


  • GET smthACROSS/OVER -- I tried to get my point across/over to the judge but she wouldn't listen.

    communicate, make understandable

  • GET ALONG/ON -- I was surprised how well my new girlfriend and my sister got along/on.

    like each other

  • GET AROUND -- My grandfather can get around fine in his new wheelchair.

    have mobility

  • GET AWAY -- We worked so hard this year that we had to get away for a week.

    go on a vacation

  • GET AWAY WITH smth -- Jason always gets away with cheating in his maths tests.

    do without being noticed or punished

  • GET BACK -- We got back from our vacation last week.


  • GET smth BACK -- Liz finally got her Science notesback from my room-mate.

    receive smth you had before

  • GET BACK AT someone -- My sister got back at me for stealing her shoes. She stole my favourite hat.

    retaliate, take revenge

  • GET BACK INTO smth -- I finally got back into my novel and finished it.

    become interested in smth again

  • GET ON smth -- We're going to freeze out here if you don't let us get on the bus.

    step onto a vehicle

  • GET OVER smth -- I just got over the flu and now my sister has it.

    recover from an illness, loss, difficulty

  • GET OVER smth -- The company will have to close if it can't get over the new regulations.

    overcome a problem

  • GET ROUND TO smth -- I don't know when I am going to get round to writing the thank you cards.

    finally find time to do (N.Amer.: get around to smth)

  • GET TOGETHER -- Let's get together for a BBQ this weekend.

    meet (usually for social reasons)

  • GET UP -- I got up early today to study for my exam.

    get out of bed

  • GET UP -- You should get up and give the elderly man your seat.


  • GIVE someone AWAY -- His wife gave him away to the police.

    reveal hidden information about someone

  • GIVE someone AWAY -- My father gave me away at my wedding.

    take the bride to the altar

  • GIVE smth AWAY -- My little sister gave the surprise party away by accident.

    ruin a secret

  • GIVE smth AWAY -- The library was giving awayold books on Friday.

    give smth to someone for free

  • GIVE smth BACK -- I have to give these skates back to Franz before his hockey game.

    return a borrowed item

  • GIVE IN -- My boyfriend didn't want to go to the ballet, but he finallygave in.

    reluctantly stop fighting or arguing

  • GIVE smth OUT -- They were giving out free perfume samples at the department store.

    give to many people (usually at no cost)

  • GIVE smth UP -- I am giving up smoking as of January 1st.

    quit a habit

  • GIVE UP -- My maths homework was too difficult so I gave up.

    stop trying

  • GO AFTER someone -- My brother tried to go after the thief in his car.

    follow someone

  • GO AFTER smth -- I went after my dream and now I am a published writer.

    try to achieve smth

  • GO AGAINST someone -- We are going against the best soccer team in the city tonight.

    compete, oppose

  • GO AHEAD -- Please go ahead and eat before the food gets cold.

    start, proceed

  • GO BACK -- I have to go back home and get my lunch.

    return to a place

  • GO OUT -- We're going out for dinner tonight.

    leave home to go on a social event

  • GO OUT WITH someone -- Jesse has been going out withLuke since they met last winter.


  • GO OVER smth -- Please go over your answers before you submit your test.


  • GO OVER -- I haven't seen Tina for a long time. I think I'll go over for an hour or two.

    visit someone nearby

  • GO WITHOUT smth -- When I was young, we went without winter boots.

    suffer lack or deprivation

  • GROW APART -- My best friend and I grew apart after she changed schools.

    stop being friends over time

  • GROW BACK -- My roses grew back this summer.


  • GROW UP -- When Jack grows up he wants to be a fireman.

    become an adult

  • GROW OUT OFsmth -- Elizabeth needs a new pair of shoes because she has grown out of her old ones.

    get too big for

  • GROW INTO smth -- This bike is too big for him now, but he should grow into it by next year.

    grow big enough to fit

  • HAND smthDOWN -- I handed my old comic booksdown to my little cousin.

    give smth used to someone else

  • HAND smth IN -- I have to hand in my essay by Friday.


  • HAND smth OUT -- We will hand out the invitations at the door.

    to distribute to a group of people

  • HAND smth OVER -- The police asked the man to hand over his wallet and his weapons.

    give (usually unwillingly)

  • HANG IN -- Hang in there. I'm sure you'll find a job very soon.

    stay positive (N.Amer., informal)

  • HANG ON -- Hang on while I grab my coat and shoes!

    wait a short time (informal)

  • HANG OUT -- Instead of going to the party we are just going to hang out at my place.

    spend time relaxing (informal)

  • HANG UP -- He didn't say goodbye before he hung up.

    end a phone call

  • HOLD someone/thgBACK -- I had to hold my dog backbecause there was a cat in the park.

    prevent from doing/going

  • HOLD smth BACK -- Jamie held back his tears at his grandfather's funeral.

    hide an emotion

  • HOLD ON -- Please hold on while I transfer you to the Sales Department.

    wait a short time

  • HOLD ONTO someone/thg -- Hold onto your hat because it's very windy outside.

    hold firmly using your hands or arms

  • HOLD someone/thgUP -- A man in a black mask held the bank up this morning.


  • KEEP ON DOING smth -- Keep on stirring until the liquid comes to a boil.

    continue doing

  • KEEP smthFROM someone -- We kept our relationship fromour parents for two years.

    not tell

  • KEEP someone/thgOUT -- Try to keep the wet dog out of the living room.

    stop from entering

  • KEEP smth UP -- If you keep those results upyou will get into a great college.

    continue at the same rate

  • LET someone DOWN -- I need you to be on time. Don't let me down this time.

    fail to support or help, disappoint

  • LET someone IN -- Can you let the cat in before you go to school?

    allow to enter

  • LOG IN (OR ON) -- I can't log in to Facebook because I've forgotten my password.

    sign in (to a website, database etc)

  • LOG OUT (OR OFF) -- If you don't log off somebody could get into your account.

    sign out (of a website, database etc)

  • LOOK AFTER someone/thg -- I have to look after my sick grandmother.

    take care of

  • LOOK DOWN ON someone -- Ever since we stole that chocolate bar your dad has looked down on me.

    think less of, consider inferior

  • LOOK FOR someone/thg -- I'm looking for a red dress for the wedding.

    try to find

  • LOOK FORWARD TO smth -- I'm looking forward to the Christmas break.

    be excited about the future

  • LOOK INTO smth -- We are going to look into the price of snowboards today.


  • LOOK OUT -- Look out! That car's going to hit you!

    be careful, vigilant, and take notice

  • LOOK OUT FOR someone/thg -- Don't forget to look out forsnakes on the hiking trail.

    be especially vigilant for

  • LOOK smth OVER -- Can you look over my essay for spelling mistakes?

    check, examine

  • LOOK smth UP -- We can look her phone numberup on the Internet.

    search and find information in a reference book or database

  • LOOK UP TO someone -- My little sister has always looked up to me.

    have a lot of respect for

  • MAKE smth UP -- Josie made up a story about why we were late.

    invent, lie about smth

  • MAKE UP -- We were angry last night, but we made up at breakfast.

    forgive each other

  • MAKE someone UP -- My sisters made me up for my graduation party.

    apply cosmetics to

  • MIX smth UP -- I mixed up the twins' names again!

    confuse two or more things

  • PASS AWAY -- His uncle passed away last night after a long illness.


  • PASS OUT -- It was so hot in the church that an elderly lady passed out.


  • PASS smth OUT -- The professor passed the textbooks out before class.

    give the same thing to many people

  • PASS smth UP -- I passed up the job because I am afraid of change.

    decline (usually smth good)

  • PAY someone BACK -- Thanks for buying my ticket. I'll pay you back on Friday.

    return owed money

  • PAY FOR smth -- That bully will pay for being mean to my little brother.

    be punished for doing smth bad

  • PICK smth OUT -- I picked out three sweaters for you to try on.


  • POINT someone/thgOUT -- I'll point my boyfriend outwhen he runs by.

    indicate with your finger

  • PUT smth DOWN -- You can put the groceriesdown on the kitchen counter.

    put what you are holding on a surface or floor

  • PUT someone DOWN -- The students put the substitute teacher down because his pants were too short.

    insult, make someone feel stupid

  • PUT smth OFF -- We are putting off our trip until January because of the hurricane.


  • PUT smth OUT -- The neighbours put the fire out before the firemen arrived.


  • PUT smthTOGETHER -- I have to put the crib together before the baby arrives.


  • PUT UP WITH someone/thg -- I don't think I can put up withthree small children in the car.


  • PUT smth ON -- Don't forget to put on your new earrings for the party.

    put clothing/accessories on your body

  • RUN INTO someone/thg -- I ran into an old school-friend at the mall.

    meet unexpectedly

  • RUN OVER someone/thg -- I accidentally ran over your bicycle in the driveway.

    drive a vehicle over a person or thing

  • RUN OVER/THROUGH smth -- Let's run over/through these lines one more time before the show.

    rehearse, review

  • RUN AWAY -- The child ran away from home and has been missing for three days.

    leave unexpectedly, escape

  • RUN OUT -- We ran out of shampoo so I had to wash my hair with soap.

    have none left

  • SEND smth BACK -- My letter got sent back to me because I used the wrong stamp.

    return (usually by mail)

  • SET smth UP -- Our boss set a meeting up with the president of the company.

    arrange, organize

  • SET someone UP -- The police set up the car thief by using a hidden camera.

    trick, trap

  • SHOP AROUND -- I want to shop around a little before I decide on these boots.

    compare prices

  • SHOW OFF -- He always shows off on his skateboard

    act extra special for people watching (usually boastfully)

  • SLEEP OVER -- You should sleep over tonight if the weather is too bad to drive home.

    stay somewhere for the night (informal)

  • SORT smth OUT -- We need to sort the bills out before the first of the month.

    organize, resolve a problem

  • STICK TO smth -- You will lose weight if you stick to the diet.

    continue doing smth, limit yourself to one particular thing

  • SWITCH smth OFF -- The light's too bright. Could you switch it off.

    stop the energy flow, turn off

  • SWITCH smth ON -- We heard the news as soon as we switched on the car radio.

    start the energy flow, turn on

  • TAKE AFTER someone -- I take after my mother. We are both impatient.

    resemble a family member

  • TAKE smth APART -- He took the car brakes apart and found the problem.

    purposely break into pieces

  • TAKE smth BACK -- I have to take our new TV back because it doesn't work.

    return an item

  • TAKE OFF -- My plane takes off in five minutes.

    start to fly

  • TAKE smth OFF -- Take off your socks and shoes and come in the lake!

    remove smth (usually clothing)

  • TAKE smth OUT -- Can you take the garbage out to the street for me?

    remove from a place or thing

  • TAKE someone OUT -- My grandparents took us out for dinner and a movie.

    pay for someone to go somewhere with you

  • TEAR smth UP -- I tore up my ex-boyfriend's letters and gave them back to him.

    rip into pieces

  • THINK BACK -- When I think back on my youth, I wish I had studied harder.

    remember (often + to, sometimes + on)

  • THINK smth OVER -- I'll have to think this job offer over before I make my final decision.


  • THROW smthAWAY -- We threw our old furniture away when we won the lottery.

    dispose of

  • TURN smth DOWN -- Please turn the TV down while the guests are here.

    decrease the volume or strength (heat, light etc)

  • TURN smth DOWN -- I turned the job down because I don't want to move.


  • TURN smth OFF -- Your mother wants you to turn the TV off and come for dinner.

    stop the energy flow, switch off

  • TURN smth ON -- It's too dark in here. Let's turn some lights on.

    start the energy, switch on

  • TURN smth UP -- Can you turn the music up? This is my favourite song.

    increase the volume or strength (heat, light etc)

  • TURN UP -- Our cat turned up after we put posters up all over the neighbourhood.

    appear suddenly

  • TRY smth ON -- I'm going to try these jeans on, but I don't think they will fit.

    sample clothing

  • TRY smth OUT -- I am going to try this new brand of detergent out.


  • USE smth UP -- The kids used all of the toothpaste up so we need to buy some more.

    finish the supply

  • WAKE UP -- We have to wake up early for work on Monday.

    stop sleeping

  • WARM someone/thgUP -- You can warm your feet up in front of the fireplace.

    increase the temperature

  • WARM UP -- I always warm up by doing sit-ups before I go for a run.

    prepare body for exercise

  • WEAR OFF -- Most of my make-up wore off before I got to the party.

    fade away

  • WORK OUT -- I work out at the gym three times a week.


  • WORK OUT -- Our plan worked out fine.

    be successful

  • WORK smth OUT -- We have to work out the total cost before we buy the house.

    make a calculation