Phrasal verbs are usually two-word phrases consisting ofverb + adverborverb + 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.
This list shows about 200 common phrasal verbs, with meanings and examples. Only the most usual meanings are given. Some phrasal verbs may have additional meanings.
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!
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 tosomething
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 up after it crashed into the fence.
We have to blow 50 balloons up for the party.
stop functioning (vehicle, machine)
Our car broke down at the side of the highway in the snowstorm.
The woman broke down when the police told her that her son had died.
divide into smaller parts
Our teacher broke the final projectdown into three separate parts.
force entry to a building
Somebody broke in last night and stole our stereo.
The firemen had to break into the 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.
break out insomething
develop a skin condition
I broke out in a rash after our camping trip.
This sad music is bringing me down.
raise a child
My grandparents brought me upafter my parents died.
start talking about a subject
My mother walks out of the room when my father brings up sports.
He drank so much that he brought his dinner up in the toilet.
phone many different places/people
We called around 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 called the wedding off because he wasn't in love with his fiancé.
ask for an answer or opinion
The professor called on me for question 1.
We called on you last night but you weren't home.
Give me your phone number and I willcall you up when we are in town.
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.
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 wecheck in.
leave a hotel
You have to check out of the hotel before 11:00 AM.
look at carefully, investigate
The company checks out all new employees.
look at (informal)
Check out the crazy hair on that guy!
She cheered up when 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 clean up your 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.
come down withsomething
My nephew came down with chicken pox this weekend.
volunteer for a task or to give evidence
The woman came forward with her husband's finger prints.
The art of origami comes from Asia.
I am counting on you to make dinner while I am out.
draw a line through
Please cross out your old address and write your new one.
cut back onsomething
My doctor wants me to cut back onsweets and fatty foods.
make something fall to the ground
We had to cut the old tree in our yarddown 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 22°C.
remove with something sharp
The doctors cut off his leg because it was severely injured.
The phone company cut off our 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 wasdone over by a street gang.
do again (N.Amer.)
My teacher wants me to do my essayover because she doesn't like my topic.
do away withsomething
It's time to do away with all of these old tax records.
Do your coat up before you go outside. It's snowing!
wear nice clothing
It's a fancy restaurant so we have todress up.
move back in a position/group
Andrea dropped back to third place when she fell off her bike.
come without an appointment
I might drop in/by/over for tea sometime 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'seat out.
We ended up renting a movie instead of going to the theatre.
break into pieces
My new dress fell apart in the washing machine.
fall to the ground
The picture that you hung up last nightfell down this morning.
separate from an interior
The money must have fallen out 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 fill in the form with your name, address, and phone number.
to write information in blanks (N.Amer.)
The form must be filled out in 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 found it 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 withsomething
do without being noticed or punished
Jason always gets away withcheating in his maths tests.
We got back from our vacation last week.
receive something you had before
Liz finally got her Science notes backfrom my room-mate.
get back atsomeone
retaliate, take revenge
My sister got back at me for stealing her shoes. She stole my favourite hat.
get back intosomething
become interested in something again
I finally got back into my novel and finished it.
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.
overcome a problem
The company will have to close if it can't get over the new regulations.
get round tosomething
finally find time to do (N.Amer.: get around tosomething)
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 together for 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.
reveal hidden information about someone
His wife gave him away to the police.
take the bride to the altar
My father gave me away at my wedding.
ruin a secret
My little sister gave the surprise partyaway 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 go after the thief in his car.
try to achieve something
I went after my dream and now I am a published writer.
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 withsomeone
Jesse has been going out with Luke since they met last winter.
Please go over your 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.
suffer lack or deprivation
When I was young, we went withoutwinter boots.
stop being friends over time
My best friend and I grew apart after she changed schools.
My roses grew back this summer.
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 big enough to fit
This bike is too big for him now, but he should grow into it by next year.
give something used to someone else
I handed my old comic books downto 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 hehung up.
prevent from doing/going
I had to hold my dog back because there was a cat in the park.
hide an emotion
Jamie held back his tears at his grandfather's funeral.
wait a short time
Please hold on while 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 bankup this morning.
keep on doingsomething
Keep on stirring until the liquid comes to a boil.
We kept our 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 keep those results up you will get into a great college.
fail to support or help, disappoint
I need you to be on time. Don't let medown this time.
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 onsomeone
think less of, consider inferior
Ever since we stole that chocolate bar your dad has looked down on me.
try to find
I'm looking for a red dress for the wedding.
look forward tosomething
be excited about the future
I'm looking forward to the Christmas break.
We are going to look into the price of snowboards today.
be careful, vigilant, and take notice
Look out! That car's going to hit you!
look out forsomeone/something
be especially vigilant for
Don't forget to look out for snakes on the hiking trail.
Can you look over my essay for spelling mistakes?
search and find information in a reference book or database
We can look her phone number upon the Internet.
look up tosomeone
have a lot of respect for
My little sister has always looked upto me.
invent, lie about something
Josie made up a story about why we were late.
forgive each other
We were angry last night, but wemade up at breakfast.
apply cosmetics to
My sisters made me up for my graduation party.
confuse two or more things
I mixed up the twins' names again!
His uncle passed away last 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 textbooksout 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 payyou back on Friday.
be punished for doing something bad
That bully will pay for being 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 outbefore the firemen arrived.
I have to put the crib together before the baby arrives.
put up withsomeone/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 run over/through these lines one more time before the show.
leave unexpectedly, escape
The child ran away from home and has been missing for three days.
have none left
We ran out of 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 set a 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 sleep over tonight 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 youswitch it off.
start the energy flow, turn on
We heard the news as soon as weswitched 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 take the garbage out to the street for me?
pay for someone to go somewhere with you
My grandparents took us 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 threw our 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 TVoff 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 turn the 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 used all of the toothpaste upso 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 wore off 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.
Brush up on
We're getting together tonight to brush up on our Spanish skills.
Check up on
My parents are always calling to check up on me.
Check with your professor before you research that topic.
We need to chew on this problem.
They come across as very rude.
I just knew the manager could come through and solve the problem.
Come up with
No one can come up with a good advertisement for the toothpaste.
Bob has come up with a welding torch and some scrap iron.
Fall back on
We can always fall back on the ideas we came up with yesterday.
Sam fears for the welfare of her family since she had a stroke.
Let's go over the numbers from the annual report again.
They yelled for us to hang on as the raft swept down the river.
The server asked us to hold on while he got his notebook out.
With little preamble, the guest launched into her speech.
When the neighbors went on vacation I looked after their house.
Helene usually leans toward green, leafy vegetables.
Protesting his innocence, Ron claims he didn't mean to offend us.
When he lies, I just play along as if I believe him.
What is that salesperson playing at, stealing my customers like this?
Put up with
Too many people put up with terrible service in banks.
Whenever anyone puts up a fuss he just rolls over without a fight.
Run out of
Don't you hate it when you're baking a cake and you run out of flour?
Knowing how to skip out of troublesome engagements is an art.
When we were kids we used to sneak out of the house at night.
It's funny how your birthday can just sneak up on you.
The lovers stole away from the rest of the party and watched stars.
The drummer will strike up a tempo and the parade can begin.
Talk down to
The librarian would always talk down to the young girl.
The abusive boss tied into his inexperienced staff.
Let's see if we can tie into the network from this room.
Alex said she'd try for funding for all the travelers.
Walk off with
Two of the concert-goers walked off with a box of CDs.
I looked around for Jenny, but she had wandered off somewhere.
This just isn't going to work out.
We want to work toward a comprehensive plan by next year.
Sometimes a person just has to wallow in their feelings.
Susan brought that issue up again.
The company will change its systems over to the new software.
John said he could change his style up to meet the new challenge.
We went to the show to check that new car out.
The coach is going to chew him out for missing that goal.
We're trying to dial the equipment in for the next test.
Many children really eat cartoons up on Saturday mornings.
I can't seem to fight this illness off any more.
John and Mary had to fight it out for the last brownie.
Sometimes you just keep laughing on about a joke.
He teaches the kids to laugh adversity off when they can.
The clerk will mark prices down later in the day.
They can clearly mark the boundaries out with red tape.
The manager will mark up the prices that the clerk marked down.
Police ordered residents to pack their things up and evacuate.
They pick five items out from the menu every meal.
When I was a boy we used to pick tin cans off the fence with rocks.
It seems like I always put papers off until it's almost too late.
After everything they put the pledge through, he joined their fraternity.
The prosecutor asked the clerk to read the transcript back to the jury.
James read the book through once and then lent it to his cousin.
Some department stores brag about how they roll their prices back.
The new president acted quickly to roll the new regulations back.
Excitement was high when Ford rolled the new Thunderbird out.
Veering off the road, the car ran a pedestrian over.
Mack asked us to run the song through one more time.
My parents taught me to save my money up for expensive purchases.
At the conference, Jill will seek the professor out for a meeting.
Steve was able to shake the injury off and return to the game.
One can often sleep a bad headache off without pain pills.
The Court today will strike the new law down as unconstitutional.
A good partner can talk you down from some tough places.
Talk out of
She was able to talk the young child out of jumping into the pool.
Sit in the driver's seat while I talk you through the controls.
Why don't you wait while I try this suit on?
You can always try the car out before you buy it.
I can walk you through the process before you do it on your own.
After the holidays many folks have to work the extra pounds off.
The problem is so complicated that he just can't work it out.
I wish she would agree to my proposal.
I agree with him on that point.
Mr. Smith asked after John.
She was told to back off.
Are your parents in?
I'm off now.
Please bear with him for a moment while he tries to put this straight.
Bend over and pick it up yourself!
And then she just blacked out.
Don't blame it on her.
The bomb might have blown up.
Her reaction simply bowled me over.
break away break free break loose
At last, the hostage could break away from his captors.
Finally her car broke down.
Sue and Tim broke up last year.
This year has brought along some significant changes.
The president was brought down by this scandal.
My job brings in 400 dollars per week.
(1) She was brought up in Wisconsin. (2) Why do you have to bring that up?
He needs to do some exercises to build himself up.
burst in with
She burst in with the bad news.
How can we talk when you keep butting in all the time?
He called Kelly in.
I had to call off the barbecue because of the bad weather.
Please calm down.
Please carry on with your homework.
I will check it out.
check up (on)
There is no need to check up on me.
The shop was closed down by the police.
close in (on) + person
She closed in on them quietly.
The restaurant was closed down by the health department.
I knew he would come around in the end.
Will the good old days ever come back?
(1) My aunt came by yesterday. (2) I hope he came by this money honestly.*
Can't you just come in for a few minutes?
Why don't you come over next weekend?
It began to cool down after the thunderstorm.
count (up) on
Can we count on you?
cut back (on)
I have to cut back on the water usage.
Cut it out!
decide (up) on
I decided on the iced tea. The court has not yet decided on a ruling.
That species died out million years ago.
I probably wouldn't do it again.
He tried to do his father in.
Please do your buttons up.
I guess I will have to do without lunch today.
As the time drew near,...
Drink up, and let's going.
We drove on till night.
I said good-bye and drove off.
I hope you guys can drop by our house some time.
drop in (on)*
I can't believe who dropped in on us last night.
You can drop me off at the next red light.
The clothes finally dried out.
The storm eased off a little.
Eat up, and let's go.
The students laughed and edged away from him.
How will this end up?
The surface of the road was evened out.
face up (to)
You have to face up to challenges.
The whole thing falls apart.
fall back on/ rely on
I had to fall back on my savings.
fall behind get behind
He's falling behind with his car payments.
I hope the house signing doesn't fall through.
I really feel for you.
fight back (at)
It's hard for him to fight back.
I fought down the anger.
I just can't figure her out.
(1) I'd better fill the cracks in with something. (2) Would you fill in the form, please?
fill in (for)
I will have to fill in for him till he gets back from his vacation.
Would you fill out the form, please?
(1) The hole filled up with water and had to be pumped. (2) We will fill up at the next gas station.
(1) Finish off your cup of coffee, please. (2) I will finish my homework up in a few minutes.
It just doesn't fit in.
Is my bike fixed up yet?
I'm flying into Stansted.
She focused on this issue.
Stop fooling around.
Let's gather up our things and leave.
How can I get it across to you
get along with
He couldn't get along with his mother-in-law.
What exactly is he getting at?
When will you get back?
get back at
He will get back at him someday.
get back to
I will get back to you in a minute.
get by (on)
She can't get by on that much money.
He managed to get himself into the class he wanted.
get off on*
He gets off on paying soccer.
How are you getting on?
get on with
(1) I need to get on with my homework. (2) How do you get on with Sam?
get out of
You've got to get out of there.
(1) It took him a long time to get over the heart attack.
I tried calling you, but I couldn't get through.
Today I got up at 10 am.
give away (to)
(1) He gave his car away to his brother. (2) Don't give the answer away.
give in (to)
Why does she always give in to her brother?
Are you sure you want to give up your career?
My teacher just glanced over my homework today.
He went after the man who mugged him.
There's not enough milk to go around.
Please go away!
I'll never go back.
They went in after us.
(1) The bomb went off. (2) My party went off as planned.
go off with
I guess she went off with her new boyfriend.
go out (with)
Will she go out with Mike next Friday evening?
(1) The truck wouldn't go through the tunnel. (2) He went through his pockets, looking for his wallet. (3) You won't believe what I've gone through. (4) I guess we need to go through the whole song a few more times.
(1) I was afraid that our ship would go under. (2) The company went under.
I just cannot go without some candy from time to time.
He will hand this down to his granddaughter.
The teacher handed out the test to the surprised students.
hang around (with)
I usually spend a lot of time hanging around with my friends.
(1) Hang on, please. (2) They couldn't hang on much longer.
Why did you hang up on me?
My injury healed up in around no time.
Hear me out, will you? I have more to tell.
How soon will lunch be heated up?
Can you help me out?
hide out (from)
Ben was hiding out from the police.
He hit me, but I didn't hit him back.
Tom was hitting on Mike's fiancée.
I held back the anger.
Hold on a minute! I have to check this first.
I don't know how long they can hold out.
Hurry up, will you? I got some errands to run today.