7 Phrasal Verbs with ACT in English

Phrasal verbs are an essential part of the English language, and they can be challenging to master, especially for non-native speakers. One common set of phrasal verbs that can be particularly confusing are those that include the word “act.” In this article, we will explore the various phrasal verbs that contain “act” and their meanings, providing examples and explanations to help you better understand how to use them in your everyday conversations and writing.

Phrasal Verbs with ACT

Phrasal Verbs with ACTPin

Act on 

Act on

  • Meaning: To take decisive action based on information that has been received or deduced
  • Example: The company acts on customer feedback to improve their products.

Act on

  • Meaning: To take measures or steps to oppose or address a particular issue or problem
  • Example: The government needs to act on the rising crime rates in the city.

Act on

  • Meaning: To have an impact or influence on something, or to produce a certain effect or result
  • Example: The medication will act on the patient’s symptoms and provide relief.

Act out 

Act out

  • Meaning: To physically or theatrically perform a scene from a play, a charade, or an exercise
  • Example: The drama club will act out a scene from Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

Act out

  • Meaning: To express one’s emotions or feelings through disruptive or inappropriate behavior. it can involve behaving in a way that is not socially acceptable or that causes problems for oneself or others.
  • ExampleThe child is acting out because they are feeling neglected.

Act out

  • Meaning: To demonstrate one’s ideas or desires through actions instead of verbal communication.
  • Example: The entrepreneur will act out their vision by taking action and building their business.

Act up, Act up to, Act upon 

Act up

  • Meaning: To misbehave or behave in a disruptive or troublesome manner 
  • Example: The dog acted up and chewed on the furniture while we were out of the house.

Act up to

  • Meaning: To behave or perform in a way that meets a certain standard or expectation
  • ExampleThe politician needs to act up to their campaign promises and work towards change.

Act upon

  • Meaning: To take action based on information that has been received or inferred.  It implies that the action taken is a direct result of the information or suggestion received.
  • Example: The decision to act upon the information provided was a difficult one to make.

Act For

  • Meaning: When you act for someone, you represent them and make decisions on their behalf. It is often used in legal or political contexts.
  • Example: The lawyer acted for the defendant in the court case.

Act As

Act As

  • Meaning: To serve or function as a substitute or replacement for something or someone. 
  • Example: Can you act as my assistant while I’m out of town?

Act As

  • Meaning: To behave in a particular way in order to achieve a certain result or effect. 
  • Example: I need you to act as if everything is normal, even though the situation is tense.

Act As

  • Meaning: To play a particular role or character in a performance or play.
  • Example: She acted as the lead in the school play and received rave reviews.

Act As

  • Meaning: To produce a certain outcome or result.
  • Example: The new policy will act as a catalyst for change in the company culture.

Common Usage Examples In Literature

Phrasal verbs with “act” are commonly used in literature to convey certain actions or behaviors. Here are a few examples:

  • “He acted out his frustration by throwing his books across the room.” – From “The Catcher in the Rye” by J.D. Salinger
  • “She acted on her intuition and decided to take the job offer.” – From “Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen
  • “The horse was acting up and refused to enter the stable.” – From “Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell
  • “The detective acted upon the clues he had gathered and solved the case.” – From “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” by Arthur Conan Doyle

Interactive Exercise

Here are some interactive exercises for the phrasal verbs with “act”:

Exercise: Choose the correct phrasal verb to complete the sentence.

  1. The children were __________ during the assembly and had to be taken outside. (Acting up/Acting out) 
  2. The actor had to __________ the scene several times before it was perfect. (Act out/Act upon) 
  3. The CEO decided to __________ the advice of the marketing team and launch the product in the fall. (Act upon/Act up to) 
  4. The athlete had to __________ the pressure of the championship game and perform her best. (Act up to/Act on) 
  5. The government promised to __________ the recommendations of the committee and implement new policies. (Act on/Act out) 


  1. Acting up
  2. Act out
  3. Act upon
  4. Act up to
  5. Act on

Related phrasal verbs lists:

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