11 Useful Phrasal Verbs with PLAY in English

Phrasal verbs with PLAY are crucial for mastering the English language. These verbs are formed by combining a verb with one or more particles, resulting in a distinct meaning from the original verb. In this piece, we will delve into a few of the frequently used phrasal verbs with PLAY and their interpretations.

Phrasal Verbs with PLAY

Phrasal Verbs with PLAYPin

List of frequently used phrasal verbs with Play in English.

Play along, Play around Meaning & Examples

Play along

  • Meaning:  To participate in a game, joke, or deception, often to keep up appearances or avoid conflict
  • Example: She decided to play along with her friend’s prank and pretend to be scared.

Play around

  • Meaning: To act in a frivolous, immature, or irresponsible manner, often without regard for consequences or rules.
  • Example: He liked to play around with his friends and make silly jokes.

Play around

  • Meaning: To experiment or work with something in a casual or non-serious way, often without a specific goal or plan in mind
  • Example: They had to play around with the new software to figure out how it worked.

Play at, Play down Meaning & Examples

Play at

  • Meaning: To assume a role or identity that is different from one’s own, often as part of a game or performance
  • Example: They liked to play at being detectives and solve imaginary cases.

Play at

  • Meaning: To engage in an activity or pursuit in a way that is not serious, committed, or professional, often as a form of recreation or entertainment
  • Example: He realized that he couldn’t play at being a musician and needed to take lessons to improve.

Play down

  • Meaning: To minimize or diminish the importance, significance, or impact of something, often to downplay its effects or avoid attention
  • Example: He tried to play down his role in the project and give credit to his team members.

Play off, Play out Meaning & Examples

Play off

  • Meaning: To conceal or suppress one’s emotions or reactions in response to something, often to maintain composure or avoid conflict
  • ExampleShe tried to play off her mistake and act like it was no big deal.

Play out

  • Meaning: To perform or play music as part of the concluding segment of a program, broadcast, or event
  • Example: The band was asked to play out the final song of the concert.

Play out

  • Meaning: To unfold or develop in a certain way, often according to a predetermined plan or course of events
  • Example: The fireworks were set to play out at the end of the celebration.

Play up Meaning & Examples

Play up

  • Meaning: To behave badly, misbehave, or act out, often in a way that is disruptive or attention-seeking
  • Example: The children decided to play up and throw their toys around the room.

Play up

  • Meaning: To emphasize or exaggerate the importance, likelihood, or significance of something, often to draw attention or gain an advantage
  • Example: The marketing team decided to play up the benefits of the new product in their advertisements.

Practical Usage of Phrasal Verbs with Play

Phrasal verbs with “play” are frequently used in everyday conversation and literature. Here, we will discuss how these phrasal verbs are commonly used in practical situations.

In Everyday Conversation

Phrasal verbs with “play” are used in everyday conversation to express different meanings. For instance, “play along” is used when someone agrees to participate in a situation or activity, often reluctantly. Similarly, “play down” is used to minimize or make less important something that has happened or been said.

In addition, “play up” is used to describe when someone is exaggerating or overemphasizing something. On the other hand, “play with” is used when someone is experimenting with something or trying something out.

In Literature

Phrasal verbs with “play” are also commonly used in literature to convey different meanings. For example, “play upon” is used to describe when someone is manipulating a situation or person for their benefit. Similarly, “play out” is used to describe when a situation or event is unfolding in a particular way.

Moreover, “play with” is often used in literature to describe when a character is toying with an idea or a person. Conversely, “play against” is used to describe when two characters or entities are competing against each other.

Interactive Exercise

Here’s a multiple choice exercise for you

1.”I don’t think he’s really angry, he’s just _______.”

  • playing along
  • playing at
  • playing off
  • playing out

2. “Why are you always _______ when you should be studying?”

  • playing down
  • playing around
  • playing up
  • playing off

3. “The team is going to _______ against their biggest rivals next week.”

  • play up
  • play down
  • play off
  • play along

4. “I’m not sure if she’s serious about the job, or just _______.”

  • playing out
  • playing around
  • playing up
  • playing down

5. “The company is going to _______ some changes to their policies next month.”

  • play off
  • play along
  • play out
  • play up


  1. playing along
  2. playing around
  3. play off
  4. playing around
  5. play out

Related phrasal verbs list:

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