The English language has a funny way of complicating even the most simple of things, and unfortunately for you, phrasal verbs are an example of this. Like most things in English, you probably already use them on a regular basis without even realizing it. But, it’s helpful to understand what exactly phrasal verbs are official, so you can learn the different types and start to use them in your own writing. So, let’s take a look at the definition of phrasal verbs, and the different types that exist, and try to explain why learning the different types will benefit you in the long run.
What Are Phrasal Verbs?
The idea is that the words from the other grammatical categories enhance the verb in some way by adding some more information. The idea is that the phrasal verb takes the place of a single verb to describe a similar idea, by simply adding more information for the reader or listener. Remember, a verb’s meaning is simple enough to remember if you just remind yourself that all verbs are ‘doing words’ i.e. they show action in some way. We’ll take a look at the different types of phrasal verbs below so you can understand this idea better.
Some examples of phrasal verbs with the verb “GET” are “get at”, “get in”, “get out”, “get off”, “get away”, “get over”, “get back”… and they ALL have different meanings!
Each phrasal verb can also have multiple definitions. For example, GET OUT can mean:
- Leave or escape
- Become known (“Somehow the secret got out“)
- Say something with difficulty (“He could hardly get the words out for the tears”)
- Clean something (“This detergent will get most household stains out“)
- Spend free time out of the house (“You work too hard. You should get out more”)
Phrasal verbs are used more frequently in everyday speech than in formal writing/ speaking. They are used often in everyday conversation by native speakers of English.
Types of Phrasal Verbs
Intransitive Phrasal Verbs
These types of phrasal verbs refer to phrasal verbs that are not directly related to an object, and the preposition must always follow the verb directly. That means that they are used as phrasal verbs in a more general sense and are not used to answer the what or the who of the sentence. We told you the English language is sometimes unnecessarily complicated didn’t we… These phrasal verbs are best understood with examples, so you can see how the words are not related to anything in particular.
- To tell somebody that your car ‘broke down’ is an example of an intransitive phrasal verb because there isn’t a direct object within the sentence. Direct objects should answer the question who or what. To say “my car broke down” doesn’t answer either of those questions because nothing follows it, so it is an intransitive phrasal verb. You know that ‘broke down’ is a phrasal verb because ‘broke’ is the verb, and ‘down’ is the preposition, but the phrasal verb could just as easily be replaced with the verb ‘malfunctioned’.
Nonseparable transitive phrasal verbs simply refer to phrasal verbs that do relate to a direct object, so the phrase in some way answers the who or the what of the phrasal verb. The Nonseparable part will become more clear later as we look at examples where the verb and the preposition in the phrase can be separated, but just remember in this case the verb and preposition cannot be separated because it wouldn’t make sense to do so. Here is an example.
- She came across the pen she had been looking for behind the desk. In this case ‘came across’ is the phrasal verb, but you know that it is an example of a nonseparable transitive phrasal verb, because it is answering the question who or what. She ‘came across’ the pen she had been looking for. The pen she had been looking for is the direct object and it is what the character ‘came across’ (or ‘found’ if you were to replace it with a verb). The nonseparable part comes in when you realize that moving the preposition ‘across’ to anywhere other than right next to the verb ‘came’ just wouldn’t make sense. You can try it for yourself now. Try saying the sentence above with ‘across’ in different places, you’ll see that it can’t be done. So, it’s a nonseparable transitive phrasal verb.
Optionally Separable Transitive
We really wish that we were just making this stuff up at this point, but oh no, the English language really does have phrasal verbs where you can separate the preposition and the verb simply because you feel like it, and the sentence will still make sense. These phrasal verbs are still transitive because they relate to a direct object again, but they’re optionally separable because you can move the preposition to places other than right next to the verb and the sentence still carries the same meaning. Let’s take a look.
- Can you hand out the homework? This sentence works as a transitive phrasal verb because they are asked to ‘hand out’ (phrasal verb made up of the verb ‘hand’ and preposition ‘out’) the homework (‘the homework’ is the direct object, because it answers the question ‘what?’ in this case). Now this is where the optionally separable part comes in, because if you felt like it, you could have said: Can you hand the homework out? It makes perfect sense still, but the verb and preposition have just been separated by the direct object in this sentence.
This is the final example of a phrasal verb, and these phrasal verbs must be separated in some way in order to make sense. That means that the preposition and the verb must have something between them, because together the sentence wouldn’t be understood. Here is an example.
- I looked it up online. Here ‘looked’ is the verb, ‘up’ is the preposition, and ‘online’ is the direct object that answer’s the ‘what?’ question. It is obligatorily separable, because to have the words together wouldn’t be grammatically correct. To say I looked up it online, might make sense, but it is awkward to say because grammatically it is incorrect. So, when the phrasal verb has to be separated in some way to be grammatically correct, it is an obligatorily separable verbal phrase.
Why Learn Phrasal Verbs?
If reading this guide has left you scratching your head wondering why you’d bother learning about them at all, well it’s actually really important that you do. Phrasal verbs are something that we use everyday both in our writing and our speech, so getting to grips with them is important. You don’t necessarily have to know the different types by name, but you ought to recognize the different types because you could end up making grammatical mistakes that make your writing or speech difficult to follow. Phrasal verbs are an integral part of the English language, so learning about them now can really help with your understanding of how to use certain combinations of words in the correct way.
We hope you’ve found this guide useful and are at least now aware of what phrasal verbs are and why there are different types that need to be understood.
Common Phrasal Verbs with Meanings
- Act up – to misbehave or malfunction
- Add up – to make sense or calculate
- Back off – to move away or retreat
- Blow up – to explode or become angry
- Break down – to stop working or have an emotional collapse
- Bring up – to mention or raise a topic
- Call off – to cancel or postpone
- Carry on – to continue
- Catch up – to reach the same level or make up for lost time
- Check in – to register or arrive at a hotel
- Clean up – to tidy or make something clean
- Come across – to encounter or find
- Come up with – to think of or invent
- Cut off – to disconnect or stop something
- Do over – to repeat or redo something
- Drop off – to fall asleep or decrease
- Eat out – to dine at a restaurant
- Figure out – to understand or solve a problem
- Fill out – to complete a form or document
- Get along – to have a good relationship or cooperate
- Give in – to surrender or yield
- Go ahead – to proceed or allow
- Hang out – to spend time together
- Hold on – to wait or retain something
- Keep up – to maintain or continue
- Knock out – to defeat or make unconscious
- Lay off – to terminate employment or stop doing something
- Look after – to take care of or be responsible for
- Make up – to reconcile or create something
- Pass out – to faint or distribute something
- Pay back – to repay or return a debt
- Pick up – to collect or improve
- Put off – to postpone or delay
- Run into – to meet unexpectedly or collide with
- Set up – to arrange or establish
- Show up – to arrive or appear
- Stand by – to support or remain loyal to someone
- Take over – to assume control or responsibility
- Think over – to consider or reflect on something
- Turn down – to refuse or decrease
- Use up – to consume or deplete
- Wait on – to serve or attend to
- Watch out – to be careful or alert
- Work out – to exercise or resolve a problem
- Write down – to record or note something.
Common Phrasal Verbs with Examples
|Phrasal Verb||Example Sentence|
|Break down||My car broke down on the way to work.|
|Call off||They had to call off the concert due to the bad weather.|
|Come across||I came across an old photo of us when I was cleaning the house.|
|Cut off||The phone cut off before I could finish my sentence.|
|Drop off||Can you drop me off at the station on your way to work?|
|Figure out||I need to figure out how to fix this problem.|
|Get along||I get along well with my colleagues at work.|
|Give up||I tried to fix the computer, but I had to give up in the end.|
|Look forward to||I’m really looking forward to the concert next weekend.|
|Make up||We had an argument, but we made up later.|
|Put off||I keep putting off going to the dentist.|
|Take off||The plane took off on time.|
|Turn down||He turned down the job offer because the salary was too low.|
|Work out||I need to work out more to get in better shape.|
|Bring up||She brought up the topic of politics at the dinner table.|
|Get over||It took me a long time to get over my fear of flying.|
|Hold on||Can you hold on for a moment while I check something?|
|Look after||I have to look after my sister’s cat while she’s on vacation.|
|Run out||We ran out of milk this morning, so I had to have my coffee black.|
|Show up||He didn’t show up for the meeting, so we had to reschedule.|
|Turn up||The music was so loud that I had to turn up the volume on my headphones.|
Phrasal Verbs List from A-Z with Meanings and Examples
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with A
- Act up: To behave badly or misbehave.
Example: The children always act up when they’re tired.
- Add up: To make sense or be logical.
Example: His story just doesn’t add up.
- Ask around: To ask many people the same question.
Example: I asked around but nobody knows where he is.
- Ask out: To invite someone to go out with you.
Example: He asked her out to dinner.
- Answer back: To respond rudely or defiantly.
Example: She always answers back when she’s told what to do.
- Aim at: To direct or point something towards a target.
Example: He aimed at the bull’s-eye and hit it.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with B
- Back away – to move away from something or someone
Example: The dog backed away when it saw the stranger.
- Bail out – to rescue or provide financial assistance
Example: The government bailed out the company during the recession.
- Bear out – to support or confirm something
Example: The evidence bore out his claims.
- Bear with – to be patient with someone or something
Example: Please bear with me as I try to solve this problem.
- Beat down – to weaken or wear down someone’s resistance or enthusiasm
Example: The constant criticism beat down her confidence.
- Bear up – to endure or tolerate something difficult
Example: Despite the tragedy, he managed to bear up and carry on.
- Blow up – to explode or become angry
Example: The factory blew up, destroying the entire building.
- Bring about – to cause or make something happen
Example: The new policies brought about a significant change in the organization.
- Bring along – to bring someone or something with you
Example: Don’t forget to bring along your camera.
- Bring down – to cause the downfall of someone or something
Example: The scandal brought down the politician’s career.
- Bring up – to raise or mention a topic
Example: She brought up the issue at the meeting.
- Brush up – to improve one’s skills or knowledge in a particular area
Example: I need to brush up on my Spanish before my trip to Mexico.
- Build up – to increase gradually in size or importance
Example: The company is building up its presence in the market.
- Break away – to leave or escape from a group or situation
Example: The athletes broke away from the pack and took the lead.
- Break down – to stop working or functioning properly
Example: The car broke down on the highway.
- Break into – to enter a building or conversation forcefully and without permission
Example: Someone broke into our house while we were on vacation.
- Break out – to suddenly start or begin, especially in a negative or undesirable way
Example: A fire broke out in the building.
- Break up – to end a relationship or a meeting
Example: The couple broke up after years of dating.
- Bring in – to introduce or initiate something new
Example: The company brought in a new policy to increase productivity.
- Bring out – to produce or reveal something that was hidden or unknown
Example: The writer brought out a new book last month.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with C
- Call off: to cancel something that was planned or scheduled.
Example: The picnic was called off because of the bad weather.
- Carry on: to continue doing something.
Example: She decided to carry on with her studies despite the difficulties.
- Catch up: to reach the same level or status as someone else.
Example: He worked hard to catch up with his colleagues who had more experience.
- Check-in: to register at a hotel or airport.
Example: We need to check in at the hotel before 2 pm.
- Check out: to leave a hotel or pay the bill.
Example: We checked out of the hotel early in the morning.
- Cheer up: to make someone feel happier.
Example: She brought me flowers to cheer me up when I was feeling down.
- Clean up: to make something clean and tidy.
Example: They had to clean up the mess after the party.
- Come across: to find or discover something by chance.
Example: I came across an interesting book in the library.
- Come along: to make progress or develop well.
Example: The project is coming along nicely.
- Come around: to change one’s opinion or viewpoint.
Example: She finally came around to my way of thinking.
- Come out: to be released or become available.
Example: The new album is coming out next month.
- Come up: to arise or occur unexpectedly.
Example: A problem came up during the meeting.
- Count on: to rely on someone or something.
Example: I know I can count on you to help me when I need it.
- Cut down: to reduce the amount or size of something.
Example: He decided to cut down on his sugar intake.
- Cut off: to disconnect or stop something abruptly.
Example: The phone cut off during the conversation.
- Cut out: to remove or eliminate something.
Example: She cut out all junk food from her diet.
- Carry out: to complete or perform a task.
Example: They carried out the experiment successfully.
- Clear up: to make something clear or understandable.
Example: The teacher cleared up the confusion about the assignment.
- Come into: to receive something such as an inheritance or gift.
Example: She came into a lot of money after her grandfather died.
- Cross out: to delete or mark something as incorrect.
Example: He crossed out the wrong answer and wrote the correct one.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with D
- Deal with: to handle or manage a situation.
Example: She had to deal with a difficult customer at work.
- Die down: to become less intense or loud.
Example: The noise from the construction site died down in the evening.
- Do over: to repeat or redo something.
Example: He had to do the project over because he didn’t follow the instructions.
- Draw up: to prepare or create a document or plan.
Example: The lawyer drew up a contract for the new business partnership.
- Drop off: to fall asleep or to decrease in amount or intensity.
Example: I dropped off during the movie because it was boring.
- Dry up: to become dry or to cause something to become dry.
Example: The river dried up during the drought.
- Dust off: to clean or polish something that hasn’t been used in a while.
Example: He dusted off the old bike and went for a ride.
- Drive away: to make someone or something go away by driving.
Example: The loud noise from the construction site drove away the birds.
- Dress up: to wear formal or fancy clothes.
Example: She dressed up for the party and wore a beautiful gown.
- Drop by: to visit someone without making an appointment.
Example: I’m going to drop by your office to say hello.
- Drop in: to visit someone briefly and without an invitation.
Example: She dropped in for a cup of coffee on her way to work.
- Double up: to share a room or bed with someone.
Example: We had to double up in the hotel room because it was so crowded.
- Drive off: to leave quickly in a vehicle.
Example: The thieves drove off in a stolen car before the police arrived.
- Dry out: to become dry or to cause something to become dry after being wet.
Example: She hung the wet clothes outside to dry out in the sun.
- Drop out: to quit or withdraw from something.
Example: He dropped out of college to pursue his passion for music.
- Dress down: to wear casual or informal clothes.
Example: They were allowed to dress down for casual Fridays at work.
- Draw in: to become dark earlier in the evening.
Example: The days are getting shorter and the nights are drawing in.
- Die away: to become less loud or intense until it disappears.
Example: The sound of the music died away as the band finished playing.
- Dig in: to start eating or to prepare for a long and difficult task.
Example: We dug in to the delicious meal that our host had prepared.
- Drive up: to arrive in a vehicle, often for a short time.
Example: The delivery truck drove up and dropped off the packages.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with E
- Ease up – to relax or become less intense
Example: I think it’s time to ease up and take a break.
- End up – to eventually reach or arrive at a particular place or situation
Example: If we don’t hurry, we’ll end up missing the movie.
- Engage in – to take part in or become involved in
Example: He loves to engage in outdoor activities like hiking and camping.
- Enter into – to start or become involved in a formal agreement or relationship
Example: They decided to enter into a partnership to expand their business.
- Even out – to make something smooth or level or to make a situation fairer
Example: She used a roller to even out the paint on the wall.
- Expose to – to make someone or something experience something new or unpleasant
Example: We don’t want to expose our children to too much violence on TV.
- Extend to – to include or involve someone or something in a particular group or activity
Example: The invitation extends to your entire family.
- Eye up – to look at someone or something in a particular way, often with desire or suspicion
Example: He couldn’t help but eye up the beautiful woman at the bar.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with F
- Face up to – to accept and deal with a difficult situation
Example: He finally faced up to the fact that he needed to seek help for his addiction.
- Fall apart – to break into pieces or to fail completely
Example: The old car finally fell apart after years of use.
- Fall back on – to rely on something or someone for help or support
Example: When he lost his job, he had to fall back on his savings to make ends meet.
- Figure out – to understand or solve a problem
Example: I’m still trying to figure out how to use this new computer program.
- Fill in – to provide missing information or details
Example: Can you fill in the missing dates on this timeline?
- Find out – to discover or learn something new
Example: I just found out that I got accepted into my dream school!
- Finish off – to complete the last part of something or to use up the last of something
Example: She finished off the painting by adding some final touches.
- Fix up – to repair or improve something
Example: He’s been busy fixing up his old car in his spare time.
- Follow up – to take additional action or to check on something after an initial contact or meeting
Example: The sales representative promised to follow up with a phone call to discuss the proposal further.
- Fool around – to engage in idle or silly behavior
Example: They spent the afternoon fooling around at the park instead of studying for their exams.
- Forge ahead – to continue making progress despite obstacles or challenges
Example: The team decided to forge ahead with the project despite the unexpected setbacks.
- Freak out – to become extremely upset or agitated
Example: She freaked out when she saw the spider crawling on her bed.
- Free up – to make something available or to have more time or resources available
Example: The cancellation of the meeting freed up her afternoon for other tasks.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with G
- Get across – to communicate or convey an idea or message
Example: She struggled to get her point across during the heated debate.
- Get along – to have a friendly relationship or to make progress
Example: Despite their differences, they were able to get along and work together on the project.
- Get around – to move from place to place or to find a way to avoid a problem or obstacle
Example: She was able to get around the city easily using public transportation.
- Give away – to donate or to reveal a secret or information
Example: He gave away all of his old clothes to a charity.
- Give up – to stop trying or to surrender
Example: After weeks of unsuccessful attempts, she finally gave up trying to quit smoking.
- Go ahead – to proceed or to give permission to do something
Example: The boss gave the green light to go ahead with the new project.
- Go over – to review or to inspect carefully
Example: The teacher went over the homework with the class to ensure everyone understood the material.
- Grow into – to develop or to become suitable for a particular role or position
Example: He gradually grew into his new role as the team leader.
- Grow out of – to no longer have an interest in something or to become too big for something
Example: As she got older, she grew out of her childhood love for dolls and toys.
- Give in – to surrender or to yield to someone or something
Example: After hours of negotiation, they finally gave in to the other team’s demands.
- Get over – to recover from an illness or to overcome a difficult situation or emotion
Example: It took her a long time to get over the death of her beloved pet.
- Go through – to experience or to undergo a process or procedure
Example: Before signing the contract, make sure to carefully go through all the terms and conditions.
- Give off – to emit or release something, such as a smell or sound
Example: The flowers gave off a sweet fragrance in the garden.
- Give back – to return something that was borrowed or taken
Example: He promised to give back the book as soon as he was finished reading it.
- Get at – to imply or to suggest something indirectly
Example: I couldn’t figure out what he was getting at with his vague comments.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with H
- Hand in – to submit something, such as an assignment or application
Example: She handed in her resume to the HR department.
- Hang out – to spend time with someone in a casual or relaxed way
Example: We used to hang out at the park every Saturday.
- Hang up – to end a phone call or to hang clothing on a hook or hanger
Example: She hung up the phone after the conversation became too heated.
- Head off – to prevent or to go in a different direction
Example: The company took measures to head off a potential lawsuit from unhappy customers.
- Hold back – to restrain or to prevent something from happening
Example: He held back his anger during the meeting to avoid causing a scene.
- Hold on – to wait or to grasp tightly
Example: Hold on, I’ll be with you in just a minute.
- Hold up – to delay or to rob at gunpoint
Example: The traffic jam held up the delivery truck for hours.
- Hunt down – to search for and find something or someone
Example: The police were able to hunt down the suspect and make an arrest.
- Hurry up – to move faster or to do something quickly
Example: Hurry up or we’ll be late for the movie!
- Hush up – to keep quiet or to silence someone or something
Example: The company tried to hush up the scandal to avoid negative publicity.
- Hand out – to distribute or to give something to a group of people
Example: The teacher handed out the homework assignments at the end of class.
- Help out – to assist or to provide aid or support
Example: She volunteered to help out at the homeless shelter during the holidays.
- Hit on – to flirt or to make advances towards someone
Example: The guy at the bar kept hitting on her despite her obvious disinterest.
- Hold over – to postpone or to extend something to a later time
Example: The meeting was held over until the following week due to scheduling conflicts.
- Hang around – to loiter or to spend time in a particular place without any particular purpose
Example: The group of teenagers liked to hang around the convenience store after school.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with I
- Iron out – to resolve or fix a problem or issue.
Example: We need to iron out these differences before we can finalize the agreement.
- Invite over – to ask someone to come to your home or a specific location.
Example: We invited our neighbors over for dinner last night.
- Itch for – to have a strong desire or urge to do something.
Example: I’m itching for a vacation; I need to get away from work for a while.
- Inquire about – to ask for information about something.
Example: I called the hotel to inquire about the room rates for next week.
- Invest in – to put money, time, or effort into something in the hopes of gaining a benefit.
Example: We’re planning to invest in a new business venture.
- Iron into – to press or flatten with an iron.
Example: I need to iron these wrinkles out of my shirt before the interview.
- Insist on – to demand or require something strongly.
Example: My boss insisted on me finishing the project before leaving for the day.
- Immerse in – to involve deeply in a particular activity or subject.
Example: I want to immerse myself in the local culture when I travel abroad.
- Intend to – to have a plan or goal to do something.
Example: I intend to start exercising regularly to improve my health.
- Identify with – to feel a connection or similarity with someone or something.
Example: As an immigrant, I identify with the struggles of other immigrants in this country.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with J
- Jack up – to raise something or increase the level of something.
Example: The company plans to jack up the prices of their products next month.
- Jam out – to play music loudly and with enthusiasm.
Example: We were jamming out to our favorite songs at the party last night.
- Jazz up – to make something more interesting or attractive by adding something to it.
Example: I need to jazz up my boring outfit with some colorful accessories.
- Jerk around – to treat someone badly or unfairly.
Example: I’m tired of being jerked around by my boss at work.
- Jet off – to leave quickly and suddenly, especially by airplane.
Example: They jetted off to Paris for their honeymoon last night.
- Jiggle around – to move or shake something quickly and repeatedly.
Example: The child was jiggling the door handle, trying to open it.
- Join in – to participate or become involved in an activity with others.
Example: Can I join in the game you guys are playing?
- Jot down – to write something quickly and briefly.
Example: I always carry a notebook with me to jot down any important ideas or notes.
- Jump at – to eagerly accept an opportunity or offer.
Example: When she offered me a job in her company, I jumped at the chance.
- Jump in – to start doing something quickly and without hesitation.
Example: I decided to jump in and help them finish the project on time.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with K
- Keep up – to maintain or continue at the same pace or level.
Example: I need to keep up with my studies if I want to pass the exam.
- Kick back – to relax or take it easy.
Example: After a long day at work, I like to kick back and watch TV.
- Knock out – to defeat or overcome someone or something.
Example: The boxer knocked out his opponent in the first round of the match.
- Keep on – to continue doing something, often despite difficulties or obstacles.
Example: You need to keep on practicing if you want to get better at playing the piano.
- Key into – to pay attention to or focus on a particular aspect or detail.
Example: You need to key into the customer’s needs if you want to make a sale.
- Keep away – to stay at a distance or avoid something.
Example: The children were warned to keep away from the busy street.
- Know about – to have knowledge or information about something.
Example: Do you know about the new restaurant that opened downtown?
- Knuckle down – to concentrate or focus on a task or project.
Example: I need to knuckle down and finish this report before the deadline.
- Kick up – to cause a disturbance or create a fuss.
Example: The protesters kicked up a lot of dust and debris during their march.
- Keep to – to stick to or adhere to a plan, schedule, or agreement.
Example: We need to keep to the budget if we want to finish the project on time.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with L
- Lace up – to tie shoelaces tightly.
Example: Before going for a run, I need to lace up my sneakers.
- Lash out – to suddenly attack or criticize someone.
Example: He lashed out at his boss during the meeting, which was very unprofessional.
- Lay off – to dismiss or terminate someone from their job.
Example: The company had to lay off several employees due to the economic recession.
- Lead to – to result in or cause something else to happen.
Example: Poor communication can lead to misunderstandings and conflicts in the workplace.
- Leak out – to become known or be revealed to others, often unintentionally.
Example: The news of the company’s merger leaked out before the official announcement.
- Leave out – to not include someone or something.
Example: The teacher accidentally left out an important detail in her lecture.
- Let down – to disappoint or fail to meet expectations.
Example: I felt let down when my favorite restaurant closed down without notice.
- Light up – to become illuminated or bright.
Example: The city streets light up during the holiday season with colorful decorations.
- Look after – to take care of or be responsible for someone or something.
Example: Can you look after my cat while I’m on vacation?
- Look into – to investigate or examine a situation or problem.
Example: The police are looking into the cause of the car accident.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with M
- Make up – to invent or create a story, excuse, or explanation.
Example: She made up an excuse for being late to the meeting.
- Mix up – to confuse or misunderstand something.
Example: I always mix up the names of my coworkers.
- Mark down – to reduce the price of something.
Example: The store marked down the prices of their winter clothing.
- Move in – to start living in a new home or apartment.
Example: We’re moving in to our new house next month.
- Mess up – to make a mistake or cause a problem.
Example: He really messed up his presentation by forgetting his notes.
- Make over – to change the appearance or design of something.
Example: We’re planning to make over our living room with new furniture.
- Measure up – to be equal to or meet a certain standard or expectation.
Example: I’m not sure if my skills measure up to the requirements of this job.
- Melt down – to melt something solid into a liquid state.
Example: The chocolate bar melted down in the sun.
- Meet up – to gather or come together at a certain place or time.
Example: Let’s meet up for lunch tomorrow.
- Move out – to leave a home or apartment and live elsewhere.
Example: I’m moving out of my current apartment next month.
- Make out – to see or understand something with difficulty.
Example: I can’t make out the writing on this sign.
- Mess around – to waste time or fool around.
Example: He spent the entire day messing around instead of studying for his exams.
- Mark up – to increase the price of something.
Example: The store marked up the prices of their products during the holiday season.
- Make for – to head towards a certain direction or destination.
Example: We need to make for the airport if we want to catch our flight.
- Make do – to manage or cope with something using whatever resources are available.
Example: We don’t have a car, so we’ll have to make do with public transportation.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with N
- Narrow down – to reduce the number of options or possibilities.
Example: We need to narrow down our list of candidates for the job.
- Nod off – to fall asleep unintentionally, especially while sitting or standing.
Example: I always nod off during long meetings.
- Note down – to write something down or take notes.
Example: Can you please note down the important points from the presentation?
- Nurse along – to care for or support someone or something through a difficult time.
Example: The veterinarian is nursing the injured dog along until it recovers.
- Nip in – to go somewhere quickly, usually for a short period of time.
Example: I’m just going to nip in to the store to grab some milk.
- Nod to – to acknowledge someone with a nod of the head.
Example: She nodded to her friend across the room.
- Name after – to give someone or something a name in honor of another person or thing.
Example: The baby was named after his grandfather.
- Nod at – to indicate agreement or approval with a nod of the head.
Example: He nodded at the proposal, signaling his support.
- Number among – to include or consider someone or something as part of a group or category.
Example: She numbered among the top students in her class.
- Nudge out – to force or persuade someone to leave a job or position.
Example: The new CEO was determined to nudge out the old executives.
- Note with – to add a note or comment to a document or text.
Example: I noted with interest the author’s use of symbolism in the novel.
- Name for – to give someone or something a name that is based on their characteristics or qualities.
Example: The new restaurant was named for its signature dish.
- Nod to – to make a reference or acknowledgement to something or someone.
Example: The film’s director gave a nod to the classic Hollywood westerns.
- Nail down – to confirm or finalize something, especially an agreement or plan.
Example: We need to nail down the details of the contract before we sign it.
- Note on – to add a brief comment or observation about something.
Example: I included a note on the importance of safety in the project report.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with O
- Opt for – to choose or prefer one option over others
Example: She opted for the chicken instead of the fish.
- Open up – to become more communicative and share personal feelings or thoughts
Example: It took some time, but eventually she opened up to me about her past.
- Observe on – to comment or remark about something
Example: The teacher observed on the student’s good performance in the exam.
- Own up – to admit to something or take responsibility for one’s actions
Example: After being caught, he owned up to stealing the money.
- Overcome with – to be affected or influenced by a strong emotion or feeling
Example: She was overcome with joy when she found out she had won the competition.
- Opt out – to choose not to participate or be involved in something
Example: After careful consideration, he decided to opt out of the project.
- Offer up – to suggest or provide something for consideration or acceptance
Example: She offered up a solution to the problem that no one else had thought of.
- Outdo oneself – to perform better than one’s previous best or exceed one’s own expectations
Example: The chef outdid herself with the amazing dessert she created.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with P
- Pass away: To die.
Example: His grandfather passed away last night.
- Pay off: To settle a debt.
Example: I finally paid off my student loans.
- Pick out: To choose something.
Example: She picked out a dress for the wedding.
- Pick up: To lift something off the ground or to acquire a new skill or habit.
Example: Can you pick up that pen for me? Example: She picked up French while living in Paris.
- Play along: To pretend to agree or go along with something for the sake of avoiding an argument or to keep the peace.
Example: She didn’t really believe his story, but she decided to play along.
- Point out: To draw attention to something or someone.
Example: He pointed out the typo in the report.
- Put away: To tidy up or store something in its proper place.
Example: After the party, we put away the dishes.
- Put off: To postpone or delay something.
Example: We had to put off our vacation until next year.
- Put up: To accommodate someone or something.
Example: We can put up our guests in the guest room.
- Pass out: To lose consciousness or to distribute something.
Example: She passed out from exhaustion. Example: He passed out the flyers at the event.
- Pull off: To achieve or accomplish something that was difficult.
Example: He pulled off the win in the final seconds of the game.
- Put on: To dress oneself or to produce or perform something, such as a play or concert.
Example: She put on her coat and left the house.
- Pick on: To bully or harass someone.
Example: The other kids always picked on him in school.
- Point to: To indicate or suggest something.
Example: All the evidence points to him as the culprit.
- Pass up: To decline an opportunity or offer.
Example: I regret passing up the chance to travel abroad when I was younger.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with Q
- Queue up (for something) – to form a line in order to wait for something.
Example: We had to queue up for hours to get tickets to the concert.
- Quicken (something) up – to make something happen more quickly or to increase the pace of something.
Example: The boss asked the team to quicken up the pace of their work in order to meet the deadline.
- Quiet down – to become quieter or to make something become quieter.
Example: The children finally quieted down after the teacher scolded them for being too loud.
- Quip (about something) – to make a witty or clever remark about something.
Example: She quipped about the boring meeting, “Well, that was two hours of my life I’ll never get back.”
- Quarrel (with someone) – to have an argument or dispute with someone.
Example: The couple often quarreled over money.
- Quit (something) out – to stop or give up something.
Example: She decided to quit out of the project because she didn’t agree with the direction it was going.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with R
- Rack up – to accumulate, to collect
Example: He was able to rack up a lot of points in the game.
- Raise up – to lift, to elevate
Example: He raised up his hand to answer the question.
- Rake in – to earn, to make a lot of money
Example: The company is raking in huge profits.
- Ramp up – to increase, to intensify
Example: The government is ramping up its efforts to fight crime.
- Rat out – to betray, to inform on
Example: He was afraid that his friend would rat him out to the police.
- Read up – to study, to research
Example: Before the exam, he spent hours reading up on the subject.
- Rip off – to cheat, to deceive
Example: The salesman was trying to reap me off with the high-priced car.
- Rearrange – to organize, to reposition
Example: He had to rearrange the furniture in the room to create more space.
- Reason out – to think logically, to conclude
Example: He tried to reason out why his plan failed.
- Rely on – to depend on, to trust
Example: He could always rely on his best friend for support.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with S
- Sack out – to fall asleep or take a nap
Example: After a long day at work, he sacked out on the couch.
- Sand down – to smooth or polish a surface using sandpaper
Example: She spent hours sanding down the old wooden furniture.
- Save up – to save money over time for a specific purpose
Example: She saved up enough money to go on a dream vacation.
- Scale back – to reduce the size, amount, or intensity of something
Example: The company had to scale back its production due to a decrease in demand.
- Scatter about – to spread out or distribute in different directions
Example: The children scattered about the park, playing different games.
- Scramble up – to climb up something quickly and clumsily
Example: He scrambled up the tree to get a better view.
- Screw up – to make a mistake or fail at something
Example: She really screwed up the presentation and lost the client.
- Settle down – to calm down or become more relaxed
Example: After a few minutes, the children settled down and started playing quietly.
- Shape up – to improve or make progress
Example: He needs to shape up and start taking his work more seriously.
- Shell out – to spend or pay a large amount of money
Example: He had to shell out a lot of money to fix his car.
- Show up – to arrive or appear at a place
Example: He promised to show up at the party, but never did.
- Shut up – to stop talking or be quiet
Example: He told his noisy neighbors to shut up and let him sleep.
- Sign in – to record one’s arrival at a place
Example: She signed in at the front desk before starting her volunteer work.
- Sing along – to sing a song together with others
Example: The audience sang along to their favorite song at the concert.
- Sit back – to relax and watch without taking action
Example: He decided to sit back and let his team handle the project.
- Skim off – to remove the top layer or a small amount of something
Example: She skimmed off the cream from the milk before using it in the recipe.
- Sleep in – to stay in bed longer than usual
Example: She loves to sleep in on the weekends and catch up on rest.
- Slip up – to make a careless mistake or error
Example: He slipped up and sent the wrong email to the client.
- Slow down – to reduce speed or pace
Example: The driver had to slow down to avoid a collision.
- Sort through – to go through a collection of items and organize them
Example: She spent the day sorting through her old photos and putting them in albums.
- Speak out – to express one’s opinions or beliefs openly
Example: She decided to speak out against the injustice she saw in her community.
- Spin off – to create a new product or company from an existing one
Example: The successful show led to a spin-off series that became just as popular.
- Stand up – to rise to one’s feet from a sitting or lying position
Example: He stood up and stretched after sitting at his desk for hours.
- Stay out – to not come home or return until a later time
Example: The teenagers decided to stay out all night and go to the concert.
- Stick around – to remain or stay in a place
Example: He told his friend to stick around and enjoy the party.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with T
- Take after – to resemble someone in appearance or behavior
Example: She takes after her mother in many ways.
- Take apart – to dismantle or disassemble something
Example: He took the engine apart to see what was wrong with it.
- Take back – to retract or withdraw something that was said
Example: I take back what I said earlier. I was wrong.
- Take down – to write something down or record it
Example: Please take down the address and phone number.
- Take in – to understand or comprehend something
Example: It took me a while to take in the complexity of the situation.
- Take off – to remove or unfasten something
Example: He took off his jacket and hung it up.
- Take on – to undertake or accept a responsibility or challenge
Example: She decided to take on the task of organizing the event.
- Take out – to remove something or someone from a place
Example: I need to take out the trash before the garbage truck arrives.
- Take over – to assume control or authority over something or someone
Example: The new CEO will take over the company next month.
- Tear apart – to criticize or attack someone or something harshly
Example: The critics tore apart the new movie for its poor acting and weak storyline.
- Tear up – to rip or shred something into pieces
Example: She tore up the letter and threw it away in frustration.
- Think over – to carefully consider something before making a decision
Example: I need to think over the job offer before accepting it.
- Throw away – to discard or get rid of something
Example: He threw away the old clothes that he no longer wore.
- Throw up – to vomit or be sick
Example: She felt so nauseous that she had to run to the bathroom and throw up.
- Try on – to put on clothing or an item to see if it fits or suits you
Example: She tried on several dresses before finding the perfect one.
- Talk down to – to speak to someone in a condescending or patronizing manner
Example: I hate it when my boss talks down to me like I’m a child.
- Talk over – to discuss or consider something with someone
Example: Let’s talk over our plans for the weekend.
- Tear down – to demolish or destroy a building or structure
Example: They plan to tear down the old factory and build a new one in its place.
- Tie up – to fasten or secure something with a knot or rope
Example: Can you tie up the boat so it doesn’t float away?
- Think up – to invent or come up with an idea or plan
Example: She thought up a clever solution to the problem.
- Throw out – to discard or get rid of something
Example: I need to throw out these old magazines and make more space.
- Try out – to test or experiment with something to see if it works or suits you
Example: I want to try out this new recipe before making it for guests.
- Turn down – to reject or refuse an offer or request
Example: He turned down the job offer because the salary was too low.
- Turn into – to transform or change into something else
Example: The caterpillar turned into a butterfly after several weeks in its cocoon.
- Turn off – to switch off or stop a machine or device
Example: Can you turn off the TV? It’s too loud.
- Turn on – to switch on or start a machine or device
Example: She turned on the computer and checked her email.
- Turn out – to produce a result or outcome
Example: The party turned out to be a great success.
- Turn up – to appear or arrive unexpectedly
Example: I was surprised when my old friend turned up at my doorstep.
- Take up – to start or begin a hobby, activity, or occupation
Example: She decided to take up painting as a new hobby.
- Tune in – to listen to or watch a broadcast or program
Example: Don’t forget to tune in to the radio show tonight.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with U
- Use up – to exhaust or deplete completely
Example: I have used up all the milk.
- Upset about – to be disturbed or distressed about something
Example: He is upset about not being selected for the team.
- Undertake – to take on or begin a task or responsibility
Example: She has undertaken the task of organizing the event.
- Use in – to include or involve in something
Example: We need to use in all the latest technology in our project.
- Use out – to finish or use all of something
Example: We need to use out all the supplies before ordering more.
- Urge on – to encourage or motivate someone to do something
Example: His friends urged him on to take the risk and start his own business.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with V
- Vary from (something) – to be different or to deviate from something
Example: The prices of products can vary from store to store.
- Vent out – to express one’s emotions, especially negative ones
Example: She vented out her anger by shouting at her boss.
- Vie for – to compete for something
Example: The two athletes were vying for the gold medal.
- Voice out – to express or speak out one’s opinions or feelings
Example: He voiced out his concerns about the project during the meeting.
- Visit with – to spend time with someone or to meet someone for a short period of time
Example: I plan to visit with my grandmother next weekend.
- Vote down – to reject or defeat a proposal or idea by voting against it
Example: The proposed bill was voted down by the majority of the lawmakers.
- Vote in – to elect someone into a position by casting votes
Example: The people voted in a new president during the elections.
- Vouch for – to give assurance or guarantee for someone or something
Example: I can vouch for her reliability and honesty.
- Vowel out – to pronounce a vowel sound clearly and distinctly
Example: She had to vowel out the words so that the audience could understand her.
- Volunteer for – to offer oneself to do something without being asked or paid
Example: He volunteered for the charity event to help the needy.
- Vote out – to remove someone from a position or office by voting against them
Example: The people voted out the incumbent mayor in the recent elections.
- Vow to – to make a solemn promise or commitment to do something
Example: She vowed to work harder and achieve better grades in school.
- Visit around – to travel or visit various places
Example: They plan to visit around Europe during their summer break.
- Venture out – to go out or explore new places or activities
Example: She ventured out into the unknown wilderness to test her survival skills.
- Volunteer to – to offer oneself to do something without being asked or paid
Example: He volunteered to help organize the charity event.
- Vamp up – to improve or increase the quality, energy, or excitement of something
Example: The company needed to vamp up their marketing strategy to attract more customers.
- Venture forth – to go out and explore or take risks
Example: They ventured forth into the storm to rescue the stranded hikers.
- Vote with – to cast one’s vote in agreement with a particular group or opinion
Example: He voted with his political party on the controversial bill.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with W
- Wake up: to stop sleeping and become alert or conscious.
Example: I usually wake up at 6:00 am on weekdays.
- Walk away: to leave a situation, often in a deliberate and determined manner.
Example: I decided to walk away from the argument before it got worse.
- Watch out: to be careful or vigilant, to pay attention to potential dangers.
Example: Watch out for that icy patch on the sidewalk!
- Wash up: to clean one’s hands, face, or body with water and soap.
Example: After playing outside all day, the children were told to wash up before dinner.
- Wear out: to make something or someone exhausted or tired.
Example: Running a marathon can wear out even the most experienced runners.
- Weigh down: to make something or someone heavy or burdensome.
Example: The heavy bags weighed down the hiker, slowing down his pace.
- Whip up: to quickly create or prepare something, often food.
Example: She whipped up a delicious meal in just 30 minutes.
- Wind up: to bring something to an end or conclusion.
Example: We wound up the meeting after discussing the final agenda item.
- Work out: to exercise or engage in physical activity for the purpose of improving one’s health or fitness.
Example: She works out at the gym three times a week.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with Y
- Yield to: To give way or surrender to someone or something.
Example: He yielded to his opponent’s arguments and admitted he was wrong.
- Yearn for: To have a strong desire or longing for something.
Example: She yearned for her childhood home.
- Yell out: To shout or call out loudly.
Example: He yelled out for help when he saw the fire.
- Yank off: To pull something off forcefully.
Example: She yanked off her sweater and threw it on the floor.
- Yield up: To surrender or give up something, especially unwillingly.
Example: He finally yielded up the information that the police were looking for.
- Yap at: To bark or yap repeatedly at someone or something.
Example: The dog yapped at the postman until he was out of sight.
- Yawn away: To waste time or become bored by something.
Example: He yawned away his afternoon, watching TV.
- Yoke up: To join together or unite in a common cause or purpose.
Example: The two companies yoked up to create a stronger business.
List of Phrasal Verbs that Start with Z
- Zip up: To fasten or close a zipper.
Example: She zipped up her coat to keep warm.
- Zone out: to become unaware of one’s surroundings, often due to boredom or lack of interest.
Example: I was so tired during the meeting that I started to zone out and didn’t hear anything the speaker said.
- Zero in (on): to direct one’s attention or aim towards a specific target or goal.
Example: The detective quickly zeroed in on the suspect’s whereabouts and arrested him.
- Zoom in (on): to focus on or magnify a particular area or detail, often using a camera or other technology.
Example: The photographer zoomed in on the flower’s delicate petals and captured its beauty.
Other Phrasal Verbs List
Phrasal Verbs List (by Verbs)
- Phrasal Verbs with ACT
- Phrasal Verbs with ANSWER
- Phrasal Verbs with BACK
- Phrasal Verbs with BE
- Phrasal Verbs with BEAT
- Phrasal Verbs with BLOW
- Phrasal Verbs with BREAK
- Phrasal Verbs with BRING
- Phrasal Verbs with CARRY
- Phrasal Verbs with CALL
- Phrasal Verbs with CHECK
- Phrasal Verbs with COME
- Phrasal Verbs with CUT
- Phrasal Verbs with CRACK
- Phrasal Verbs with FALL
- Phrasal Verbs with GET
- Phrasal Verbs with GIVE
- Phrasal Verbs with GO
- Phrasal Verbs with HANG
- Phrasal Verbs with HOLD
- Phrasal Verbs with JUMP
- Phrasal Verbs with KEEP
- Phrasal Verbs with KICK
- Phrasal Verbs with KNOCK
- Phrasal Verbs with LAY
- Phrasal Verbs with LET
- Phrasal Verbs with LIVE
- Phrasal Verbs with LOOK
- Phrasal Verbs with MAKE
- Phrasal Verbs with MESS
- Phrasal Verbs with PASS
- Phrasal Verbs with PICK
- Phrasal Verbs with PLAY
- Phrasal Verbs with PULL
- Phrasal Verbs with PUT
- Phrasal Verbs with RUN
- Phrasal Verbs with SEE
- Phrasal Verbs with SEND
- Phrasal Verbs with SET
- Phrasal Verbs with SPEAK
- Phrasal Verbs with STAND
- Phrasal Verbs with TAKE
- Phrasal Verbs with THROW
- Phrasal Verbs with TURN
- Phrasal Verbs with WALK
- Phrasal Verbs with WASH
- Phrasal Verbs with WORK
Phrasal Verbs List (by Topics)
Phrasal verbs do not simply come under one huge umbrella. Whilst they are a subject to learn in their own right, they can then be further split into sub categories such as business phrasal verbs, animal phrasal verbs, travel phrasal verbs etc.
When learning the English language, it is vital not to try to overload your brain with too much information as this will result in not being able to remember it all effectively. Instead, you should focus on bite sized pieces of information that are much more easy to digest. This is why looking at the immense amount of phrasal verbs by topic can make for much more simple learning.
By choosing your favourite topic and beginning with that, you will be able to grasp a better understanding of phrasal verbs. You might also begin with a topic that is important to the reason why you are leaning English. For example, if you are learning for your career, you might begin with business phrasal verbs.
These topics are especially important as they tend to be used in more informal conversations, which, for the most part are the type of conversations that occur in the English language. On top of this, understanding which phrasal verbs relate to which topic is an excellent way to make your English sound much more natural and fluid.
- Business Phrasal Verbs
- Telephone Phrasal Verbs
- Cooking Phrasal Verbs
- FAMILY Phrasal Verbs
- Environment Phrasal Verbs
- Health Phrasal Verbs
- CLOTHING Phrasal Verbs
- PARTY Phrasal Verbs
- SLEEP Phrasal Verbs
- Animals Phrasal Verbs
- Phrasal Verbs about MONEY
- Driving Phrasal Verbs
- Phrasal Verbs for Work
- Phrasal Verbs for Travel
- Phrasal Verbs for Shopping
- Phrasal Verbs about Crime
- Phrasal Verbs Around the House
- Phrasal Verbs for Problems
- Phrasal Verbs about Relationships
- Phrasal Verbs about Education
Phrasal Verbs List with Example Sentences | Images
Useful Phrasal Verbs List with Example Sentences | Image 3
Useful Phrasal Verbs List with Example Sentences | Image 4
English Phrasal Verbs with Pictures
Common English Phrasal Verbs List | Image 1
Common English Phrasal Verbs List | Image 2
Useful English Phrasal Verbs List | Image 3
Commonly Used English Phrasal Verbs List | Image 4
Common English Phrasal Verbs List | Image 5
Common English Phrasal Verbs List | Image 6
Common English Phrasal Verbs List | Image 7
Commonly Used English Phrasal Verbs List | Image 8
Common English Phrasal Verbs List | Image 9