Phrasal Verbs. Free English Lesson with Test and Certificate.
Quick Phrasal Verbs study for SAT, IELTS, TESOL and other exams.
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How to use Phrasal Verbs in English
Welcome to the Phrasal Verb lesson. Phrasal verbs are usually two-word phrases consisting of a verb PLUS an adverb or a verb PLUS a preposition. You should study these the same way you would any vocabulary list. Many of these phrasal verbs are commonly used, so you will probably already know a lot of these.
Some phrasal verbs have multiple meanings. For example, BREAK DOWN can mean to stop working, or to be upset.
- Our car BROKE DOWN in a snow storm.
- The girl BROKE DOWN and cried when the teacher said she failed the test.
Your English lesson about Phrasal Verbs
Welcome to the Phrasal Verb lesson! English phrasal verbs are usually two-word phrases consisting of verb + adverb or a verb + preposition. You should study these the same way you would any vocabulary list. Many of these phrasal verbs are commonly used, so you will probably already know a lot of these.
With any new phrasal verb, try to memorize it, listen for it, and most importantly try to practice using it. Keep in mind, many phrasal verbs have more than one meaning, so it is important to pay attention to the context where it appears.
This lesson will present some of the most commonly used phrasal verbs with definitions and example sentences.
Below is a list of some of the most commonly used phrasal verbs:
More phrasal verbs exercises
ask around = ask many people the same question
I asked around but nobody has seen my wallet.
blow up = explode
The racing car blew up after it crashed into the fence.
blow up = add air
We have to blow up 50 balloons for the party.
break down = stop functioning (vehicle, machine)
Our car broke down at the side of the road in the snowstorm.
break down = get upset
The woman broke down when the vet told her that her dog had died.
break something down = divide into smaller parts
Our teacher broke the final project down into three separate parts.
bring someone up = raise a child
My grandmother brought me up after my parents died.
bring something up = start talking about a subject
My mother walks out of the room when my father brings up sports.
bring something up = vomit
She has a stomach virus, so she took some medicine because she didn’t want to bring up her dinner.
cut something off = remove with something sharp
The doctors had to cut off his leg because it was badly injured.
cut something off = stop providing
The phone company cut off our phone because we didn't pay the bill.
fall apart = break into pieces
My new dress fell apart in the washing machine.
fall down = fall to the ground
A tree fell down in the storm last night.
fall out = come from inside of something
The money must have fallen out of my pocket.
fall out = (of hair, teeth) become loose and unattached
His hair started to fall out when he was 35 years old.
get away = go on a vacation
We will finally get away for a week in Hawaii.
get away with something = do without being noticed or punished
Jason always gets away with cheating in his math tests.
get back = return
We got back from our vacation last week.
get something back = receive something you had before
Liz finally got her science book back from my roommate.
get back at someone = retaliate, take revenge
My sister got back at me for stealing her shoes. She stole my favorite hat.
get back into something = become interested in something again
After not playing music for many years, I recently got back into playing piano.
give someone away = take the bride to the altar
Her father gave her away at the wedding.
give something away = ruin a secret
My little sister gave the surprise party away by accident.
give something away = give something to someone for free
The library was giving away old books on Friday.
give something back = return a borrowed item
I have to give these skates back to Frank before his hockey game.
give in = reluctantly stop fighting or arguing
My boyfriend didn't want to go to the ballet, but he finally gave in.
give something out = give to many people (usually at no cost)
They were giving out free perfume samples at the department store.
give something up = quit a habit
I will give up smoking on January 1st.
give up = stop trying
My math homework was too difficult so I gave up.
hand something down = give something used to someone else
I handed my old clothes down to my little cousin.
hand something in = submit
I have to hand in my essay on Friday.
hand something out = to distribute to a group of people
We will hand out the invitations at the door.
hand something over = give (usually unwillingly)
The police told the man to hand over his gun.
hang in = stay positive (informal)
Hang in there. I'm sure you'll find a job very soon.
hang on = wait a short time (informal)
Hang on while I grab my coat and shoes.
hang out = spend time relaxing (informal)
Instead of going to the party we are just going to hang out at my place.
hang up = end a phone call
He didn't say goodbye before he hung up.
look after someone/something = take care of
I have to look after my sick grandmother.
look down on someone = think less of, consider inferior
My teacher looked down on me because I was poor.
look for someone/something = try to find
I'm looking for my keys, have you seen them?
look forward to something = be excited about the future
I'm looking forward to the New Year break.
look into something = investigate
We are going to look into the price of snowboards today.
look out = be careful, vigilant, and take notice
Look out! That car's going to hit you!
look out for someone/something = be especially vigilant for
Don't forget to look out for snakes on the hiking trail.
look something over = check, examine
Can you look over my essay for spelling mistakes?
look something up = search and find information in a reference book or database
We can look her phone number up on the Internet.
look up to someone = have a lot of respect for
My little sister has always looked up to me.
pass away = die
His uncle passed away last night after a long illness.
pass out = faint
It was so hot in the church that an elderly lady passed out.
pass something out = give the same thing to many people
The professor passed the textbooks out before class.
pass something up = decline (usually something good)
I passed up the job because I am afraid of change.
put something down = put what you are holding on a surface or floor
You can put the groceries down on the kitchen counter.
put someone down = insult, make someone feel stupid
The other students put me down because my shoes had holes in them.
put something off = postpone
We are putting off our trip until January because of the hurricane.
put something out = extinguish
The neighbors put the fire out before the firemen arrived.
put something together = assemble
I have to put the crib together before the baby arrives.
put up with someone/something = tolerate
I don't think I can put up with three small children in the car.
run into someone/something = meet unexpectedly
I ran into an old friend at the mall.
run over someone/something = drive a vehicle over a person or thing
I accidentally ran over your bicycle in the driveway.
run over/through something = rehearse, review
Let's run through these math problems before the test.
run away = leave unexpectedly, escape
The child ran away from home and has been missing for three days.
run out = have none left
We ran out of shampoo so I had to wash my hair with soap.
take after someone = resemble a family member
I take after my mother. We are both impatient.
take something apart = purposely break into pieces
He took my car apart and found the problem.
take something back = return an item
I have to take our new TV back because it doesn't work.
take off = start to fly or start to leave
My plane takes off in five minutes.
take something off = remove something (usually clothing)
Take off your socks and shoes and come swim in the lake!
take something out = remove from a place or thing
Can you take the garbage out to the street for me?
take someone out = pay for someone to go somewhere with you
My grandparents took us out for dinner and a movie.
turn something down = decrease the volume or strength (heat, light etc.)
Please turn the music down while I’m studying.
turn something down = refuse
I turned the job down because I don't want to move.
turn something off = stop the energy flow, switch off
Your mother wants you to turn the TV off and come for dinner.
turn something on = start the energy, switch on
It's too dark in here. Let's turn some lights on.
turn something up = increase the volume or strength (heat, light etc.)
Can you turn the music up? This is my favorite song.
turn up = appear suddenly
Our cat turned up after we put posters up all over the neighborhood.
work out = exercise
I work out at the gym three times a week.
work out = be successful
Our plan worked out fine.
work something out = make a calculation
We have to work out the total cost before we buy the house.
It’s story time
Now that we’ve learned a lot about phrasal verbs, let’s see how they are used in a short story. As you read the following story, pay attention to how the phrasal verbs are used.
“I didn’t even need to look over the assignment,” said Michael, “I knew it would be difficult as soon as our teacher handed it out.” He actually felt like he wanted to run away as soon as he got the assignment, but he knew that he would work it out somehow.
Janice thought that they would be okay as long as they didn’t put off the assignment. She suggested that they begin working on it right away.
Ricky added, “I’m glad that Janice brought this up. I ran into my friend Bob on the way to lunch, and he told me that we should put something together quickly and then we can hand it in to our teacher to look it over.”
Michael agreed with Ricky. He had been asking around and almost everyone said that it was important to break down the project into smaller tasks. In addition, asking the teacher to check out the project early would help to make sure that they were on the right track.
“We should look up some information about each of the possible topics,” said Janice. “We will need to look into a few different options to make sure we pick the best one.”
At that point, Ricky announced that he had to take off. He was supposed to meet up with Bob and work out that afternoon. “Hang on,” said Michael, “I’ll go with you.” He knew as the school project got further along they would probably have to cut down on their time to hang out.
Janice didn’t go to the gym. She went to the library instead. She would have enjoyed some exercise, but she realized that someone needed to get back to studying. Good ideas for the project weren’t going to just turn up on their own.
That’s the end of the lesson on Phrasal Verbs.
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