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The ultimate list of frequent phrasal verbs


Phrasal verbs for movement

go up/down
= something increases or decreases, with no direct object coming after.
Prices keep going up, but my salary keeps going down.
= to move upwards/downwards.
We went up the mountain on a cable chair, and came down skiing (come for returning here).
bring up/down
= someone increases or decreases something.
We can bring up our sales by bringing down prices a bit more.
= to move something upwards/downwards.
Bring the empty bottles down to the basement, and bring the guitar up to the second floor.
get in/out
= to enter/exit a place: buildings, cars, etc.
You'll need an employee's card to get in this facility.
Get out of my property or I'll call the police!
get on/off
= to enter/exit means of transport, except for cars *.
Get on the bike and start pedaling. You have to get off the bus at the next stop.
* For cars we'll use get in/out: You can get in the taxi through the front door.
= to enter/exit elevated surfaces
Some of the fans got on the stage and greeted the rock band.
come over
= when someone visits you without specifying where.
Come on buddy, come over here!
Hey Johnny, why don't you come over for lunch tomorrow?
get to
= manage to arrive at a destinations, usually along how or how long.
Excuse, how can I get to Main Square?
Jeez! It took me ages to get to their office.
* We drop 'to' for get there, get here, or get home.
get around
= for local transport around your city/town/region.
I usually get around on foot or by underground.
It's very difficult to get around by car in the city centre.
get back
= return to a place.
Hey guys, it's about time to get back to the office.
= return a call/email/communication
I'll get back to you as soon as I finish writing the document.

Phrasal verbs with 'Come' to say 'Appear'

come up
= suddenly appear.
Something came up in the office and I had to work till late.
Opportunities like this only come up once in a lifetime.
* You can use pop up for messages on screens: This alert message keeps popping up.
come up with
= invent, think of an idea solution.
We have to come up with an engaging slogan for our advertising campaign.
The party was rather boring until Matt came up with this silly mimics game in which ...
come out
= be released, be published, be launched.
The latest version of the software will come out next September.
Her latest novel is expected to come out in September.
come about
= a big challenge emerges.
Sales are down by 30% from last year. How did this come about?
Globalisation came about due to the development of transport and communications.

Phrasal verbs to say 'Find'

run into
= to meet someone or something in person by chance. Guess who I run into the supermarket this morning. Your ex boyfriend! You'd better leave home earlier to avoid running into traffic.
come across
= find information or opportunities by chance.
I came across this job offer while reading this magazine.
You will often come across this expression in legal texts.
come by
= find something you're trying hard to find
Experienced mechanics are hard to come by.
You'll have to knock on many doors before you come by a job oportunity in this industry.

Phrasal verbs to say 'continue'

go on
= continue, for conversation
Sorry for interrupting. Please go on with the story.
= happening
I perfectly know what's been going on between you and Mary Jane.
carry on with
= continue a project, advance, make progress
The client gave us the approval. We can carry on with the idea as it is.
Too bad you have to go back home. We'll carry on without you.
keep on
= continue doing something with much intent.
You have to keep on training until you master the technique.
No time for parties. I have to keep on studying.
move on
= advance to the next point, step, activity
So let's move on to the next slide.
And now we can move on to the next exercise.

Phrasal verbs for performance

turn out
= how things develop, result.
In the end, it turned out to be a very productive meeting.
Everything turned out very well at the conference.
* Alternatives: play out, work out, ... Let's see how things work out.
work out
= to calculate or figure out a quantity
I gotta work out how many hours it'll take me to get there.
We have to work out the number guests that will attend the wedding.
catch up
= to reach the expected level or others' level.
After missing one week of lesson, now I have to work hard to catch up.
We must invest heavily on HR to catch up with our German competitors.
keep up with
keep up
= maintain the level
The course is very demanding. I have to study hard to keep up with the level.
This is a very competitive sector. Small companies won't manage to keep up.
fall behind
= move to a backward position in a race.
We're falling behind on sales this quarter.
In terms of technology, our products is falling behind those of our competitors.
pull out
= use or succeed in using a trick or strategy.
It's time to pull out my secret weapon.
Selling at that price? I think you can't pull that one out.
be held up
= stuck, not moving forward
I was held up in the traffic jam for more than an hour.
Half the staff is either on holidays or on sick leave. Everything is completely held up!
spread out
= expand
Viral marketing is all about spreading out ideas through email or social media.
The use of this technology will spread out as soon as prices go down.
mess it up
= make a big mistake, be disturbed
Our plans were messed up because of the flight cancelation.
This time you really messed it up. You're gonna get fired if the boss finds out.
blow up
= ruin, burst, explode
This blinking light is blowing up my concentration.
The storm blew up our weekend.
break through
= improve considerably, thrive
Our sales figures last quarter were impressive. We're definitely breaking through.
Thank to new technologies, our business managed to break through.
get by
= be just sufficient, make do with
You'll need to earn at least 1,000 euros just to get by.
As a tourist, your English is good enough to get by.

Phrasal verbs for your daily life

get along
= have a good relationship. Alternatively get on well.
Our kids get along really well. We should meet up here in the park more often.
Please don't invite Sarah for dinner. You know well that Martha doesn't get along with her.
hang out
= spend leisure time (with someone)
I spent the holidays in my hometown, hanging out with friends.
As I teenager, I would hang out all day with my mates in the sports playground.
be up to
= be someone's decision or responsibility.
We can have dinner wherever you want. Its' up to you.
It was up to you to make all the bookings, don't you remember?
think of
= consider doing something
I am thinking of changing my profession./... of buying a new car.
= choose with your mind
Think of a nice restaurant for our anniversary. Think of a nice present for your nephew.
go through
= experience, finish explaining/discussing
I am so sorry you had to go through this trauma. Luckily, it's all over now!
We can not finish the meeting without going through this matter.
wear out
= make s1 feel tired. Often used as participle: be worn out.
Getting in this crowded train everyday is really wearing me out!
I was completely worn out after working a double shift.
give up
= quit, surrender, lose hope.
She quit the job when she found out she could not develop her career there.
This is my biggest dream in life. Nothing on earth will ever make me give up!
turn to
= seek help from, resort to.
You know you can turn to your parents if you ever struggle economically.
Quite often old people turn to religion when they feel their days are ending.

Phrasal verbs for daily work

take up
= accept or asume new jobs, tasks, clients, hobbies.
You look a bit overworked. Please let me take up this project.
I took up swimming when I found that indoor pool near the office.
carry out
= to conduct/complete a project/tasks
The job agency will carry out the first interviews.
We can not carry out this plan without some additional funding.
run out/short of
= have very few resources
I'm running out of battery. Where can I plug my phone charger?
I can not go on holidays this summer. I'm running very short of cash.
sort out
= fix, solve a matter, have it ready
I'm working hard to sort everything out by Friday.
I can not sort this out myself. I'll have to find a legal advisor.
start over
= start again, from the very beginning
This is a bad explanation. Let me start over.
The business proposal is dismally flawed. We'll have to start it all over again!
to lay off
= to fire many employees
The company decided to lay off 50% of the employees in order to avoid bankruptcy.
The workers were laid off and the factory closed down.
roll out
= launch or implement new plans
We have to roll out a new dress code policy.
We're rolling out the Christmas campaign on Nov 1.

Phrasal verbs for appointments

meet up with
= for informal meetings
I met up with my longlife friends for a large Christmas dinner.
Do you ever meet up with your colleagues out of work?
call on
= announce an extraordinary meeting/event
We'll call on a meeting on Monday morning to analyse the proposal.
The director called on the crisis committee, in order to discuss the difficult situation.
call off
= cancel an event
The tennis match was called off for the heavy rain
There's no point in meeting if we don't have a proper presentation. Let's call off the meeting.
put off
= postpone, reschedule to a later date
Marshall and Wendy can not attend the meeting. We should put it off till next week.
I quite sick, resting in bed, Can we put off the basketball meetup?
bring forward
= reschedule to an earlier date
I'd like to take Friday off to go on a weekend trip. Can we bring the class forward to Thursday?
I have plenty of time off now. We could bring our next meeting forward.
show up
= a person appears
Come on, get ready! You don't want to show up late at the interview, do you?
The sales rep showed up with a heap of brochures and a huge projector.
look forward to
= to expect with much interest
I am really looking forward to our annual friends meetup.
All the fans are looking forward to the final match this Saturday night.

Phrasal verbs for meetings


break down into
= separate it into smaller parts
I will break down this presentation into three main blocks: first, ...
In this chart, all the car models are broken down by brand, size category and type of fuel.
look at
= pay attention to smtg or discuss a matter
In today's meeting we'll look at the sales performance of our new product line.
So now let's look at how investment in education and productivity highly correlate.
speed up
= do something faster
We have to deliver by Friday, so let's speed things up here, shall we?
We have to speed things up with the project. If not the client will finally seek a new provider
slow down
= do something more slowly
Please slow down. I can't understand what you're saying.
You're doing over 120 kilometres per hour. Can you please slow down?
go about
= how to approach or solve a problem.
This is a complete new challenge for us. How can we go about this?
I don't know how to go about this technical issue. The images don't display properly.
bring up
= mention, bring into the conversation.
Are we going to talk about the contracts? Certainly, thanks for bringing it up.
It is impolite to bring up religion or politics at the table.
point out
= remark, stress, highlight
Of all these values, I would point out purpose as the main motivator.
Sorry pointing out all your mistakes, but you really need to get this right.
kick off
= start a meeting or projects. Alternatively start off.
When is the Latam project going to kick off?
We all must be present at the kickoff meeting.

Phrasal verbs for technology

check out
= have a look at
There is a really good offer on this website. Go and check it out.
Did you check out the videos I sent you?
be down
= the service is not available
The railway line to the airport will be down until the end of the renovation works.
The server has been down for three hours. We need to fix it immediately.
go off
= turn off accidentally
The call dropped because the connection went off.
Sorry, I couldn't hear you. The sound went off all of a sudden.
go out
= lights turn off accidentally
The lights suddenly went out.
Did you hear about the blackout? Electricity went out in all the district.
put out
= turn off lights, extinguish fire/cigarette
Please put out your cigarette.
The fire brigade struggled to put out the fire.
shut down
= close a program or computer, sometimes forcibly
The application crashed. I'll shut it down and start it again.
Always shut down the computer through the 'Start button'. Do not force a shutdown.
sign up
= register in a website, join a school, club or organisation
Sign up to our website to access all our content.
New students can sign up online, by post, or visiting any of our branches.
log in/out
= enter/exit a website, server, etc. Alternatively sign in/out.
I couldn't log in because I forgot my password.
It's advisable to log out when leaving your bank's website .

Phrasal verbs for presentations

make up, account for
= represent a percentage. Alternatively account for.
Big retailers make up most of our sales. We need some diversification.
The Asian market accounts for 30% of our revenue and growing.
think it over
= take your time to think this matter/decision
Please give me a couple of days to think this over.
You don't have to tell me now. Just think it over and call me when you make a decision.
talk it over
= same as above, but talking
I must talk this over with my wife.
comes down to
= can be reduced to, depend on
How come you dance so well? It just comes down to feeling the music and dancing a lot.
If you want to be a good salesperson, it all comes down to being resilient and a good listener.
put it down to
= find the cause/culprit
Why is housing so expensive now? I would put it down to the low interest rates.
Too much obesity? You can not put it down to a lack of awareness, but rather a lack of time for cooking.
draw on
= be based on
His books on psychology draw on many of Freud's theories.
The team drew on a lot of courage and a bit of luck to make it to the final.

Phrasal verbs for handling things

put in/take out
= introduce/remove things, inside and outside
Put the chicken in the oven. Take it out after 40 minutes.
I can't put in more clothes. The suitcase is completely full. Ok, I'll take out these big boots.
put on/take off
= place/remove things on and off surfaces. Often used for clothes.
I put some posters on the wall and took the magnets off the wall.
You can take off your uses and put on these slippers to feel more comfortable.
turn into
= transform something or oneself.
We turned the old cafรจ into a fancy restaurant.
Caterpillars turn into butterflies.
pass over
= give someone things, information, responsibilities. Alternatively hand over.
I've got a lot of work now. Pass this request over to Jeffrey.
Sales in Portugal were handed over to a local distributor.
take over
= assume a management position.
I think our son is not ready yet to take over the family business.
The new Prime Minister took over amidst doubts about his lack of experience.
hand out
= give large amounts of information of free stuff. Alternatively give out or send out.
They're always giving out leaflets at the entrance of the station.
We sent out an email bulletin to all our subscriptors.
give away
= give something for free because you don't use it
If you no longer wear these clothes, you can give them away to charity.
He was a good philanthropist. He regularly gave away 10% of his wealth to the poor.
throw away
= drop into a trash bin
Those trainers are too old. Please throw them away!
Look how much food you are throwing away! Why did you order so much?
to come off
= be released accidentally
Oh dear! This plug just keeps coming off all the time.
The man fell off the cliff because the handrail came off its place.
throw in
= include.
Pour water and some olive oil. You can throw in some chilly powder to spice it up.
To make your speech sound more natural, throw in some idiomatic expressions.

Phrasal verbs for handling conflict

give in
= to make too many concessions in an argument/negotiation.
If both parts give in a little bit, we could soon reach an agreement.
You are really stubborn. In the end I always have to give in.
make up
= invent names, words, stories.
I had to make up an excuse for not attending the dinner party.
The places in my novel are all made up.
make up for/to
= compensate for losses or aggravation.
He started to invest heavily to make up for the losses made.
I'm very sorry for spoiling your plans. I promise I'll make it up to you.
end up
= reach a final (often unexpected) situation.
You'd better not talk politics. You always end up arguing.
The GPS took us through the wrong direction and we ended up in the middle of nowhere.
piss off
= make s1 angry, infuriate.
Could you please shut up your mouth? You're really pissing me off.
He'll get really pissed off if I tell him what actually happened that night.
set back
= cost unexpectedly, in a negative sense
This car repair set me back 500 pounds.
They had us pay a huge penalty. It set us back 10,000 euros.
get away
= escape.
The bank robbers got away by car.
We all have to do overtime during sales period. You can't get away from it.
get away with it
= escape without paying the consequences
She always gets away with doing little work, because she is a friend of the CEO.
An inspector will eventually knock on your door. Don't think you can get away with it.
catch out
= see s1 doing something illegal or specially wrong.
I caught him out searching my luggage.
If they catch you out working without a licence, you'll go straight into jail !
watch out
= be alert, pay attention to possible dangers.
Watch out! There are many pickpockets about.
When driving on this lane, you have to watch out for incoming traffic.
break down
= when machines break.
I have a second laptop, just in case this one breaks down again.
The engine broke down in the middle of nowhere. We had to wait for ages.
fall through
= for plans that fail.
The whole strategy fell through because we couldn't get the platform to run.
If they go on with the strikes at the airport, our holiday plans will fall through.
do away with
= eliminate, fire or kill.
This supplier is completely useless. Let's do away with him.
This insect plague is a headache. How can we do away with them?

Phrasal verbs for hobbies

be into
= be interested in, be a fan of. Use get into when you become interested.
The next match? Err, I don't know. I'm not into football.
It was during my Erasmus year that I really got into languages .
feel like +ing
= want now, be in the mood for, fancy
Do you feel like going for a walk?
I don't feel like watching romantic movies again, honey!
be up for
= feel like, want, agree to a plan
Are you up for some Chinese takeaway food?
They're opening a new commercial centre. Who's up for some shopping?
get around to
= finally find the time to work on a pending issue.
I had always wanted to learn to play the organ, but I didn't have the time to get around to it.
After delivering all the orders, I finally got around to studying some programming.
carried away
= delighted, full of joy.
I was completely carried away when the band played my favourite song.
Haha, he gets so carried away when he talks about his mum's cooking.
tell apart, tell from
= distinguish, notice the difference
Can you tell a saxophone from a trumpet?
My cousins are twins. I can barely tell them apart.
go for
= choose, select.
I will go for the Olivier salad and a side dish of chips, thanks!
When starting University studies, I had no idea what degree to go for.
ask for
= request, order.
Excuse me, I asked for a coffee ten minutes ago. Is it coming?
The client is asking for a discount, because they're placing quite a large order.