Monday, 6 May 2013

Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are combinations of words that perform the function of a verb. These combinations necessarily include a verb and either an adverb or a preposition (or both). They form one complete semantic unit because the words that comprise a phrasal verb together describe one action. For example:     

Phrasal Verb
Example Sentences
ask around
To ask the same question from many people
I have not seen him here but I will ask around.
I am not sure if there are vacancies, but I will ask around the office.
add up to something
To equal/corroborate a fact
She explained why the work was not ready, but her story does not add up.
The clues we found at the house and the museum must add up to something.
ask someone out
To invite someone on a date
I want to ask her out but she is dating someone.
 I wish I could muster the courage to ask her out.
blow something up
To exaggerate
The girls in school always blow gossip up to huge proportions.
My mother blows my achievements up in front of guests.
back someone up
To support
The captain will not back him up just because he is his son.
 You may be wrong but I will back you up because you are my brother.
blow up
To explode
The army is going to blow up that building with a bomb.
Our calculations were wrong and the rocket blew up just after liftoff.
break down
To stop functioning (usually for vehicle, machine, etc.)
The old train is certain to break down if it is not maintained properly.
He was driving recklessly and the old car broke down.
break something down
To divide and subdivide
They broke the students down into groups of four.
 The detective said they were still breaking the information down to make sense of it.
break into something
To enter forcibly/ interrupt
The newspaper reported a break-in at the bank.
Last night, two thieves broke into the house next door.
break up
To end a relationship
A break up can lead to emotional trauma.
After being together for five years they have decided to break up.
 break out
To escape
The Taliban helped 500 inmates escape of the Afghan jail.
Ten inmates broke out of prison in the southern town yesterday.
break out
To spread
There was a world panic when SARS broke out in China in 2002.
The news about the adulterous affair will break out in tomorrow’s newspaper.
bring someone down
To upset someone or to make someone unhappy
The boss manages to bring down my mood every day.
His pessimistic comments bring down the whole group.
bring someone up
raise a child
I was broke up in a conservative Hindu family.
After being abandoned by his parents in Ghana he was brought up by an Italian couple.
bring up
To initiate a conversation on a subject
My sister walks out of the room when I bring up the subject of sports.
I will bring up the issue of cleanliness in the meeting today.
call around
To phone different places/people
We called around but we could not find the spare part we needed.
I have not seen him today but I will call around and inquire.
call someone back
To return a phone call
Please me back when you get this message.
I could not answer your call earlier but I will call back shortly.
call something off
To abandon or cancel
The referee has decided to call off the game due to bad weather.
They have decided to call off the wedding due to financial troubles.
call someone up
To phone someone
The boss wants you to call up the client now.
She will call you up later to discuss the issue.
calm down
relax after being angry
It is going to be okay, please calm down.
The crew asked us to calm down during turbulence.
catch up
To get to the same point as someone else/ or to work hard in order to equal with someone
You will have to walk faster if you want to catch up with Maya.
You have studied a lot more and I need to catch up.
check in
To reach and register at a hotel or airport
When you arrive at the airport, you have to check in at the airline desk.

At a hotel, check-in is normally required in order to obtain a room key.
check out
To leave a hotel
You will have to return the room when you check out of the hotel.
Please ensure that you are in possession of all your belongings before checking-out of the hotel.
cheer up
Used as an expression to ask someone to be happy
She cheered up when she heard that the result was positive.
 Cheer up, it is your birthday!
chip in
To contribute/help
If everybody chips in, we can get a bottle of the most expensive wine.
I do not have enough money for a pizza so all of you need to chip in as well.
clean something up
To tidy a place
They need to clean up the platform because it is really dirty.
You must clean up the room before the president arrives.
come across something
find unexpectedly
I came across these books when I was tidying the cupboard.
While reading this book I came across new information regarding dinosaurs.
come apart
To separate/ fall down/ break down
The flimsy decorations came apart halfway through the celebrations.
The group of friends came apart once they went to different colleges.
come down with something
To become sick
Her son came down with the flu last weekend.
My throat is sore; I think I am coming down with a cold.
come forward
To support/ to take an initiative
The hospital is anxious for more donors to come forward.
Who will come forward and take the responsibility?
come from somewhere
To originate in
He resides in Brazil although he comes from Spain.
Most of the stench comes from the open drain behind the house.
count on someone/something
To rely on a person or thing
Can I count on you to complete this essay by tonight?
I could not complete the task so I am counting on you to do it.
cross something out
To draw a line through something
Kindly cross out your old telephone number and write the new one.
That word is wrong and you need to cross it out as soon as possible.
cut back on something
To use or consume less of something
My financial advisor has asked me to cut back on unnecessary expenditure.
We need to cut back on driving since the price of petrol is at an all-time high.
cut into
To interrupt in between something or someone
He cut into the argument with a point of his own.
He asked if could cut in on the dance between Tim and me.
cut something off
To cut something with something sharp
The butter is frozen. Cut off a small blob and let it rest outside so that it melts faster.
He cut off a small piece from the large slab of cheese using a knife.
cut something off
To stop providing/to break all relations with someone
The cable company cut off our connection because we did not pay our bill.
After he was convicted, his family decided to cut him off.
cut something out
To remove pieces or part of something
She looked over the article and cut the introduction out and rewrote it.
 She cut a piece out of the chunk of cheese and placed it on the counter.
do something over
To do something again
You sang the wrong words this time; we will have to do it over.
My homework assignment was unacceptable, so my teacher asked me to do it over.
do away with something
To dispose of or discard something
It is time to do away with all these old files.
My mother asked me to do away with all the unusable toys.
dress up
To be dressed in a fancier or better way than normal
The party is at a fancy restaurant so we need to dress up appropriately.
I was asked to dress up for the mayor’s party.
drop back
To move back in a position
He dropped back to fifth position because he fell off his motorcycle.
The coach asked the attacking players to drop back.
drop in/by/over
To come without an appointment
I thought I’d drop in and say hi.
I was surprised when she dropped in unannounced at midnight.
Drop someone/something off
To take someone/something somewhere and leave them/it there
Can you drop me off at the bus stop?
I will drop him off at the train station before reaching the venue.
drop out
To quit a class, school, etc.
He dropped out of the chess club because it was too difficult for him.
She dropped out of college but managed to set up her own company.
eat out
To eat outside of home, usually in a restaurant
I eat out almost five days a week.
I do not feel like cooking today so let’s eat out?
end up
To do/to eventually reach/to decide
If you do not work, you will end up on the streets.
He studied history at college but ended up working at a bank.
fall apart
To break into pieces
This wall will fall apart if we do not use cement.
The house of cards stood for a minute but then fell apart.
fall down
To fall on the ground/ to fall off from somewhere to the ground
If he does not walk carefully on the ledge, he will fall down.
He was walking carelessly and thus, fell down.
fall out
To separate
The veteran cricketer has fallen out of favour.
The coach and the player had a fall out and the latter decided to quit.
figure something out
To study/understand
She needs to figure out what the problem is.
We need to figure out the route before commencing the trek.
fill something in
To write information in a form, etc.
Fill in the blank spaces and submit the sheet.
You must fill in the form in order to obtain a ticket.
fill something up
To fill something completely or to the top
I want you to fill up the tank with diesel.
She wanted to fill up the entire glass with wine.
find out
To search/discover
How do I find out where he lives?
I need you to find out whether he is lying or not.
get something across/over
To communicate
He is a good orator and has no problem getting his message across.
He could not get across the message.
get along/on
To like each other
One must get along with their colleagues.
It is about time you buried the hatchet and got along with each other
get away
To go on a vacation or a leave
They are planning a romantic get away for their anniversary.
We have not travelled in a while so we are planning a getaway this summer.
get away with something
do something (usually something wrong) without being noticed or punished
He will not get away with an abusive remark like that.
You cannot steal cars in broad daylight and expect to get away with it.
get back
To return
She did not get back home until 5 o’clock.
The boss needs you to get back from the Bahamas and complete the report.
get back at someone
To retaliate/to take a revenge
My brother got back at me for eating his piece of cake.
After being humiliated in public, she decided to get back at her with ruthless intent.
get on something
To step onto something
The train was full so we could not get on.
To reach the chandelier, you must get on the stool.
get over something
To recover/overcome
The stock market is slowly getting over the recession.
You need to get over the fact that he stole your bicycle.
get together
To meet
Do you want to get together this Saturday?
Let’s get together at the mall this weekend.
get up
To stand/get out of bed
Please get up, this seat is reserved for ladies.
You are not allowed to sit there, so, kindly get up.
give something away
To reveal/give something for free/donate
The ice cream company is giving away free scoops tomorrow.
Before dying, he had pledged to give away half his money to charity.
give something back
To return
You must give the bone back to the dog.
You have her mobile phone and need it give it back to her.
give in
To unwillingly stop fighting or arguing
The dictator finally gave in to the mounting pro-democracy protests.
After arguing for over two hours, I decided to give in to her demands.
give up
To stop trying
This exam is really difficult and I think I am going to give up.
Never give up, never surrender!
go after someone
To follow someone
The big dog is going to go after the cat.
The police decided to go after the criminal after he had robbed a bank.”
go after something
To try to achieve something
My father always encouraged me to go after my goals.
She is really working hard going after the top prize.
go against someone or something
To oppose
Does he really want to go against the policies of the company?
You cannot go against the coach and expect to remain with the team.
go ahead
To proceed/start/initiate something
The General wants us to go ahead with the plan.
The centre has asked the states to go ahead with FDI in the retail sector.
go back
To return to a place
This place is very dangerous; I suggest you go back home.
He needs us to go back to the office and collect his belongings.”
go out
To leave home to go out for an occasion, etc.
Let’s go out for dinner tonight to celebrate your promotion!
I will go out in the evening to watch the play.
go out with someone
To date someone
Tim has wanted to go out with Mary for a long time now.
She is going out with two boys at the same time.
go over something
To pay a visit to someone/something nearby
It’s great that Hari has moved next door; I can just go over to his place whenever I’m bored!
She is going over to his place later tonight.
go over
To check or review
Here are your insurance papers, please go over them carefully so that you know all the details.
We need to go over this brochure and select a location for the meeting.
grow apart
To end a friendship
We used to be great friends, but after college we began to grow apart.
We were good friends but grew apart after graduating from college.
grow up
To become an adult
It is always hard for parents when their children grow up.
The puppy was tiny when they found it but it grew up to be a huge dog.
grow out of something
To get too big for something, usually a piece of clothing
I will buy a new pair of trousers if and when I grow out of this pair.
I have gained weight and grown out of the pants I purchased last summer.
grow into something
To grow big enough to fit
Initially he had some trouble at the new office, but things went smoothly after he grew into his role.
She has become taller and grown into the dress.
hand something down
To give something used to someone else
When I was a child, I was handed down my brother’s clothes.
 Please hand down your old books to underprivileged children.
hand something out
To distribute to a group of people
The party members were spreading their propaganda by handing out fliers.
 The boss is going to hand out a list of responsibilities to everybody today.
hand something over
To give (usually unwillingly)
The thieves asked us to hand over all our belongings.
The landlord requested us to hand over the keys to the apartment.
hang in
To stay strong and positive
When my friend was diagnosed with cancer, all I could say to him was, “Don’t lose hope. Hang in there.”
Don’t lose heart, hang in there!
hang on
To wait for a short time
Hang on, let me get ready and then we can leave.
Hang on, I’m coming too!
hang out
To spend time relaxing or chilling out
My friends and I generally hang out at malls.
Let’s hang out at the bar after work tonight.
hang up
To end a phone call
When I get angry with someone on the phone, I simply hang up.
I did not wish to talk to him anymore so I decided to hang up the phone.
Hold someone/something back
To prevent from doing/going
If you have a complaint, don’t hold back; you cannot fix the problem if you do not voice it.
 You must hold him back from committing such a dangerous stunt.
hold something back
To hide an emotion/to be stopped by something or someone
He was a great athlete, but he was held back from succeeding by his parents, who wanted him to study instead.
He held back his tears even though he was distraught.
hold on
To wait for a short time
She asked the taxi driver to hold on while she located her wallet.
He has asked you to hold on to his book until he returns.
keep on doing something
continue doing
He asked them to keep on working while he looked around.
The musicians kept on playing even though it was raining.
keep something from someone
To not tell/not do/to keep a secret
Why do you keep secrets from me?
You have a wonderful voice so you must not keep from singing.
Keep someone/something out
To stop someone or something from entering at a place
The insects must be kept out at all costs.
The gate has been installed to keep out stray dogs.
keep something up
To continue at the same rate
Keep up the good work!
Keep up this speed for the rest of the journey and we will reach on time.
let someone down
To disappoint someone
You can rely on her; she will never let you down.
You have let me down with this disappointing performance.
let someone in
To permit to enter
Please lock the door and do not let anybody in.
Yes, he is a guest so please let him in.
look after someone/something
To take care of
Nurses are supposed to look after patients.
I need you to look after my dog while I’m away.
look down on someone
To belittle someone/ to consider someone inferior to oneself
She always looks down on her staff and treats them badly.
A lot of people look down on them because they are poor.
look for someone/something
To try to find
Do you want to look for the pen we lost yesterday?
Let us look for the ball in the garage.
look forward to something
To be excited about some future plan, etc.
Are you looking forward to tonight’s football match?
I am really looking forward to the weekend!
look into something
To investigate
We are going to look into the price of cars today.
They need to look into the matter carefully in order to avoid a lawsuit.
look out
To be careful
Don’t forget to look out for mosquitoes in the swamp.
Look out for speeding buses on the highway.
look out for someone/something
To be extra careful or vigilant
The guide told them to look out for pickpockets in the marketplace.
Look out for hurricane alerts on the island at this time of the year.
look something over
To check/examine
Give the document a look over for errors.
The teacher wants the student to look over his answers once again.
look up to someone
To respect someone immensely
I look up to my sister because she is a wonderful human being.
I look up to my coach because he was a great sportsman.
make something up
To lie about something
When asked why I hadn’t done my homework, I made up a story about having done it but forgotten that that day was the day of submission.
You must stop making up stories because we know you are lying.
make up
To forgive each other
He returned my money very late, but tried to make up for it by treating me to lunch.
He is taking her out to dinner to make up for being at work on their anniversary.
make someone up
To apply cosmetics
She was so nervous she almost went on stage without any make up.
That actor uses a lot of make up before shooting a scene.
mix something up
To get confused
We got through most of the show without any mix ups, but right at the end the lead actor forgot one of his lines.
The experienced striker pounced on a defensive mix-up to fire home into an open goal.
pass away
To die
I took two weeks off work because my grandfather passed away.
Our dog had been ill for a few months and passed away last night.
pass out
To lose consciousness
It was so hot in the examination hall that one of the students passed out for a couple of minutes.
He walking in the sun and passed out due to the heat.
pay someone back
To return the owed money
There should be no money issues between friends, so when I lend money to my friends I tell them they can pay back whenever it is convenient for them.
You can borrow money now but you must pay back within a week.
pay for something
To be punished for doing something bad
It is my policy to pay for everything when I am out on a date.
The police swore that the terrorist would pay for destroying the building.
pick something out
To choose
I always let my mother pick out my clothes, because she has excellent taste.
The concierge at the hotel helped us pick out a nice restaurant.
Point someone/something out
To point or indicate using your finger
I tried to give the tourists directions orally, but they couldn’t understand me, so I pointed out the turning they were supposed to take.
I have asked the professor to point out all the mistakes in my assignment.
put something off
To postpone
I was very tired that day, so I put off the meeting till after the weekend.
The boss has asked us to put off our lunch plan to a later hour.
put something together
To assemble
We had to put together the presentation in 2 days.
The different parts have been provided in order to put together this mountain bike.
put up with someone/something
To bear or tolerate something or someone
My roommate told me to move out, saying, “I can’t put up with your irresponsible ways anymore!”
The company is not going to put up with inappropriate behaviour at the workplace.
put something on
To wear a dress/accessories on your body
I did not need to put on the t-shirt to know it was too big for me.
Pick out a dress, put it on, and decide whether you like it or not.
run into someone/something
To meet someone unexpectedly
I ran into an old friend from college the other day.
It was a pleasant surprise when I ran into him at the mall the other day.
run over someone/something
To drive a vehicle over a person or thing
Your toy is broken because I ran over it with my car.
The truck accidently ran over a cat on the highway.
run away
To leave unexpectedly/ to escape
The bride had run away with someone else on the wedding day.
The children made a plan to run away from home to join the circus.”
run out
To have nothing left of something
They ran out of sandwiches at the cafe.
She couldn’t make tea as they had run out of milk.
send something back
To return
I sent back the steak because it raw.
This product is not what we had ordered and we are going to send it back.
set something up
To arrange/organize
They want to set up a lemonade stall at the fair.
The government needs to set up a commission for the riot victims.
set someone up
To trick/trap someone or something
The hunter set the lion up for the trap but it escaped.
The people at the bank were part of a set up by the police to catch the criminal.
show off
To act boastfully when people watch
He wants to show off his house by illuminating it.
Most people simply love to show off their wealth in front of their friends.
sleep over
To stay somewhere out of home, for the night
Jack is planning a sleepover at his place on his birthday.
 The first sleepover at a friend’s place can be a big deal for some children.
sort something out
To organise/ to resolve a situation
You may want the lawyers to sort the issue out.
We need to sort out these cards and arrange them according to size.
stick to something
To continue doing something
You will not lose weight if you do not stick to the diet.
Most people do not stick to the same job for a long period.
switch something off
To turn off
Could you switch the light off please?
Please switch off the television before going to bed.
switch something on
To turn on
He turned the machine on again and it stopped making a noise.
Grandmother wants you to switch on the radio for her.
take something back
To return something
I need to take my money back from him.
He can keep my bag for now but I’m going to take it back tomorrow.”
take off
To start flying
I feel that the most thrilling part of any plane journey is when it takes off.
The plane finally took off after taxiing for twenty minutes.
take something off
To remove something (usually items of clothing)
I was about to take off my clothes when I realised there was someone else in the room.
I want you to take this off the list and include that instead.
take something out
To remove from a place
She took out some money from the safe.
Please take out the garbage after dinner.
take someone out
To take someone out with yourself and also to pay for them
My girlfriend was very depressed because she had lost her job so I took her out for dinner.
On the last day of college the professor took the students out for lunch.
tear something up
To rip something into pieces
My boss simply tears up the articles he doesn’t like.
The cat tore up the newspaper.
think back
To recall or remember
Whenever I think back to my school days, tears of nostalgia come to my eyes.
Think back to the time when we were at the beach.
think something over
To consider
You must think this job offer over before taking a decision.
This is my proposal, think it over, and let me know.
throw something away
To trash something or to dispose of
I like that bag, please do not throw it away.
These dirty clothes need to be thrown away.
turn something down
To decrease the volume
I want to turn down the volume.
The old man has asked me to turn down the volume.
turn something down
To refuse
He asked her to marry him but she turned him down.
He turned down the offer from ABC Corporation.
turn something off
To switch off
He turned off the lights before going to bed.
Please turn off the fans when you leave.
turn something on
To switch on
She forgot to turn on the charger so her cell stayed off.
He asked her to turn on the coffee machine.
try something out
To test
Do you want to try out this new shampoo?
Most people refrain from trying out a new cuisine.
use something up
To use something entirely or to finish all
I get very tense when my friends come over because they use up all my supplies.
I cannot print this page because all the ink in the printer has been used up.
wake up
To stop sleeping
I generally wake up at about 7 in the morning.
You need to wake up early in the morning for karate practice.
warm up
To prepare the body for exercise
It is a good idea to warm up before engaging in strenuous physical activity.
It is essential to warm up a little before swimming.
wear off
To diminish in quality because of frequent use
The difference between superior and inferior products is that the latter wear out much more quickly.
The sole of this old shoe has worn out.
work out
To exercise
My lifestyle has gotten so sedentary since I joined the office that I have signed up for daily work outs at the gym.
Only a few people take gym memberships to actually work out.
work out
To be successful with something
I really hope that things work out for you.
This job will work out only if I can get my own office

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