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Phrasal verbs in English

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In this chapter the English phrasal verbs will be explained. Phrasal verbs are made up of a main verb and a proposition or an adverb. The meaning of the phrasal verb is different from the original one. 

Formation and use of English phrasal verbs 

The table below shows what a phrasal verb can be. 

What can a phrasal verb be?Example
A combination of a verb and a preposition.
  • We broke up three months ago. 
  • agree with you on this subject.
A combination of a verb and an adverb.
  • The colours of this shirt are fading away. 
  • She can not get away with this. 
A combination of a verb, a preposition and an adverb. 
  • He looks down on his girlfriend.
  • Keep up with the news please. 

Phrasal verbs have different meanings than the original verb. They are usually used in everyday speech. The phrasal verbs can be divided in:

  • Intransitive phrasal verbs: they have no object. 
  • Transitive phrasal verbs: they can have an object. 

The transitive phrasal verbs can be divided in inseparable and seperable according to whether the particle can be separated from the verb or not. 

enlightenedThe phrasal verbs can be used in all tenses by conjugating the verb part. 

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1) Intransitive phrasal verbs

Intransitive phrasal verbs are not accompanied by an object complement. 

Examples:

  • Prices have gone up remarkably over the last few months. 
  • I waited and waited but he did not turn up. 

The table shows a list of intransitive phrasal verbs. 

Phrasal verbExample
break outHe breaks out of the cage. 
carry onThey carried on with their life as if nothing has happened.
get byAfter her divorce Fiona had just enough money to get by. 
get upKids get up to fighting when their parents are not home.
go offThe alarm went off in the middle of the night.
hold onHold on for a minute, I will be right there. 
speak upHe had to speak up, because he did not agree with the idea. 
set inThe rain's set in for the day, so we can not go to the beach. 
show offHe is always showing off with his big car. 

2) Transitive phrasal verbs - separable 

The separable transitive phrasal verbs are accompanied by an object, which has a different position in the sentence depending on the function:

  1. If the object is a noun, it is either placed between the particle and the verb or after the particle.
  2. If the object is a pronoun, the object precedes the particle. 
  3. If the object is represented by a complex expression, it is place after the particle. 

The table below shows the structure of the sentence for every function as discussed above.

Object functionStructure of the sentenceExample
NounVerb + particle + object /
Verb + object + particle
  • Turn off your mobile. 
  • Turn your mobile off.
PronounVerb + object + particle
  • Turn it off
Complex expressionVerb + particle + object
  • We turned off the electrical applicances in the house. 

The table shows a list of separable transitive phrasal verbs.

Phrasal verbExample
bring upHe was brought up by his mother and father. 
call offWe have decided to call of the wedding.
carry outThe investigation was carried out by the police. 
fill inFill in the correct conjugation of the past simple. 
find outYesterday she found out that he was lying to her. 
give upLast year I gave up drinking. 
let downYou have let me down again. 
look upPaul is looking words up in the dictionary. 
make upApparently she made the whole story up. 
pick upI have to pick up my sister after class. 
think overWe have to think over your request before we say yes. 
try onYasmin has tried on many shirts in the shop. 
work outThey have to work out their differences. 

3) Transitive phrasal verbs - inseparable

The inseparable transitive phrasal verbs always have the same structure, because the preposition or adverb can not be separated from the verb. 

Structure: verb + particle + object

The table below shows a list of inseparable transitive phrasal verbs.

Phrasal verbExample
ask afterI met John and he was asking about you. 
break intoAfter the concert the audience broke into applause.
call onHe has to call on professional help after his accident.
count onCan I count on you tonight?
deal withRebecca has to deal with a lot of issues at the moment. 
do withoutI don't know what I would do without you. 
get overHe has to get over his relationship to feel happy again. 
go overWe always go over the essay to correct mistakes. 
join inSometimes you just don't feel like joining in the celebrations. 
look after The grandmother looked after her grandchildren yesterday. 
run intoI ran into an old friend last week. 
stand forThe letters WWW stand for World Wide Web. 
take after She takes after her mother. 

Most common phrasal verbs in English

The table below gives an overview of the most common phrasal verbs in English. 

Phrasal VerbTypeExample
Answer backIntransitiveDon't answer back to your mom!
Ask outTransitive separableWhen we were young he asked me out.
Ask overTransitive separable I asked him over to have a drink.
Back upTransitive separable  She always will back you up.
Blow downTransitive inseparable  The machine blew down the building.
Break downIntransitiveShe broke down when she received the sad news. 
Break intoTransitive separableHe broke into our meeting without knocking the door.
Break outIntransitive The murderer broke out of jail.
Break upIntransitiveThey broke up after four years.
Bring upTransitive inseparable  We had brought up our wedding during the dinner.
Call offTransitive  separable  

The meeting got called off. 

Call onTransitive separable  She knows she can always call on me when she is sad. 
Calm downIntransitiveCalm down! Everything is going to be okay. 
Carry onIntransitiveThey carried on with the lecture in spite of the problem with the computer.
Carry outTransitive  separableWe carried the plan out as we had planned.
Cheer upTransitive  separable She cheered him up with a surprise.
Clear upTransitive  separable  It was raining when I got up, but it cleared up during the morning. 
Come backIntransitiveShe is abroad, but she is coming back next week.
Come intoTransitive inseparableHe came into the room carefully to not make noise.
Come uponTransitive  inseparable  We came upon your brother in the cinema.
Count onTransitive inseparable You can always count on me.
Cross outTransitive  separable  I saw her crossing your name out from the list.
Cut outTransitive  separable  They cut out his tattoo because he didn't want it anymore.
Deal withTransitive inseparable We dealt with the problem easily.
Do upTransitive  separable We have been doing  up our room to make it nicer.
Drive offIntransitiveAfter their argument, she drove off crying.
Drop by / Drop inIntransitiveI dropped by when the party was about to finish. 
Drop offIntransitive My mom drops me off at school after work.
Drop outIntransitiveThe driver dropped out the car when it started to burn.
Eat outIntransitive We would eat out more if we had more money.
Fall outIntransitive They have fallen out of contact after college.
Figure outTransitive  separable How did you figure out the problem? 
Fill inTransitive  separable  Fill in the form first, please.
Find outTransitive separable They found it out after studying the case deeply.
Fix upTransitive  separable  We will fix up the new office.
Get alongIntransitiveMy mom and I get along very well.
Get awayIntransitive The thief couldn't get away from the police.
Get byIntransitive  I don't know how they get by without food. 
Get inIntransitive   I got in very late yesterday night.
Get onIntransitive   Get on, we have to finish the project today.
Get upIntransitive   I get up at 7.30 every morning. 
Get overTransitive  inseparable  It took me months to get over my breakup with James.
Give awayTransitive  separable We have given our old clothes away, because we don't use it anymore. 
Give upTransitive  separable Don't give up on your dreams.
Go onTransitive inseparable Go on please, I want to listen to your version of the story.
Go offIntransitiveThe fire alarm went off when it detected the smoke.

Go out

IntransitiveWe want to go out tonight. 
Go overIntransitiveShe was going over what he told her for hours.
Hold onIntransitive Hold on, I pass the phone to my father.
Hold upTransitive  separable  I can't hold up when he speaks a lot.
Join inIntransitiveYou can join in whenever you want. 
Keep awayTransitive  separable Keep away from this guy, he is a bad influence.
Keep onTransitive  inseparable  Why does he keep on texting me? 
Keep upIntransitiveThis subject is very difficult and I have some problems to keep up with the class. 
Leave outTransitive  separable   They always leave me out in their plans. 
Let downTransitive  separable  Don't let me down, I trust you.
Look afterTransitive separable or inseparableCould you look after my children on Friday night?
Look intoTransitive  inseparable In this laboratory, they are looking into a new medicine.
Look outIntransitive  Look out when you cross the street.
Look upIntransitive If you look up you will see all the stars. It's magical.
Make upTransitive  separable Don't trust him, he always makes stories up.
Move inIntransitiveIt has been one year since I moved in with my sister.
Pay backTransitive  separable I have to pay my parents the money back that they lent me. 
Pick upTransitive separableWe are going to pick up my sister at the airport.
Plug inTransitive  separable You should plug in your phone because you don't have battery left.
Point outTransitive separable She pointed out the important parts of the research yesterday. 
Put awayTransitive  separable The kids put their toys away. 
Put offTransitive  separable  We had to put off the dinner because he was ill.
Put onTransitive  separable  Put your jacket on, it's very cold outside. 
Put outTransitive  separable The firefighters put out the fire quickly.
Put upTransitive  separable  I was glad to put my sister and her husband up at home when they came to visit me.
Rip offTransitive  separable   A lot of restaurants rip off the tourists. 
Run awayIntransitiveShe ran away from her house when she was 18 years old.
Run intoTransitive  inseparable  We ran into your mom in the supermarket. What a coincidence.
Run outIntransitive 

I have run out of money, I have to find a job.

See offTransitive  separable   He came with me to the train station to see me off.
Set inIntransitiveShe set in a new town to start from zero.
Set offIntransitiveThe plane sets off at 12 p.m. 
Set outIntransitiveThey set out from Paris.
Set upTransitive separableHe always thinks we are trying to set him up.
Show offIntransitiveShe was showing off about her new car.
Sleep inIntransitiveShe doesn't work on Sundays so she can sleep in.
Slow downIntransitiveYou are driving so fast! Slow down.
Sort outTransitive separable She wanted it perfect and that's why she sorted all the details out.
Speak upIntransitiveSpeak up! There is a lot of noise.
Split upIntransitiveCan we split up the bill please? 
Stand byIntransitiveI will stand by if you phone me.
Take afterTransitive  separable Many people say that my sister takes after me.
Take downTransitive  separable  He took down all the details.
Take inTransitive  separable He is always taking in you. It's very funny.
Take offIntransitiveThe plane took off just on time.
Take onTransitive separableYou don't need to worry. I will take on everything.
Take outTransitive separableHe took her out and she couldn't believe it.
Tell offTransitive  separableMy dad told me off a lot of times when I didn't search for a job.
Think overTransitive  separable You think over the offer and let me know your choice.
Throw awayTransitive  separableThey want to throw these tables away because they don't use them anymore.
Try onTransitive  separable You should try the dress on before you buy it.
Try outTransitive  separable You should try the sushi out. I love it!
Turn aroundIntransitive Turn around carefully and check the table in front of us, is he your exboyfriend?
Turn upIntransitive  Don't worry, I'm sure your wallet will turn up.
Wear offIntransitiveThe effect of the anesthetic will wear off in a couple of hours.
Work outIntransitive / transitive separable We are going to work out today.

Test your knowledge of the phrasal verbs by doing the exercises below.


Exercises

  1. Practice the English phrasal verbs
  2. Exercise word order English phrasal verbs
  3. Exercise phrasal verbs in English

Practice the English phrasal verbs


Exercise word order English phrasal verbs


Exercise phrasal verbs in English


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Elisabetta . Elisabetta .
Thank you very much dear, I send you a hug :)
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Thank you for your feedback Noelle, I will continue to do my very best for you!
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Very good teacher. Listening to our expectations, give good explanations and always smiling. Very flexible in terms of schedules!
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Thank you Kelly! The pleasure is mine to work with you :)

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I Offer English teaching, Phonics, word and sound pronunciation.
My lessons are aimed at children aged 2- 8.

I do general English conversation for older groups too.
Lets build a bright future and expand our knowledge.
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Stories, flash card, books and other items are used in lessons to make it fun.

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I am Yora, a self-employed English tutor. I have been working with adults searching for tailor-made English totorials or/and flexible learning schedule since 2013. The lessons I offer are pretty much focussed on good communication and natural learning in a modern way, i.e. with using IT everywhere we can.

My methods

I am a proponent of learner-centred approaches and methods which are non-directive and rely on learners’ intrinsic motivation. They usually learn a foreign language because they need it for their work, study, travel, etc.. At the same time, when they do it in an  enjoyable manner, in accordance with their nature, interests, and style, and with opportunities to choose their activities and learning materials themselves, it is also intrinsically motivated learning.

In professional terms, I try to creatively implement ideas and methods from approaches such as  Direct one, Natural Learning, Democratic Education, and in particular Suggestopedia, Montessori pedagogy, Summerhill and Sudbury Schools.

In practical terms, it may mean providing learner colleagues with choices and often asking them what they want to do, and whether they want to do one or another task. For instance, they can choose whether to use a student's book or not, and if yes, to choose among at least two alternatives. My primary focus is LEARNING, and I encourage the colleagues to be active and increasingly independent learners to the point they can confidently manage their own language learning themselves. Of course, efficient communication and IT are natural components of my tutorials because they are part of life.

So my pillars are:

1. Reliance on the intrinsic motivation (self-driven and self-determined learning); my role is to be learner's guide, to facilitate their learning, and encourage their independence;
2. Good communication;
3. eLearning (IT as inherent component);
4. Creativity and art.

What my students will learn

Firstly, my learner colleagues will achieve their learning goals, be they to cover a relevant student's book material necessary for passing an English level test, or to advance with their language command in areas they want or find necessary for their work, travel, study, etc., in a rather tailor made manner.

Secondly, my  learner colleagues will learn to become more independent English learners. As the language is everywhere nowadays, there are countless accessible learning options, and it is usually a matter of motivation, knowing how to learn, and good self-management to go as far as they need in it

My teaching experience

My English teaching career started in private language centres in Sofia in 2013. I have been working independently as an online English tutor since 2015.. Among my students, there have been from pre-school children (with the youngest one aged four) through teenagers to adults just before retirement. However I have specialized in and feel most comfortable tutoring English to adults. Currently, my online learner colleagues are usually white-collar workers and pink-collar ones investing in their English skills for the sake of their career.

Apart from it, I have been in the field of learning for almost thirty years  starting with my university studies in education, and then focusing on non-formal learning (outside school) and lifelong learning. The latter covers seven years as a professional in staff qualification and career guidance in National Institute for Education in Sofia, as well as fourteen years as an independent expert for the European Commission under their programmes related to education, lifelong learning, youth, and European Citizenship.

Reviews

Teaching methodology

4.81/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

4.79/5

Internet connection

4.93/5

Learning materials

4.5/5
4.7/5
The lesson was again very useful for me but at the same time difficult. We used different learning materials that make it easier for us.
Translated by Google Translate
Yordanka A. Yordanka A.

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
Bilingual private lessons

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
Catherine is an excellent teacher and communicator. In our initial session, we had an extremely productive conversation about goals and expectations and what I was seeking with personal lessons in Spanish. This allowed her to tailor our first lesson to my needs. I learned so much! She helped substantially with pronunciation and verb conjugations. I look forward to our next sessions and continued learning. I highly recommend her to anyone who is looking to improve their language skills in Spanish and English, in particular.
Catherine D. Catherine D. US

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

Hello! My name is Ivana and I come from Serbia.
I am a med student, also I am an active Red Cross volunteer. I worked with both children and adults. If you need some help with reading, listening, writing or speaking in Serbian or English, feel free to contact me. I am looking forward to meeting you. :)

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
She is a kind girl , professional and will give you attention and everything you need . Was a great lesson.
Ivana M. Ivana M. RS

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

I am very good with beginners and intermediate students. I help with pronunciation, learning new vocabulary and grammar. I always offer corrections and offer endless speaking opportunities.

I enjoy teaching and more than anything I enjoy teaching English, but as much as I teach I am always looking for an opportunity to learn. I allow myself to learn something from my students as many times as they are willing to teach. Together with my students, we create an atmosphere of on-going conversation around our class topic.

I have a Bachelor of English degree, as well as a 120-HOUR TEFL Certificate. I am mostly fluent in English, as it has the language medium throughout my entire life and school career.

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
My experience with teacher Comfort was excellent. She is patient, kind and explains in a way that is very easy to understand, giving you support tools for learning. I highly recommend her. Thank you so much Comfort.
Comfort A. Comfort A.

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5

Hi! My name is Consuelo and I am a professional teacher and translator. I live in Italy with my husband and my son on the East coast south of Ancona
I can help you learn English, Italian, and Spanish.
I have got a Bachelor degree and a master on Translation and I have been teaching for over 20 years students of all ages.
I can help you with the Language as a school subject or if you need to learn it for a trip or for a job. As a matter of fact I am very well acquainted with business companies and I can give you a few interesting tips.
My classes are usually one-to-one or in very small group so that it is possible to modulate them according to the student’s needs and specific situation.
Being married to a mental coach, I am highly specialized in motivating students and providing the best techniques to make learning more interesting and long-lasting.

Reviews

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5
I finally found my solution because of the many work commitments. Excellent material, patient and very helpful teacher
Translated by Google Translate
Consuelo C. Consuelo C. IT

Review

Teaching methodology

5/5

Communication

5/5

Punctuality

5/5

Internet connection

5/5

Learning materials

5/5
5/5