Phrasal verbs in English
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.||
|A combination of a verb and an adverb.||
|A combination of a verb, a preposition and an adverb.||
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.
The phrasal verbs can be used in all tenses by conjugating the verb part.
1) Intransitive phrasal verbs
Intransitive phrasal verbs are not accompanied by an object complement.
- 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.
|break out||He breaks out of the cage.|
|carry on||They carried on with their life as if nothing has happened.|
|get by||After her divorce Fiona had just enough money to get by.|
|get up||Kids get up to fighting when their parents are not home.|
|go off||The alarm went off in the middle of the night.|
|hold on||Hold on for a minute, I will be right there.|
|speak up||He had to speak up, because he did not agree with the idea.|
|set in||The rain's set in for the day, so we can not go to the beach.|
|show off||He 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:
- If the object is a noun, it is either placed between the particle and the verb or after the particle.
- If the object is a pronoun, the object precedes the particle.
- 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 function||Structure of the sentence||Example|
|Noun||Verb + particle + object /
Verb + object + particle
|Pronoun||Verb + object + particle||
|Complex expression||Verb + particle + object||
The table shows a list of separable transitive phrasal verbs.
|bring up||He was brought up by his mother and father.|
|call off||We have decided to call of the wedding.|
|carry out||The investigation was carried out by the police.|
|fill in||Fill in the correct conjugation of the past simple.|
|find out||Yesterday she found out that he was lying to her.|
|give up||Last year I gave up drinking.|
|let down||You have let me down again.|
|look up||Paul is looking words up in the dictionary.|
|make up||Apparently she made the whole story up.|
|pick up||I have to pick up my sister after class.|
|think over||We have to think over your request before we say yes.|
|try on||Yasmin has tried on many shirts in the shop.|
|work out||They 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.
|ask after||I met John and he was asking about you.|
|break into||After the concert the audience broke into applause.|
|call on||He has to call on professional help after his accident.|
|count on||Can I count on you tonight?|
|deal with||Rebecca has to deal with a lot of issues at the moment.|
|do without||I don't know what I would do without you.|
|get over||He has to get over his relationship to feel happy again.|
|go over||We always go over the essay to correct mistakes.|
|join in||Sometimes you just don't feel like joining in the celebrations.|
|look after||The grandmother looked after her grandchildren yesterday.|
|run into||I ran into an old friend last week.|
|stand for||The 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.
|Answer back||Intransitive||Don't answer back to your mom!|
|Ask out||Transitive separable||When we were young he asked me out.|
|Ask over||Transitive separable||I asked him over to have a drink.|
|Back up||Transitive separable||She always will back you up.|
|Blow down||Transitive inseparable||The machine blew down the building.|
|Break down||Intransitive||She broke down when she received the sad news.|
|Break into||Transitive separable||He broke into our meeting without knocking the door.|
|Break out||Intransitive||The murderer broke out of jail.|
|Break up||Intransitive||They broke up after four years.|
|Bring up||Transitive inseparable||We had brought up our wedding during the dinner.|
|Call off||Transitive separable||
The meeting got called off.
|Call on||Transitive separable||She knows she can always call on me when she is sad.|
|Calm down||Intransitive||Calm down! Everything is going to be okay.|
|Carry on||Intransitive||They carried on with the lecture in spite of the problem with the computer.|
|Carry out||Transitive separable||We carried the plan out as we had planned.|
|Cheer up||Transitive separable||She cheered him up with a surprise.|
|Clear up||Transitive separable||It was raining when I got up, but it cleared up during the morning.|
|Come back||Intransitive||She is abroad, but she is coming back next week.|
|Come into||Transitive inseparable||He came into the room carefully to not make noise.|
|Come upon||Transitive inseparable||We came upon your brother in the cinema.|
|Count on||Transitive inseparable||You can always count on me.|
|Cross out||Transitive separable||I saw her crossing your name out from the list.|
|Cut out||Transitive separable||They cut out his tattoo because he didn't want it anymore.|
|Deal with||Transitive inseparable||We dealt with the problem easily.|
|Do up||Transitive separable||We have been doing up our room to make it nicer.|
|Drive off||Intransitive||After their argument, she drove off crying.|
|Drop by / Drop in||Intransitive||I dropped by when the party was about to finish.|
|Drop off||Intransitive||My mom drops me off at school after work.|
|Drop out||Intransitive||The driver dropped out the car when it started to burn.|
|Eat out||Intransitive||We would eat out more if we had more money.|
|Fall out||Intransitive||They have fallen out of contact after college.|
|Figure out||Transitive separable||How did you figure out the problem?|
|Fill in||Transitive separable||Fill in the form first, please.|
|Find out||Transitive separable||They found it out after studying the case deeply.|
|Fix up||Transitive separable||We will fix up the new office.|
|Get along||Intransitive||My mom and I get along very well.|
|Get away||Intransitive||The thief couldn't get away from the police.|
|Get by||Intransitive||I don't know how they get by without food.|
|Get in||Intransitive||I got in very late yesterday night.|
|Get on||Intransitive||Get on, we have to finish the project today.|
|Get up||Intransitive||I get up at 7.30 every morning.|
|Get over||Transitive inseparable||It took me months to get over my breakup with James.|
|Give away||Transitive separable||We have given our old clothes away, because we don't use it anymore.|
|Give up||Transitive separable||Don't give up on your dreams.|
|Go on||Transitive inseparable||Go on please, I want to listen to your version of the story.|
|Go off||Intransitive||The fire alarm went off when it detected the smoke.|
|Intransitive||We want to go out tonight.|
|Go over||Intransitive||She was going over what he told her for hours..|
|Hold on||Intransitive||Hold on, I pass the phone to my father.|
|Hold up||Transitive separable||I can't hold up when he speaks a lot.|
|Join in||Intransitive||You can join in whenever you want.|
|Keep away||Transitive separable||Keep away from this guy, he is a bad influence.|
|Keep on||Transitive inseparable||Why does he keep on texting me?|
|Keep up||Intransitive||This subject is very difficult and I have some problems to keep up with the class.|
|Leave out||Transitive separable||They always leave me out in their plans.|
|Let down||Transitive separable||Don't let me down, I trust you.|
|Look after||Transitive separable or inseparable||Could you look after my children on Friday night?|
|Look into||Transitive inseparable||In this laboratory, they are looking into a new medicine.|
|Look out||Intransitive||Look out when you cross the street.|
|Look up||Intransitive||If you look up you will see all the stars. It's magical.|
|Make up||Transitive separable||Don't trust him, he always makes stories up.|
|Move in||Intransitive||It has been one year since I moved in with my sister.|
|Pay back||Transitive separable||I have to pay my parents the money back that they lent me.|
|Pick up||Transitive separable||We are going to pick up my sister at the airport.|
|Plug in||Transitive separable||You should plug in your phone because you don't have battery left.|
|Point out||Transitive separable||She pointed out the important parts of the research yesterday.|
|Put away||Transitive separable||The kids put their toys away.|
|Put off||Transitive separable||We had to put off the dinner because he was ill.|
|Put on||Transitive separable||Put your jacket on, it's very cold outside.|
|Put out||Transitive separable||The firefighters put out the fire quickly.|
|Put up||Transitive separable||I was glad to put my sister and her husband up at home when they came to visit me.|
|Rip off||Transitive separable||A lot of restaurants rip off the tourists.|
|Run away||Intransitive||She ran away from her house when she was 18 years old.|
|Run into||Transitive inseparable||We ran into your mom in the supermarket. What a coincidence.|
I have run out of money, I have to find a job.
|See off||Transitive separable||He came with me to the train station to see me off.|
|Set in||Intransitive||She set in a new town to start from zero.|
|Set off||Intransitive||The plane sets off at 12 p.m.|
|Set out||Intransitive||They set out from Paris.|
|Set up||Transitive separable||He always thinks we are trying to set him up.|
|Show off||Intransitive||She was showing off about her new car.|
|Sleep in||Intransitive||She doesn't work on Sundays so she can sleep in.|
|Slow down||Intransitive||You are driving so fast! Slow down.|
|Sort out||Transitive separable||She wanted it perfect and that's why she sorted all the details out.|
|Speak up||Intransitive||Speak up! There is a lot of noise.|
|Split up||Intransitive||Can we split up the bill please?|
|Stand by||Intransitive||I will stand by if you phone me.|
|Take after||Transitive separable||Many people say that my sister takes after me.|
|Take down||Transitive separable||He took down all the details.|
|Take in||Transitive separable||He is always taking in you. It's very funny.|
|Take off||Intransitive||The plane took off just on time.|
|Take on||Transitive separable||You don't need to worry. I will take on everything.|
|Take out||Transitive separable||He took her out and she couldn't believe it.|
|Tell off||Transitive separable||My dad told me off a lot of times when I didn't search for a job.|
|Think over||Transitive separable||You think over the offer and let me know your choice.|
|Throw away||Transitive separable||They want to throw these tables away because they don't use them anymore.|
|Try on||Transitive separable||You should try the dress on before you buy it.|
|Try out||Transitive separable||You should try the sushi out. I love it!|
|Turn around||Intransitive||Turn around carefully and check the table in front of us, is he your exboyfriend?|
|Turn up||Intransitive||Don't worry, I'm sure your wallet will turn up.|
|Wear off||Intransitive||The effect of the anesthetic will wear off in a couple of hours.|
|Work out||Intransitive / transitive separable||We are going to work out today.|
Test your knowledge of the phrasal verbs by doing the exercises below.
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