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Phrasal Verbs List

This list shows 200 common phrasal verbs, with meanings and examples. Only the most usual meanings are given. You can also see also our fuller list of 1000 phrasal verbs here.

Phrasal verbs are usually two-word phrases consisting of verb + adverb or verb + preposition. Think of them as you would any other English vocabulary. Study them as you come across them, rather than trying to memorize many at once. Use the list below as a reference guide when you find an expression that you don't recognize. The example sentences will help you understand the meanings. If you think of each phrasal verb as a separate verb with a specific meaning, you will be able to remember it more easily. Like many other verbs, phrasal verbs often have more than one meaning.

phrasal verb meaning example sentence
ask sby out invite on a date Brian asked Judy out to dinner and a movie.
ask around ask many people the same question I asked around but nobody has seen my wallet.
add up to sthg equal Your purchases add up to $205.32.
back sthg up reverse You'll have to back up your car so that I can get out.
back sby up support My wife backed me up over my decision to quit my job.
blow up explode The racing car blew up after it crashed into the fence.
blow sthg up add air We have to blow 50 balloons up for the party.
break down stop functioning (vehicle, machine) Our car broke down at the side of the highway in the snowstorm.
break down get upset The woman broke down when the police told her that her son had died.
break sthg down divide into smaller parts Our teacher broke the final project down into three separate parts.
break in force entry to a building Somebody broke in last night and stole our stereo.
break into sthg enter forcibly The firemen had to break into the room to rescue the children.
break sthg in wear sthg a few times so that it doesn't look/feel new I need to break these shoes in before we run next week.
break in interrupt The TV station broke in to report the news of the president's death.
break up end a relationship My boyfriend and I broke up before I moved to America.
break up start laughing (informal) The kids just broke up as soon as the clown started talking.
break out escape The prisoners broke out of jail when the guards weren't looking.
break out in sthg develop a skin condition I broke out in a rash after our camping trip.
bring sby down make unhappy This sad music is bringing me down.
bring sby up raise a child My grandparents brought me up after my parents died.
bring sthg up start talking about a subject My mother walks out of the room when my father brings up sports.
bring sthg up vomit He drank so much that he brought his dinner up in the toilet.
call around phone many different places/people We called around but we weren't able to find the car part we needed.
call sby back return a phone call I called the company back but the offices were closed for the weekend.
call sthg off cancel Jason called the wedding off because he wasn't in love with his fiancé.
call on sby ask for an answer or opinion The professor called on me for question 1.
call on sby visit sby We called on you last night but you weren't home.
call sby up phone Give me your phone number and I will call you up when we are in town.
calm down relax after being angry You are still mad. You need to calm down before you drive the car.
not care for sby/ sthg not like (formal) I don't care for his behaviour.
catch up get to the same point as sby else You'll have to run faster than that if you want to catch up with Marty.
check in arrive and register at a hotel or airport We will get the hotel keys when we check in.
check out leave a hotel You have to check out of the hotel before 11:00 AM.
check sby/ sthg out look at carefully, investigate The company checks out all new employees.
check out sby/ sthg look at (informal) Check out the crazy hair on that guy!
cheer up become happier She cheered up when she heard the good news.
cheer sby up make happier I brought you some flowers to cheer you up.
chip in help If everyone chips in we can get the kitchen painted by noon.
clean sthg up tidy, clean Please clean up your bedroom before you go outside.
come across sthg find unexpectedly I came across these old photos when I was tidying the closet.
come apart separate The top and bottom come apart if you pull hard enough.
come down with sthg become sick My nephew came down with chicken pox this weekend.
come forward volunteer for a task or to give evidence The woman came forward with her husband's finger prints.
come from some place originate in The art of origami comes from Asia.
count on sby/ sthg rely on I am counting on you to make dinner while I am out.
cross sthg out draw a line through Please cross out your old address and write your new one.
cut back on sthg consume less My doctor wants me to cut back on sweets and fatty foods.
cut sthg down make sthg fall to the ground We had to cut the old tree in our yard down after the storm.
cut in interrupt Your father cut in while I was dancing with your uncle.
cut in pull in too closely in front of another vehicle The bus driver got angry when that car cut in.
cut in start operating (of an engine or electrical device) The air conditioner cuts in when the temperature gets to 22°C.
cut sthg off remove with sthg sharp The doctors cut off his leg because it was severely injured.
cut sthg off stop providing The phone company cut off our phone because we didn't pay the bill.
cut sby off take out of a will My grandparents cut my father off when he remarried.
cut sthg out remove part of sthg (usually with scissors and paper) I cut this ad out of the newspaper.
do sby/ sthg over beat up, ransack (BrE, informal) He's lucky to be alive. His shop was done over by a street gang.
do sthg over do again (AmE) My teacher wants me to do my essay over because she doesn't like my topic.
do away with sthg discard It's time to do away with all of these old tax records.
do sthg up fasten, close Do your coat up before you go outside. It's snowing!
dress up wear nice clothing It's a fancy restaurant so we have to dress up.
drop back move back in a position/group Andrea dropped back to third place when she fell off her bike.
drop in/ by/ over come without an appointment I might drop in/by/over for tea sometime this week.
drop sby/ sthg off take sby/ sthg somewhere and leave them/it there I have to drop my sister off at work before I come over.
drop out quit a class, school etc I dropped out of Science because it was too difficult.
eat out eat at a restaurant I don't feel like cooking tonight. Let's eat out.
end up eventually reach/do/decide We ended up renting a movie instead of going to the theatre.
fall apart break into pieces My new dress fell apart in the washing machine.
fall down fall to the ground The picture that you hung up last night fell down this morning.
fall out separate from an interior 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 only 35.
figure sthg out understand, find the answer I need to figure out how to fit the piano and the bookshelf in this room.
fill sthg in to write information in blanks, as on a form (BrE) Please fill in the form with your name, address, and phone number.
fill sthg out to write information in blanks, as on a form (AmE) The form must be filled out in capital letters.
fill sthg up fill to the top I always fill the water jug up when it is empty.
find out discover We don't know where he lives. How can we find out?
find sthg out discover We tried to keep the time of the party a secret, but Samantha found it out.

Phrasal Verbs List part 2 (G-Z)

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