Phrasal Verbs


Abide by – to show respect towards.

All the students must abide by the rules.

Account for – to give reasons, to explain.

Ex: You should account for your absence.

Add up – to be reasonable, to make sense.

Ex: Paul’s story doesn’t add up.

Add up to something: to equal

Your bill adds up to $54.

Agree with: to share opinion with someone.

Ex: I agree with you regarding that matter.

Allow for: to consider something.

Ex: We should allow for bigger money spendings during the holiday.

Appeal to:   to plead or make a request.

Ex: He appealed to the court to change their decision.

Appeal to: to be attractive or interesting.

Ex: Horror movies do not appeal to me.

Apply for: to make a formal request.

Ex: Many people applied for that position.

Ask around – to seek for information from many different people.

Ex: He was asking around if someone had seen his dog.


Back away (off): to move backwards from someone or something.

Ex: The horse backed away from the snake.

Back down: to withdraw, to retreat.

Ex: I believe it’s better to back down from this situation.

Back up: to give support or encouragement.

Ex: Will you please back me up on this at the meeting?

Bank on: to rely on someone or something.

Ex: I wouldn’t bank on that train arriving on time if I were you.

Be around – be present.

Ex: If you want to talk to me I’ll be around.

Black out: to faint, to lose consciousness.

Ex: Mary nearly blacked out when she heard the news.

Blow up: to explode.

Ex: They blew up the construction and built it up again.

Boot up: to start a computer by loading an operating system or program.

Ex: You have to boot up your computer before you start to work.

Boss around – to tell someone what to do.

Ex: He’s bossing around although he’s not a boss.

Break down: to stop working, to go out of order.

Ex: The washing machine broke down so we had to call the service.

Break into: to enter by force.

Ex: Burglars broke into our neighbour‘s apartment last night.

Break out: to begin suddenly.

Ex: The Second World War broke out in 1939.

Break up: to end a relationship.

Ex: They broke up because he started seeing another girl.

Bring somebody down: make unhappy

The death of my dog has brought me down.

Bring somebody up:  raise a child

My parents brought me up in London.

Bring something up:  start talking about a subject

Jane brought up the discussion about workers being late.

Bring something up: vomit

He had too much alcohol so he had to bring it up in the toilet.

Bump into: to meet someone unexpectedly.

Ex: I bumped into Sarah this morning.

Burn out: to run out of fuel and go out.

Ex: The light bulb in the garage burnt out. Could you please change it?


Call back: to return a phone call.

Ex: I’m busy at the moment. Could you please call back later?

Call for – make necessary, recommended.

Ex: This recipe is calling for thyme.

Call off:  cancel.

Ex: I’m afraid I’ll have to call off our meeting on Saturday.

Call on – to invite someone in a formal way to do something.

Ex: I call on all of you to raise your glasses.

Calm down: to relax; to become less active.

Ex: You shouldn’t worry. Calm down!

Carry on: to continue.

Ex: Please carry on with your reading.

Carry out:  to do something as specified (a plan, an oder)

Ex: His orders were carried out to the letter.

Carry out:  to perform or conduct (test, experiment).

Ex: That company doesn’t carry our experiments on animals.

Check in: to register at a hotel or airport.

Ex: We checked in at the airport before our flight.

Check out: to pay a bill and leave a place (hotel)

Ex: I checked out of the hotel at noon.

Clam up: to say nothing, to refuse to speak.

Ex: When they asked him about the burglary, he clammed up.

Come across: 1) to meet or find by chance.

Ex: I came across some old photos while I was tidying up the room.

2) to appear, seem, make an impression.

Ex: He seemed like a gentle man, but sometimes he came across as an unpleasant one.

Come down with: to begin being ill from an illness.

Ex: I don’t think I’ll be able to come to work today. I’ve come down with the flu.

Come forward: to present oneself, to come forward.

Ex: Colin came forward and stood before the class.

Come up with: to produce or discover something, to improvise.

Ex: It is believed that the scientists came up with the cure for cancer.

Count on: to rely or depend on someone or something.

Ex: You can count on him to fix your car.

Cut down on: to reduce the amount of something.

Ex: I gained weight. I’ll have to cut down on cakes.

Cut out:  to remove something using scissors.

Ex: I cut out the coupon from the newspapers.

Cut out: to stop doing something.

Ex: You need to cut out sugar from your diet.


Deal with: to handle something (a problem).

Ex: I can’t deal with all these problems at the same time

Draw in – days become shorter as autumn is coming.

Ex: It’s much colder and the days are drawing in.

Draw on/upon something – begin using a supply.

Ex: I spent all my money on vacation and now I have to draw on my savings.

Draw out – lengthen.

Ex: The summer holiday drew out because we were bored.

Draw out someone – to encourage someone to express his/her thoughts.

Ex: Paul drew out Julie to talk about her work.

Draw someone into something – to involve someone in an unpleasant situation.

Ex: It’s not fair to draw me into your arguments with our colleagues.

Draw something down – pull something down.

Ex: Ronnie locked the door and pulled down the shutters.

Draw something off – to remove a small amount of liquid.

Ex: I had to draw some coffee off my cup because it was overflown.

Draw up something – prepare formal documents.

Ex: The company lawyer drew up the contract.

Draw yourself up – to stand up straight, usually in an attempt to look important.

Ex: I know you are tired, but please try to draw yourself up for the photo.


Fool around – to behave in a silly and dangerous way.

Ex: One shouldn’t fool around with fire.


Get around – travel to a lot of places.

Ex: He’s visited three countries this year. He’s getting around!

Get in touch (with someone) – to initiate contact with someone.
Ex: I’ve been trying to get in touch with you all morning. Where have you been?

Go around – behave in a certain way.

Ex: He’s going around and calling people names.


Hand around – to give something to each person in a group.
Ex: She poured the soup into plates and handed them around to us.

Hand back – to give back something you’re holding back to someone.
Ex: Paul handed her back the book after he looked at it.

Hand down – to give something to someone (usually to a member of the family) so they can have it after you die.
Ex: She was handed down that necklace by her grandmother.

Hand in – to give documents or written papers to officials or teacher so they can deal with it.
Ex: I handed my passport in to the custom officer.

Hold back – 1. To not give information about something, retreat.
Ex: Don’t hold back. Tell us what you know about it.
I tried to talk to him but he held back immediately.
2. To control emotions.
Ex: She couldn’t hold back the tears any longer.

Hold down – 1. To limit.
Ex: Please, hold your voice down.
1. To keep a job.
Ex: It was difficult for him to hold down two jobs.

Hold off – Postpone, delay, cancel.
Ex: We should hold off the project until they approve the funds.
2. To keep at a distance.
Ex: They tried to hold their creditors off.

Hold on – 1. Wait, stay put.
Ex: Hold on, I’ll be back in a minute.
Hold on a second. I need to make a phone call.
2. To endure or persist.
Ex: Hold on until the ambulance arrives.
You just have to hold on till your turn.

Hold to – keep to something, remain loyal to something.
Ex: She was determined to hold to her decision.
Sally’s always held to her promises.

Hold with – to agree with, to support
Ex: I don’t hold with your suggestion.
If I weren’t your brother I would never hold with your decision.




Keep at – if you keep at something, then you’re persisting on doing something although it may be difficult.
Ex: I know it is difficult, but you have to keep at it.

Keep away – if you keep away from people, then you don’t come close to them. If you keep away from things, then you don’t touch them, or use them.
Ex: Jane had a bad cold yesterday and everyone kept away from her. I’m trying to keep away from the fridge as I want to lose weight.

Keep down
1.You keep something like your voice, noise, music, etc. down. If music is too loud and you want it to be quieter, you can say:
Please, keep that music down!
2. You keep something down when you’re trying to keep it on a lower lever.
Our company is trying to keep the prices down .

Keep in touch – stay in contact with someone.
Ex: I’ve always been trying to keep in touch with my schoolmates

Keep from
1.If you keep from something, then you’re trying to refrain from doing it, although it is hard.
Ex: I really wanted to punch that guy, but I kept from it.
2.If you keep people from doing something, then you’re trying to stop them doing it.
Ex: We should keep from laughing that much.

Keep off
1.You keep off something if you’re trying not to step on it.
Ex: Please, keep off the grass.
2.If you keep off addictive substances like alcohol or cigarettes, it means that you don’t use them.
Ex: He is a nice guy for as long as he keeps off alcohol.

Keep on – if you keep on doing something, then you continue doing it.
Ex: Paul told Stuart to stop laughing, but he just kept on with it.

Keep to
1.If you keep an information to yourself, then you keep it to yourself.
Ex: It is a secret, keep it to yourself.
2. If you avoid to leave a place or activity.
Ex: It was raining outside, so I kept to my room.

Keep up
1.If you keep up doing something, then you continue doing it.
Ex: The coach told them to keep up running.
2. To advance at the same rate as someone.
Ex: Mary missed many lessons due to illness so she found it difficult to keep up with other children.


Look after take care of someone.

Ex: My neighbor will look after my cat while I’m away.

Look around – to visit a place and look at things in it.

Ex: We looked around the gallery.

Look down think that you are better than someone else.

Ex: She’s always looking down on uneducated people.

Look into to consider the facts related to a problem or situation.

Ex: We are looking into buying a new house.

Look out be careful!

Ex: Look out! There’s a car behind you.

Look up to be better, improve.

Ex: Our son’s grades are looking up. It was about time!

Lose one’s touch – lose an ability to do something as well as we used to.
Ex: It seems like Jane’s lost her touch with skiing.

Lose touch with – lose contact with someone.
Ex: Although they lived in different countries, they’ve never lost touch with each other.


Mess around – to do unimportant things, waste time.

Ex: You should stop messing around and do your homework!

Monkey around – to behave in a silly and annoying way.

Ex: Don’t monkey around with my computer!



Out of touch – lack of information or communication.
Ex: I’m out of touch with Brenda so I couldn’t tell you when she’s coming.




Run around – to be very busy.

Ex: I’m so tired; I’ve been running around all morning.


Send down – to suspend or dismiss from a university.

Ex: He was sent down from the university for theft

Send for – to request to come.

Ex: They sent for the car.

Send in – cause to come or be delivered to the recipient.
Ex: Let’s send in a letter against animal abuse. cause someone to become involved in a particular situation.
Ex: They sent in the firefighters.

Send up – To put in prison.

Ex: The judge sent him up to prison.


Take after – to look or behave similarly as somebody in your family.

Ex: I take after my grandma.

Take away – to remove something, make it vanish.

Ex: After she sorted out the towels, she took them away.

Take back – to bring something back to the shop because it is not suitable.

Ex: I’ll have to take this shirt back to the shop. It’s too big.

Take down – to write down information.

Ex: The teacher told us to take down important things he was talking about.

Take in – 1. to reduce something in size.

Ex: The tailor took in my trousers after I lost weight.

  1. to visit an interesting place.

Ex: We took in a trip around the island. It was marvelous.

Take off – when an airplane leaves airport.

Ex: The plain is taking off, would you please fasten your seat belts.

Take on – to employ someone.

Ex: We’ll take on some new staff this week. Would you send us your CV?

Take over – to assume control or responsibility of something.

 Ex: The aliens took over our planet.

Take to – to start doing something regularly, develop a habit.

Ex: He took to drinking.

Take up – to develop an interest in something such as hobby or sport.

Ex: Simone took up playing the piano but she lost interest after some time.

Touch a nerve with – make someone upset.
Ex: Any talk of raising the cost of oil touches a nerve with citizens.

Touch a sore spot (point) – sensitive matter.
Ex: We shouldn’t touch a sore spot and ask him about the accident.

Turn around – to begin doing something successfully.

Ex: The new manager turned our company around. It performs much better now.

Turn off – switch off

Ex: Laila turned off TV and went to bed.

Turn on – switch on

Ex: Ken turned on his computer and began to work

Turn out – how the things develop or end.

Ex: It turned out that what we did was right.

Turn over – turn a page, turn your body in a lying position, change the TV channel.

Ex: The conductor turned over a page in his note book.




Walk around – to walk without particular goal.

Ex: We were walking around for hours.