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List of 700 English Phrasal Verbs explained with examples

This is a phrasal verb list that contains 700 multi-word verbs

|English Phrasal Verbs List ||

What is a Phrasal Verb?

A phrasal verb is a verb constructed from two or three parts: a verb and an adverb or preposition. These adverbs and prepositions are usually called particles when they are used in a phrasal verb.

Most phrasal verbs are formed from a small number of verbs (for example: get, go, come, put and set) and a small number of particles (for example: away, out, off, up and in).

Phrasal verbs sometimes have meanings that you can easily guess (for example, sit down or look for). However, in most cases their meanings are quite different from the meanings of the verb they are formed from.
For example, hold up can mean 'to cause a delay' or 'to try to rob someone'. The original meaning of hold (for example, to hold something in your hands) no longer applies.

Read more about Phrasal verbs in this lesson : Phrasal verbs - Form, Meaning, Grammar, and Style.

Transitive or Intransitive?

This is a phrasal verb list that contains 700 multi-word verbs

There are five main types of phrasal verb. These are:

1. Intransitive phrasal verbs (= phrasal verbs which do not need an object).
For example: You're driving too fast. You ought to slow down.

2. Transitive phrasal verbs (= phrasal verbs which must have an object) where the object can come in one of two positions:
(a) Between the verb and the particle(s). For example: I think I'll put my jacket on. or
(b) After the particle. For example: I think I'll put on my jacket.

However, if the object is a pronoun (he, she, it, etc), it must usually come between the verb and the particle.
For example: I think I'll put it on. (NOT I think I'll put on it.)

3. Transitive phrasal verbs where the object must come between the verb and the particle. For example: Our latest designs set our company apart from our rivals.

4. Transitive phrasal verbs where the object must come after the particle. For example: John takes after his mother.
Why do you put up with the way he treats you?

5. Transitive phrasal verbs with two objects, one after the verb and one after the particle.
For example: They put their success down to good planning.

Some transitive phrasal verbs can be used in the passive, but the object cannot come between the verb and the particle. For example:

Active: The soldiers blew up the bridge / The soldiers blew the bridge up.
Passive: The bridge was blown up by the soldiers.

Active: Switch the lights off before you leave / Switch off the lights before you leave.
Passive: The lights must be switched off before you leave.

Active: It's time they did away with these silly rules.
Passive: It's time these silly rules were done away with. (where the subject is either not known or not needed).

A dictionary such as the Merriam Webster Dictionary or the Macmillan English Dictionary will clearly show you the way you should use each phrasal verb.

Watch and Learn

This video could help you if you want to understand how these multi-word verbs work before reading the Phrasal verbs list.

It is a video presented by Pr. Alexander, the owner of English Professionally youtube channel, where you can see the main meaning of phrasal verbs - some kind of definition provided by the author.

Different prepositions are mentioned in the video, most common ones (get, take, go, come, look, run, bring, break, blow, come, go, put and others) and less commonly used too but also very popular.


Account for = explain
Example: They had to account for all the money that had gone

Act on = take action because of something like information received
Example: The police were acting on a tip from an informer and caught the gang red-handed.

Aim at = target
Example: The magazine is aimed at teenagers.

Answer back = reply rudely to someone in authority
Example: Her mother was shocked when she started answering her back and refusing to help.

Ask for = provoke a negative reaction
Example: You're asking for trouble.

Ask in = invite somebody into your house
Example: Jon's at the door. Ask him in.

Ask out = invite someone for a date
Example: He wanted to ask her out but was too shy.


Back away = retreat or go backward
Example: The crowd backed away when the man pulled a knife.

Back down =retract or withdraw your position or proposal in an argument
Example: She refused to back down and was fired.

Back out = fail to keep an arrangement or promise
Example: He backed out two days before the holiday so we gave the ticket to his sister.

Back up = make a copy of computer data
Example: You should always back up important files and documents so that you won't lose all your work if something goes wrong with the hardware.

Back up = support
Example: The rest of the staff backed her up when she complained about working conditions.

Barge in = enter a place and interrupt people rudely
Example: They barged into my office without knocking and started talking even though I was on the phone.

Be along = arrive
Example: The next bus should be along in the next quarter of an hour or so.

Be away = be on holiday, etc.
Example: She's away on business for three weeks.

Be cut up = be upset
Example: She was very cut up about coming second as she thought she deserved to win.

Be down = be depressed
Example: He's been down since his partner left him.

Be down = be reduced or less
Example: The firm's profits are down by ten percent this quarter.

Be down with = be ill
Example: Gul is down with some bug and is off work today.

Be in = be at home
Example: They are never in, I always get their answer phone.

Be in = be submitted, arrive
Example: The application form must be in by 3pm on Friday.

Be in on = be involved in
Example: Susan was the only one who wasn't in on the plan.

Be off = be bad (of food)
Example: This yogurt must be off, it smells foul.

Be off = depart, leave
Example: I'm off home, it's five o'clock.

Be on = be functioning (of machines)
Example: The computer's on.

Be on = take place
Example: The show is on for the next three months.

Be out = be absent from a place
Example: She's out on a visit for the day.

Be out of = have no more left
Example: We're out of coffee so I'll have to go and get some.

Be shagged out = be exhausted
Example: We were completely shagged out after we'd carried the suitcases downstairs.

Be snowed under = have too much work
Example: We're completely snowed under at work because it's the end of the tax year.

Be taken aback = be shocked or surprised
Example: I was taken aback when I saw him because he's lost all his hair.

Be up = be out of bed
Example: She's not up yet.

Be up = have increased or risen
Example: The company's profits are up by fifteen percent.

Be up = when the time for something finishes or expires
Example: Time's up, please finish your drinks and leave.

Be up to = be good enough
Example: He's not up to the job. Get someone else.

Be up to = doing something naughty or wrong
Example: What are those kids up to?

Beat down = strong sunshine
Example: The sun was really beating down and we couldn't stay outdoors.

Beat up = attack violently
Example: The mugger beat him up and stole his wallet.

Bed down = sleep somewhere less comfortable than normal
Example: We had to bed down on the floor for the night.

Beef up = make something stronger or more solid
Example: The company beefed up their case when they saw that the public wouldn't accept their first explanation of the accident.

Black out = fall unconscious
Example: He blacked out and collapsed on the floor.

Black out = lose light
Example: Everything blacked out when the power supply failed.

Blank out =censor text so that words cannot be read
Example: The email addresses were blanked out in the documents shown to the court.

Blank out = have a temporary memory failure
Example: I was so nervous in the interview that I just blanked out and couldn't answer their questions properly.

Blare out = a loud sound or music
Example: The music was blaring out and I couldn't get to sleep.

Blast off = leave the ground-spaceship or rocket
Example: The space shuttle blasted off on schedule yesterday.

Blaze away = fire a gun repeatedly
Example: The shooters blazed away at the pheasants.

Blow down = when the wind forces something to fall
Example: A tree was blown down in the storm.

Blow out = extinguish etc.
Example: She blew the candles out on her birthday cake.

Blow over = when a scandal gets forgotten
Example: The scandal blew over within a fortnight when the press found someone else to attack.

Blow up = explode
Example: The bomb blew up without any warning.

Bog down =slow make progress
Example: Yasini got bogged down in his research and didn't finish the project on time.

Boil down to = amount to
Example: It all boils down to money at the end of the day.

Book up = reserve
Example: The flight's fully booked up. I'll have to go the following day.

Boot up = Start a computer
Example: He booted up the computer and started work.

Boss about = use excessive authority to control people
Example: She bosses everyone about.

Bottle out =lack courage to do something
Example: She was going to tell her boss exactly what she thought, but bottled out in the end.

Bottle up = not express your feelings
Example: She bottled up her feelings even though she was furious with them and kept quiet.

Bottom out = pass the lowest point and start rising
Example: The recession bottomed out and the economy is recovering well.

Branch out = move into a different area of etc.
Example: The supermarkets have branched out into banking.

Break away = leave an organization, usually to form a new one
Example: The SDP broke away from the Labour Party.

Break down = end negotiations unsuccessfully
Example: The talks between management and the unions broke down acrimoniously.

Break down = start crying
Example: He broke down in tears.

Break down = stop working
Example: My car's broken down, so I came by taxi.

Break in = go into a building to steal something
Example: The burglars broke in and stole the TV and video.

Break in = interrupt something
Example: I'm sorry to break in on your conversation, but there's a problem ...

Break in = train a horse to be ridden
Example: It took ages to break the horse in.

Break off = break a piece from something
Example: She broke off a square of chocolate and gave it to her dog.

Break off = end a relationship
Example: She broke off their engagement when she found out that he'd been unfaithful.

Break through =pass a barrier or obstacle
Example: The crowd broke through the police barriers and attacked the hunters.

Break up = break into many pieces
Example: The plate broke up when he dropped it on the floor.

Break up = close an educational institution for the holidays
Example: Schools break up at the end of June for the summer holidays.

Break up =finish a relationship
Example: They had been going out for a couple of years before they broke up.

Bring about = make something happen
Example: The changes to the law were brought about by the government because so many people were ignoring the old one.

Bring back = cause someone to remember
Example: Visiting myoId school brought back memories of when I was a pupil there.

Bring back =return
Example: He took the calculator home yesterday and hasn't brought it back yet.

Bring down = make a government fall
Example: The vote of no-confidence brought the government down.

Bring down = make something cheaper
Example: The improvements in technology have brought the prices of computers down considerably in recent months.

Bring forward = make something happen earlier than originally planned
Example: The meeting has been brought forward to this Friday instead of next week because some people couldn't make it then.

Bring in = earn
Example: The job brings in two thousand dollars a month.

Bring on = cause something to happen or speed up the process
Example: Getting wet in the rain yesterday brought on my cold.

Bring out = release or publish
Example: The band is bringing out a new CD in the autumn.

Bring out in = cause a health problem or reaction
Example: It was the lobster that brought me out in this rash all over my body.

Bring round =make someone wakes up from unconsciousness or an anaesthetic
Example: The doctors brought him round a few hours after the operation.

Bring up = mention
Example: They didn't bring the subject up at the meeting.

Bring up = raise a child
Example: My parents brought me up strictly.

Brush up = improve a skill quickly
Example: She took a two-week course to brush up her Spanish before travelling around South and Central America.

Budge up = move to make space for someone
Example: We had to budge up to let the fourth person in the back of the car.

Build up = develop a company
Example: She built the business up from nothing into a market leader in less than a decade.

Build up = increase
Example: Tension has been building up ever since the government passed the unpopular law.

Bump into = meet by chance
Example: I bumped into Helen on the underground the other day.

Bump off = kill
Example: The drug dealer was bumped offby a rival gang.

Bunk off = not go to school when you should
Example: I used to bunk offschool and go into town.

Burn down = burn completely
Example: They had to completely rebuild the museum after the old one burned down.

Burn off = remove by burning or similar process
Example: I burn off a lot of calories in the gym.

Burn out =lose enthusiasm and &ne1lJY to continue in a demanding job
Example: Jennie burnt out after ten years working as a futures broker and went to live in the country.

Burst into = catch fire very quickly
Example: The car burst into flames and the driver died as he didn't have time to get out.

Burst into = laugh., cry or clap loudly
Example: She burst into laughter when she heard the joke

Butt in = interrupt
Example: I hope you don't mind me butting in on your conversation, bit I couldn't help hearing what you said....

Butter up = praise or flatter someone excessively
Example: I tried buttering my tutor up but she still wouldn't let me hand it in late.

Buy in = force a CD or record into the charts by buying lots of copies
Example: Joe Meek's last hit, 'Singin' the Blues', was probably bought in at number 40, but failed to go any higher.

Buy out = buy somebody's share in a company
Example: His business partners bought him out to get rid of him.

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