25 Common Phrasal Verbs in English You’ll Want to Use
The English language is full of phrasal verbs, which are combinations of words that come together to have a unique meaning. They are used in speaking and writing, making the speech more natural. Using common phrasal verbs in conversations is also an excellent way to inject personality into your vocabulary, so be sure to learn some common combinations.
While there are hundreds of phrasal verbs, this article will provide 25 words that nearly everyone should learn. We will provide a detailed explanation of phrasal verbs examples, their types, and the rules you should follow when using them. As you go through the cases and reminders, you’ll integrate such phrases into everyday conversations smoothly.
What Is a Phrasal Verb in English
A phrasal verb is a combination of words that form a unique meaning. Unlike regular verbs in English, these combinations cannot be understood if their components are taken separately. They consist of a verb and either an adverb or particle, usually using Verb + Adverb/Particle.
As a general rule, different particles and adverbs can change the meaning of a verb drastically. Thus, learning the verbs and their composition elements is essential when acquiring common phrasal verbs in English.
These combinations are used in spoken and written English, especially in informal conversations. They are widespread and often reflect more casual expressions of language. Learning them will make your conversations more exciting and natural-sounding.
Types of Phrasal Verbs English
To better understand these combinations, it’s essential to familiarize yourself with their variations. They tend to fall into separable and inseparable types, depending on the order of their components. Below, you will find a brief overview of each, with a few examples.
Separable Phrasal Verbs
These are verbs whose components can be separated. The verb and particle/adverb may occupy different places in a sentence but retain the same meaning. The direct object (if included) will come between them. Here is an example: I looked her up yesterday. Here, “looked up” remains as one entity; however, we couldn’t say “I looked up her.”
Inseparable Phrasal Verbs
As their name implies, you cannot separate the components of these verbs. The verb and particle/adverb must be written together to form a particular meaning. Additionally, there is usually no direct object between them in this case either – it may come before or after but never inside! An example would be: I ran out of gas – We can’t say, “I ran of gas out.”
25 Phrasal Verbs Examples You Must Know
As you already know, thousands of English phrasal verbs are out there. However, learning 25 of the most common combinations can give you a great start! We will provide phrasal verbs with meaning and example sentences below to help you understand them better.
- Bring up.
To mention or introduce a subject into the conversation, typically unexpectedly, by bringing the topic of discussion in front of the audience or people involved.
She brought up an interesting point during our meeting that we hadn’t thought about before!
- Carry on.
To continue something with effort and determination, despite any challenges that come your way.
He carried on working even though he felt tired after a long day at the office.
- Catch on.
To understand a situation, statement, or concept quickly and make it successful as an idea or trend among the public.
My mom finally caught on when I tried to explain how to use the printer.
- Come across (something).
To find something by chance unexpectedly and often discover new information about something because of that accidental discovery process.
I accidentally came across some old photos while looking through Grandma’s chest.
- Come around.
To change to a different opinion after not being in favor of it.
He was initially against the idea, but he eventually came around when we explained our reasoning behind it.
- Cut back on (something).
To reduce usage and spend less money than usual for something specific.
We need to cut back on our electricity bills, so turn off the lights when you leave a room.
- Cut out (something).
To remove something from its place of origin to separate it completely from what’s around it.
We need to cut out this part of the fabric pattern before we sew them together.
- End up.
To have an outcome or result that wasn’t necessarily planned for or expected as the final destination.
We ended up eating at a restaurant around the corner from my house after realizing we had never reserved anywhere else.
- Fill in (something).
To provide the missing details or information necessary to complete a document, survey, etc.
You need to fill in these blanks with your personal information before I can submit the form.
- Get back to (someone).
To respond to someone’s request or message that wasn’t answered immediately due to interruption or delay.
I’m sorry I didn’t answer your call. Can you please get back to me when it’s convenient?
- Get ahead.
To reach a level of success or knowledge more significant than your peers’, especially early in life.
I’m trying to get ahead so that by the time I finish school, it’ll be easy for me to find work and succeed in my career.
- Go over.
To consider something again or in more detail for review and analysis, usually during a meeting or private session between two people.
I need to go over my notes from class before tomorrow’s quiz.
- Hold down (something).
To control an entire process by taking responsibility for specific tasks systematically.
Susan is great at holding down our business operations even when things get chaotic around here.
- Let down.
To disappoint somebody by not keeping a promise, agreement, etc., usually unintentionally and without the intention to hurt anyone’s feelings.
He let me down as a friend and ignored my calls when I was going through some tough times.
- Look up.
To find the answer or definition of something in a source such as an encyclopedia, dictionary, etc.
For my assignment, I looked up every book in the library about Ancient Egypt.
- Look down on.
To have negative thoughts or judgments about somebody based on their social class, rank in the community, etc.
She looks down on people who are not as wealthy or successful as her.
- Put up with.
To tolerate something unpleasant, annoying, etc., usually resignedly.
I can’t put up with his rude behavior any longer – I’m done!
- Put off.
To delay something until a future date or time.
I’ve put off cleaning my room for too long – it’s starting to get messy.
- Pick up.
To collect, typically by calling at an appointed place or time.
She picked up her daughter from school every day before heading home.
- Show up.
To arrive somewhere unexpectedly or without warning at a particular place, typically to cause disruption or draw attention.
My surprise party was excellent – all my friends showed up unexpectedly!
- Take off.
To leave the ground and fly in an aircraft or to remove clothing from one’s body.
The plane took off 10 minutes late because of the windy weather conditions.
- Take apart (something).
To disassemble a machine or object into its parts for repair, inspection, etc., typically using special tools.
After we take this computer apart, I can try to fix it myself.
- Turn down (something).
To refuse an offer or invitation that has been made available to you.
I’m sorry, but I have to turn down your proposal – it doesn’t fit my financial needs right now.
- Warn off (someone/something).
To issue a warning beforehand to protect someone or something from danger, harm, upset, or misunderstanding.
He warned me off investing my money without considering the risks first.
- Work out.
To find the solution or result of something employing calculation, usually used in conversations related to problems that can be solved with mathematics and numbers.
I can’t work out how much the total cost of the trip will be until I know all our expenses.
Tips for Learning Phrasal Verbs
As phrasal verbs meaning can only be understood when their components are heard together, they can sometimes be tricky to remember. However, there are various tips and tricks you can use to help narrow down the learning process for more efficient results:
- Practice using phrasal verbs in conversation. Try to habitually use these verbs in your everyday conversations to incorporate them into your usage naturally. You’ll soon see that you can express things more smoothly.
- Get creative and make up stories with the verbs you’re learning. It can be a fantastic way to learn usage in context, making it more likely that it sticks in your memory.
- Learn phrasal verbs sentences to see them in action. The more examples you have, the easier it will be to understand and remember them.
- Use various tools and resources available online to help you learn. For instance, such platforms as Quizlet and Memrise are a great way to brush up on your phrasal verbs and test yourself for accuracy. Also, dictionaries will provide a complete list of such verbs and their meanings.
With these tips in mind, learning will be much more fun and efficient. Thanks to phrasal verb examples and practice, you will soon be able to remember them effortlessly and make your conversations more interesting.
Learn Phrasal Verbs with Promova
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Whether you’re getting started with English or looking to enhance your current skill level, Promova can help construct a plan of action to meet your needs and propel you toward success!
Phrasal verbs are an essential component of everyday English. Knowing the most commonly-used combinations will significantly help your written and spoken conversations. Remember that every verb carries a unique meaning, so learning them by heart will be beneficial when making an effort to sound natural.
Now that you have a phrasal verbs list, why not start practicing these common combinations in your conversations? Try incorporating some examples into your speech, as they will make it livelier.
What is a phrasal verb?
It is a combination of words that form a unique meaning. Unlike regular verbs in English, they cannot be understood if their components are taken separately. They consist of a verb and either an adverb or a particle. Some examples of phrasal verbs include “take out,” “put up with,” and “look over.”
Why should I learn phrasal verbs?
Learning and using these verbs can help you sound more natural in your spoken and written conversations and inject personality into your vocabulary. Knowing the meanings of the most used phrasal verbs is also necessary to understand other people when they use them in conversation with you.
Do I need to learn all phrasal verbs?
No, it is not necessary to learn every single phrasal verb in the English language; learning a few dozen of the most common combinations can get you started. However, as your knowledge grows, so will your ability to communicate more naturally and effectively!
How can I practice using phrasal verbs?
As you learn the meanings of the most common phrasal verbs, it’s a good idea to try incorporating them into your conversations and messages. With time and practice, you can use them comfortably in everyday communication.