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 examples 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.
This list shows about 200 common phrasal verbs, with meanings and examples. Only the most usual meanings are given. Some phrasal verbs may have additional meanings.
As well as learning their meanings, youneed to learn how to use phrasal verbs properly. Some phrasal verbs require a direct object (someone/something), while others do not. Some phrasal verbs can be separated by the object, while others cannot. Review this phrasal verbs grammar from time to time so that you don't forget the rules!
Verb Meaning Example
ask someone out invite on a date Brian asked Judy out to dinner and a movie.
askaround ask many people the same question I asked around but nobody has seen my wallet.
add up to something equal Your purchases add up to $205.32.
back something up reverse You'll have to back up your car so that I can get out.
back someone 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 something upadd 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 something down divide into smaller parts Our teacher broke the final project down into three separate parts.
break in force entry to abuilding Somebody broke in last night and stole our stereo.
break into something enter forcibly The firemen had to break into the room to rescue the children.
break something in wear something 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 arelationship 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 something develop a skin condition I broke out in a rash after our camping trip.
bring someone down make unhappy This sad music isbringing me down.
bring someone up raise a child My grandparents brought me up after my parents died.
bring something up start talking about a subject My mother walks out of the room when my father brings up sports.
bring something 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 thecar part we needed.
call someone back return a phone call I called the company back but the offices were closed for the weekend.
call something off cancel Jason called the wedding off because he wasn't in love with his fiancé.
call on someone ask for an answer or opinion The professor called on me for question 1.
call on someone visit someone We called on you last night but you weren't home.call someone 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 someone/something not like (formal) I don't care for his behaviour.
catch up get to the same point as someone else You'll have to run faster than that if you want to catch up with Marty....