Native English speakers use phrasal verbs all the time, so if you’re looking to improve your English, especially your spoken English, then you should be learning and using phrasal verbs to help you improve your overall communication and understanding of English.
A phrasal verb is a phrase of at least two words that acts like a verb. Be careful with phrasal verbs as sometimes the meaning is not very clear. They can be confusing as they do not always translate well.
A standard phrasal verb consists of a verb + a preposition
Common prepositions used in phrasal verbs are: up, down, on, off, in, out, away, over
Here are 20 common phrasal verbs:
To start or stop the power or energy source
Can you turn off the lights before you go to sleep?
To start moving faster or to do something faster
I wish the bus would hurry up, it’s cold outside.
To complete the blanks on a form with information
Please fill in your name, address, and telephone number.
To go or move past without stopping
Three buses passed by, but none of them was the right one.
CUT BACK ON
To reduce or consume less
I need to cut back on sweets and fatty food. I’m getting fat!
To have none left
We’ve run out of milk. Can you get some on the way home?
To cancel something
We had to call off the concert due to the bad weather.
To review something
Go over your receipt to make sure they charged you correctly.
To relax after being angry or stressed
She was furious at first but later she calmed down a bit.
DROP IN/ BY/ OVER
To make a casual visit without an appointment or invitation
I might drop in/by/over for a coffee this weekend.
To eat outside of your house at a restaurant
I don’t feel like cooking, let’s eat out tonight.
To understand or to find the answer
I’m so confused, I can’t figure out how this works.
1. To increase the volume or strength of something
I love this song, turn it up!
2. To appear suddenly
She turned up 2 minutes before the meeting started.
To spend time with someone, usually just relaxing, but can also be used when going somewhere.
Let’s hang out this weekend.
To take somebody/ something somewhere and leave them/it there
I’ll drop your bags off this evening. Just let me know once you’re home.
LOOK FORWARD TO
To be excited about an event that is going to happen in the future
I look forward to meeting you next week.
1.To stop working/ functioning
Our car broke down on the highway.
2. To lose control of your feelings and start crying
She broke down when she heard the sad news.
3. To be able to be divided into parts or groups
The report breaks down into five section
1. For a plane to depart
My flight took off late.
2. For a vehicle to leave very quickly
I saw a car hit another car and it took off immediately!
3. To undress or remove clothing/accessories
Please take off your shoes before you come in.
1. To decrease the volume or strength of something
We usually turn the heating down at night.
2. To decline/not accept an offer or proposal
I turned down the job because I got a better job offer.
Unfortunately, his novel was turned down by the publisher.
1. To faint or lose consciousness
Many people passed out due to the extreme heatwave.
2. To distribute or give out something
The teacher asked us to pass out the papers in class.