English Phrasal Verbs
A most complex English grammar phenomenon in easy explanations. Let’s make verb tenses handy.
A phrasal (verb) is a verb + particle (adverb/preposition) combination. Sometimes its meaning may be figured out literally.
There’s no getting away from reality.
But most phrasals are non-motivated whose meaning differs from constituent meanings and makes separate concepts.
Please hold on for a sec!
Phrasals are most common in neutral/informal English, especially spoken American. There’s no today’s English without thousands of phrasals making speech lively. They serve as colloquial equivalents of formal Latin verbs.
postpone = put off
exit = get out
Every student of English needs understanding of at least basic phrasals and common nouns, compound adjectives made from them. The more productive a verb, the more phrasals it forms – be, bring, come, get, go, keep, look, put, run, take, turn… Phrasal meaning can often be guessed from corresponding particle meaning. One of top particles is up meaning completed actions. Some phrasals are used only with certain subjects or in certain contexts.
I’m so thrilled by take-offs.
They have no objects.
Come on! Hurry up!
Separable Transitive Phrasals
Their objects go before/after particles.
Have you looked through that book? = Have you looked that book through? = Have you looked it through?
Inseparable Transitive Phrasals
Their objects go only after particles.
You stay away from me!
Some verb+particle combinations have several meanings being transitive/intransitive.
Uncle is getting over.
When will we get over the crisis?
Some phrasals have 3 words – verb+adverb+preposition. In 3-word phrasals objects go only after prepositions.
So let’s get down to work.
Many verbs are followed by prepositions but aren’t phrasal. These verb+preposition combinations have only motivated literal meaning. Prepositional/phrasal verb distinction is unimportant. It’s only practical to understand verb combination meaning.
Hope for the best and prepare for the worst.
|be after sth||want, chase||be on sth||be shown on air/screen|
|be against sth||oppose||be out of sth||lack|
|be carried away||very excited||be taken aback||get shocked|
|be cut out for sb||be suited||be taken in||get cheated|
|be for sth||support||be over||finish|
|be in for sth||expect (usu bad)||be up||be awake out of bed, stay awake at night, be wrong/unusual|
|be off sth||not want/like any more, be absent|
|break down||stop working, lose composure, fail||break out||begin suddenly (usu bad), escape|
|break in/into sth||enter by force, interrupt||break up||pause for holidays, separate|
|bring sth about||cause||bring sth over (to sb)||persuade|
|bring sth forward||suggest||bring sb round||revitalize, persuade|
|bring sth on||cause (usu bad)||bring sb to sth||revitalize|
|bring sth out||publish, sell||bring sth up||raise, mention|
|call sb back||reply by phone||call sth off||cancel|
|call for sth||need, demand||call out||shout|
|carry sth off||succeed||carry sth out||fulfil, conduct|
|carry sth on||continue|
|come across sth||meet by chance||come out||go on strike, begin blossoming, be published/revealed|
|come along||hurry up, appear||come over||visit|
|come by sth||obtain||come round||visit casually, regain consciousness, change one’s opinion|
|come down with sth||become ill||come up||be mentioned, occur|
|come into sth||inherit||come up against sth||encounter|
|come on||hurry up||come up with sth||find, think of|
|come off||succeed, leave|
|cut sth down||make fall by cutting, reduce||cut sth off||disconnect, isolate|
|cut down/back on sth||reduce consuming||cut sth out||omit|
|cut into sth||interrupt|
|do away with sth||abolish, murder||do with sth||want|
|do sth up||fasten, wrap, repair, dress up||do without sth||live in lack|
|draw (sb) in||slow down, attract|
|face up to||endure|
|fall apart||break into pieces, fail||fall for sb||be deceived, fall in love|
|fall back on sb/sth||turn for help||fall in with sb||agree|
|fall behind (sb)||not keep up, be late||fall out (with sb)||quarrel|
|get across sb||communicate||get off (with sth)||avoid punishment, start traveling|
|get along (with sb)||befriend||get on||advance, approach, befriend|
|get at (sth)||reach, imply||get on with sb/sth||befriend/continue|
|get away||escape||get over (sth)||recover, overcome|
|get away from sth||avoid||get round||spread|
|get away with sth||escape capture/punishment||get round to sth||pay time|
|get by/through||manage to survive||get sth/sb through||finish, use up, reach by phone|
|get down to sth||start doing seriously||get to sb||affect|
|give away sth/sb||reveal, waste||give (sth) out||finish, distribute|
|give in (sth)||surrender, hand in||give sth up||abandon, surrender, stop|
|give sth off||emit|
|go ahead||continue||go off||explode, ring, be switched off, spoil|
|go along||progress||go on||happen, progress, be turned on|
|go along with sth||agree, advance||go out||stop burning|
|go back||date back||go over sth||analyze, repeat|
|go back on sth||break a promise/agreement||go round||suffice, visit, circulate|
|go by||pass, miss||go through sth||analyze, spend up, experience|
|go down||be reduced, set||go through with sth||carry out|
|go down with sth||become ill||go up||rise|
|go in for sth||participate||go without sth||do without|
|go into sth||analyze||go off||explode, ring, be switched off, spoil|
|hold (sth) back||control, delay, conceal, be reluctant||hold out||persist, last|
|hold sth in||control||hold (sth) up||delay, force, last|
|keep away from sth||beware||keep (sth) on||manage to continue|
|keep sth back||conceal||keep out of sth||avoid (usu bad)|
|keep sb behind||make stay||keep sth/sb up||support, keep out of bed, keep good|
|keep (oneself) from sth||prevent, avoid||keep up with sb/sth||proceed equally, stay informed|
|keep sb/sth off||make beware, avoid|
|let sth/sb down||lengthen clothes, disappoint||let sth out||make wider, reveal by chance|
|let sth off||forgive, make explode|
|look after sb||care||look out for sb/sth||seek|
|look down on sb/sth||disapprove||look sth over||analyze, revise|
|look for sth/sb||search||look sth round||examine|
|look forward to sth||expect||look sth through||glance, study|
|look into sth||analyze||look sth/sb up||scan, visit|
|look on/upon sth||watch, consider||look up to sb||respect|
|make for sth/sb||head||make sth up to sb||compensate|
|make off||escape||make (sth) up||invent, put cosmetics on, re-befriend, compensate, form as a whole|
|make sth out||figure out, understand, write out||make up for sb||repay|
|pass away||die||pass sth on||let inherit (usu clothes)|
|pass off as sb/sth||pretend||pass out||faint|
|pay sb back||repay, get revenge||pay for sth||be punished|
|pull sth down||demolish||pull over/up||slow and stop|
|pull in||(of transport) arrive||pull through||survive|
|pull out||(of transport) depart|
|put sth aside/by||save||put sth on||dress, increase weight, switch on, pretend, arrange|
|put sb away||imprison/hospitalize||put sth/sb out||extinguish, cause inconvenience|
|put sth back||delay||put sb through||connect by phone, hurt|
|put sth down||note, pay a deposit||put sth/sb up||sale, (of prices) rise, host|
|put down to sth||attribute||put up with sth/sb||tolerate|
|put sth/sb off||postpone, discourage|
|run across sb/sth||meet/find by chance||run out (of sth)||lack|
|run away/off||escape||run (sb) over||wound with a vehicle, overflow|
|run away with sth||escape with stealing||run sth through||repeat|
|run (sb/sth) down||wound with a vehicle, underrate, (of batteries) discharge||run sth up||let grow|
|run into sb/sth||meet by chance, car-crash, experience||run up against sth||face|
|see about sth||learn/prepare||see sb through||know well, support|
|see sb off||accompany, make sure||see to sb||care|
|see sth out||last|
|set sth aside/by||save specially||set out||start traveling, intend|
|set in||(of weather) remain||set sth up||found|
|set off||start traveling|
|stand by sb||support||stand sb up||miss meeting|
|stand for sth||deabbreviate||stand up for sb/sth||support|
|stand in for sb||replace||stand up to sth/sb||resist|
|stand out||show off|
|take after sb||resemble a relative||take sb on||hire|
|take sth away||remove, seize||take sth out||remove/extract|
|take sth back||regret saying||take sb out||bring public|
|take sth down||dismantle||take sth over||seize|
|take sth in||make (clothes) narrower||take to sb||like|
|take (sth) off||undress, fly up, start improving||take sth up||indulge, fill|
|take time off||rest||take up on sb||accept offer|
|turn sb away||not let in||turn out (sth)||produce, result, force out, empty|
|turn sth down||refuse, volume down||turn over sth||change (page, channel)|
|turn sb in||give to police||turn sth over to sb||deliver|
|turn (sth/sb) into sth||change||turn to sb||address|
|turn sth off||switch off||turn (sth) up||appear, increase|
|turn sth on||switch on|
|wear sb down||weaken||wear sth out||exhaust|
|wear off||(of feelings) fade way|
|work sth on||affect||work sth up||develop|
|work (sth) out||solve, progress|