Phrasal Verbs List with Meaning and Examples PDF

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Phrasal Verbs List with Meaning and Examples

Phrasal verb is the combination of two or three words from different grammatical categories – a verb and a particle, such as an adverb or a preposition – to form a single semantic unit on a lexical or syntactic level. There are tens of thousands of them, and they are in everyday, constant use. These semantic units cannot be understood based upon the meanings of the individual parts alone, but must be taken as a whole.

Grammatically, a phrasal verb is the mixture of two or three words from different grammatical categories or a group or combination of words that functions as a verb and is made up of a verb and a preposition, an adverb, or both. Examples: put on, take off, write down, look at. It is like an idiomatic phrase consisting of a verb and another element.

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Phrasal Verbs List with Meaning and Examples

Phrasal VerbMeaningExample
Abide byAccept or follow a decision or rule.We have to ABIDE BY what the court says.
Account forTo explain.They had to ACCOUNT FOR all the money that had gone missing.
Ache forWant something or someone a lot.My partner’s been away for a fortnight- I am ACHING FOR her.
Act onTo take action because of something like information received.The police were ACTING ON a tip from an informer and caught the gang red-handed.
Act onAffect.The medicine only ACTS ON infected tissue.
Act outPerform something with actions and gestures..They ACTED OUT the story on stage.
Act outExpress an emotion in your behaviour.Their anger is ACTED OUT in their antisocial behaviour.
Act upBehave badly or strangely.My computer’s ACTING UP; I think I might have a virus.
Act uponTo take action because of something like information received.The police were ACTING UPON a tip-off.
Act uponAffect.The enzyme ACTS UPON certain proteins.
Add onInclude in a calculation.You have to ADD the VAT ON to the price they give.
Add upTo make a mathematical total.We ADDED UP the bill to check it was correct.
Add upBe a satisfactory explanantion for something.She explained why the work wasn’t ready, but her story doesn’t ADD UP.
Add up toHave a certain result.Trains delays are getting worse and with the high fares, it all ADDS UP TO misery for the commuters.
Add up toCome to a certain amount or figure.The total costs ADD UP TO several million euros.
Agree withAffect- usually used in the negative to show that something has had a negative effect, especially is it makes you feel bad.I feel terrible- that food didn’t AGREE WITH my stomach.
Aim atTo target.The magazine is AIMED AT teenagers.
Aim atIntend to achieve.They’re AIMING AT reducing costs by ten percent.
Allow forInclude something in a plan or calculation.You should ALLOW FOR delays when planning a journey.
Allow ofMake possible, permit.The rules don’t ALLOW OF any exceptions.
Angle forTry to get something indirectly, by hinting or suggesting.He’s been ANGLING FOR an invitation, but I don’t want him to come.
Answer backTo reply rudely to someone in authority.Her mother was shocked when she started ANSWERING her BACK and refusing to help.
Answer forBe held responsible for a problem.The government should be made to ANSWER FOR their failure to sort out the problem.
Answer forSpeak on behalf of someone or from knowing them.I can ANSWER FOR my partner because I know her position on this issue.
Argue downBeat someone in a debate, discussion or argument.The teacher tried to ARGUE the girl DOWN, but she couldn’t.
Argue downPersuade someone to drop the price of something they’re selling.She ARGUED him DOWN ten percent.
Argue downTry to persuade people not to accept a proposition, motion, etc.They tried to ARGUE DOWN the proposal.
Argue outArgue about a problem to find a solution.If we can’t ARGUE our differences OUT, we’ll have to take them to court.
Ask aboutAsk how someone is doing, especially professionally and in terms of health.He ASKED ABOUT my father.
Ask afterEnquire about someone’s health, how life is going.Jenny rang earlier and ASKED AFTER you, so I told her you were fine.
Ask aroundAsk a number of people for information of help.I have no idea, but I’ll ASK AROUND at work and see if anyone can help.
Ask aroundInvite someone.We ASKED them AROUND for dinner.
Ask forTo provoke a negative reaction.You’re ASKING FOR trouble.
Ask forRequest to have or be given.I ASKED FOR the menu.
Ask inTo invite somebody into your house.‘Jon’s at the door.’ ‘ASK him IN.’
Ask outTo invite someone for a date.He wanted to ASK her OUT but was too shy.
Ask overInvite.They have ASKED us OVER for drinks on Friday.
Ask roundInvite someone.We ASKED John ROUND for diner.
Auction offSell something in an auction.They AUCTIONED OFF their property as they were heavily in debt.
Back awayRetreat or go backwards.The crowd BACKED AWAY when the man pulled a knife.
Back downRetract or withdraw your position or proposal in an argument.She refused to BACK DOWN and was fired.
Back intoEnter a parking area in reverse gear.He prefers to BACK his car INTO the garage.
Back offRetreat.The police told the protesters to BACK OFF.
Back outFail to keep an arrangement or promise.He BACKED OUT two days before the holiday so we gave the ticket to his sister
Back out ofFail to keep an agreement, arrangement.She BACKED OUT OF the agreement at the last minute.
Back out ofExit a parking area in reverse gear.She BACKED the Rolls OUT OF its parking space.
Back upMake a copy of computer data.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 upSupport.The rest of the staff BACKED her UP when she complained about working conditions.
Back upDrive a vehicle backwards.Tom BACKED UP without looking and ran over his laptop.
Bag outCriticise.Don’t bag out BAG OUT Australian English.
Bail outSave, rescue.The government had to BAIL OUT the airline because it was losing so much money.
Bail outRemove water from something that is flooded.The boat was leaking so they had to BAIL it OUT.
Bail outJump out of a plane because it is going to crash.The pilot BAILED OUT when he saw that the engines had failed.
Bail out ofPay a bond to release someone from jail.I must BAIL my drunken brother OUT OF jail.
Bail out onStop supporting someone when they are in trouble.Everybody BAILED OUT ON him when the scandal broke.
Bail upTalk to someone and delay them.I was late because he BAILED me UP on the phone and wouldn’t shut up.
Bail upRob someone at gunpoint.He was BAILED UP by a couple of muggers as he came out of the bank.
Ball upConfuse or make things complicated.The new project has BALLED me UP- I have no idea what to do.
Ball upRoll or form into a round shape.He BALLED UP his napkin when he had finished eating.
Balls upSpoil, ruin.He BALLSED the presentation UP.
Bang aboutMove in a place making a lot of noise.He’s BANGING ABOUT in the kitchen.
Bang aroundMove in a place making a lot of noise.I can hear him BANGING ABOUT upstairs.
Bang onTalk at great length.He BANGED ON for half an hour but no one was listening.
Bang on aboutKeep talking about something.He’s always BANGING ON ABOUT football.
Bang otPlay a musical instrument loudly.She BANGED the tune OUT on the piano.
Bang upPut someone in prison.The judge BANGED him UP for eight years.
Bang upDamage badly.He BANGED his car UP last night.
Bank onCount or rely on.I’m BANKING ON your help; I can’t do it alone.
Bargain ownPersuade someone to drop the price of something they’re selling.I BARGAINED her DOWN to half what she originally wanted.
Bargain forExpect something to happen (usually negative).I hadn’t BARGAINED FOR so many people coming.
Bargain onExpect something to happen (usually negative).I hadn’t BARGAINED ON him coming.
Barge inEnter a place and interrupt.He keeps BARGING IN and asking stupid questions when I’m trying to work.
Barge intoEnter a place and interrupt people rudely.They BARGED INTO my office without knocking and started talking even though I was on the phone.
Bash aboutMistreat physically.If you BASH your monitor ABOUT like that, it won’t last long.
Bash inBreak, damage or injure by hitting.The burglars BASHED the door IN to enter the house.
Bash outWrite something quickly without much preparation.I BASHED the essay OUT the night before I had to hand it in.
Bash upBreak, damage or hurt by hitting.They BASHED him UP in the fight in the pub last week and he had to go to hospital.
Bawl outScold, shout at someone.She BAWLED me OUT for coming home drunk.
Bawl outScold.She BAWLED Raj OUT for getting there late.
Bawl outSing or shout unpleasantly loudly.He BAWLED OUT our names at the top of his voice.
Be afterTry to find or get.The police ARE AFTER him because of the theft.
Be alongArrive.The next bus should BE ALONG in the next quarter of an hour or so.
Be awayBe elsewhere; on holiday, etc..She’s AWAY on business for three weeks.
Be cut out forBe suitable, have the necessary qualities.She’s not CUT OUT FOR this kind of work.
Be cut upBe upset.She was very CUT UP about coming second as she thought she deserved to win.
Be downBe depressed.He’s BEEN DOWN since his partner left him.
Be downBe reduced or less.The firm’s profits ARE DOWN by ten percent this quarter.
Be down onHave negative feelings toward someone.After the argument, James is DOWN ON his boss.
Be down ithBe ill.Gul is DOWN WITH some bug and is off work today.
Be fed upBe bored, upset or sick of something.I AM FED UP of his complaints.
Be inBe at home or at work.They ARE never IN; I always get their answerphone.
Be inBe submitted, arrive.The application form must BE IN by 3pm on Friday.
Be in onBe involved in.Susan was the only one who WASN’T IN ON the plan.
Be not onBe unacceptable.The way he’s behaving IS just NOT ON.
Be offBe bad (of food).This yoghurt must BE OFF; it smells foul.
Be offDepart, leave.I’m OFF home; it’s five o’clock.
Be onBe functioning (of machines).The computer IS ON.
Be onTake place.The show IS ON for the next three months.
Be onTake medication or drugs, especially when they affect the person badly.He IS ON anti-depressants and has become very difficult to please.
Be onBe at the top of one’s game, performing very well.He IS really ON right now- three goals in five minutes!
Be on aboutMean, try to say.I couldn’t understand what he WAS ON ABOUT- it made no sense.
Be ontoPursue, be aware of someone’s true nature.He’s being very careful because he thinks the police ARE ONTO him.
Be outBe absent from a place.She IS OUT on a visit for the day.
Be out ofHave no more left.We’re OUT OF coffee so I’ll have to go and get some.
Be out toAttempt.She IS OUT TO get him sacked because she hates him.
Be snowed underHave too much work.We’re completely SNOWED UNDER at work because it’s the end of the tax year.
Be taken abackBe shocked or surprised.I WAS TAKEN ABACK when I saw him because he’s lost all his hair.
Be taken withLike something.I WAS very TAKEN WITH the performance- it was superb.

Phrasal Verbs List with Meaning and Examples PDF

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