Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs may have two-word phrases made of;

 Verb + adverb or verb + preposition

Just like other English vocabulary they should be studied as they are encountered, rather than trying to memorize many at once.

Take each phrasal verb as a separate verb with a specific meaning.

Phrasal verbs may have more than one meaning.

Phrasal verbs with put

An English verb together with two or more neighbouring words sometimes form a unit of meaning, different from the sum of the meaning of each word in the phrase.

They form phrasal verbs.

Thus, put out does not mean placing something outside, but it means extinguish, as in put out that fire!

Phrasal verb; put someone down

Meaning; insult, make someone feel stupid

Example; The students put the substitute teacher down.


Phrasal verb; put something off

Meaning; postpone

Example; We are putting our trip off until July because of the bad weather.

Study the following examples:

Phrasal Verb; Ask around

Meaning; Ask many people the same question

Example; I asked around but nobody had seen my wallet.


Phrasal Verb; blow up

Meaning; Explode

Example; The racing car blew up after it crashed into the fence.


Phrasal Verb; Break down

Meaning; Stop functioning (vehicle, machine)

Example; Their car broke down at the side of the Thika super highway in the rainstorm.

Another meaning; Get upset

Example; The woman broke down when the doctor told her that her son had died.

Phrasal Verb; Break in

Meaning; Force entry to a building

Example; Somebody broke into our house last night and stole our stereo.


Phrasal Verb; Break up

Meaning; To end or cause something to end.

Example; Police broke up the fight.


Phrasal Verb; Call on someone

Meaning; Ask for an answer or opinion

Example; The teacher called on me for question 1.


Phrasal Verb; calm down

Meaning; Relax after being angry

Example; You are still mad. You need to calm down before you drive the car.

Phrasal verbs with get

Phrasal verb; Get something across/over

Meaning; communicate, make understandable

Example; I tried to get my point across/over to the judge but she wouldn't listen.

Phrasal verb; get along/on

Meaning; like each other

Example; I was surprised how well my new driver and my sister got along/on.

Phrasal verb; get around

Meaning; have mobility

Example; My grandfather can get around fine in his new wheelchair.

Phrasal verb; get away

Meaning; go on a vacation

Example; We worked so hard this year that we had to get away for a week.


Phrasal verb; get away with something

Meaning; do without being noticed or punished

Example; Jason will never get away with cheating in his mathematics tests.


Phrasal verb; get back

Meaning; return

Example; We got back from our holiday last week.


Phrasal verb; get something back

Meaning; receive something you had before

Example; Liz finally got her Science notes back from her brother.

The image below shows more examples.

  • Phrasal_verbs_1 by English with a twist used under CC_BY-SA
  • Image-3--phrasal-verbs by eLimu used under CC_BY-SA
  • Verbal_Phrasal_verb_woman_broke_down by used under CC_BY-SA
  • Image-7--phrasal-verbs by eLimu used under CC_BY-SA
  • Phrasal_verbs_Judge by Business Daily used under CC_BY-SA
  • Phrasal_verbs_wheelchair by Mistry's used under CC_BY-SA

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