How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT (2014)

Part 2: Verbal Ability

Section 6: New Verbal Question Types in CAT

Chapter 22A. Phrasal Verbs

Questions based on the correct usage of phrasal verbs have become an integral part of the Verbal Ability section in the CAT exam since the last seven years. Each year a minimum of two to three questions come in the exam, which test the correct usage of phrasal verbs. Ever since CAT became online and its pattern has assumed consistency, it is seen as an important part of the verbal section.

This chapter aims at providing you with an exhaustive list of phrasal verbs for your preparation. Practice exercises have also been provided according to the questions that come in the CAT exam.

WHAT ARE PHRASAL VERBS?

Phrasal verbs are basic verbs which can combine with different propositions (particles) to make verbs with completely new and often unfathomable meanings.

Phrasal verbs are combinations of ordinary verbs like ‘put’, ‘take’, ‘come’, and ‘go’ and particles like ‘in’, ‘out’, ‘on’, and ‘off’. They are a very important part of everyday English. Every student of English needs a basic understanding of the most common phrasal verbs and also of common nouns and adjectives made from phrasal verbs.

Most phrasal verbs are not informal, slang, or improper for educated speech or formal writing. Exactly the opposite is true — most phrasal verbs are acceptable at all levels of spoken or written English. In fact, for many of the phrasal verbs, there is no alternative to the phrasal verb — there is no other way to say it.

Many verbs in English are followed by an adverb or a preposition (also called a particle), and these two-part verbs, are also called phrasal verbs. The particle that follows the verb changes the meaning of the phrasal verb in idiomatic ways.

PHRASAL VERBS

Verb

Meaning

Example

drop off

decline gradually

The hill dropped off near the river.

drop off(2)

fall asleep

While doing his homework, he dropped off.

drop off(3)

stop and give something

Would you drop this off at the post office to someone?

drop out

cease to participate

After two laps, the runner dropped out.

Some particles can be separated from the verb so that a noun and pronoun can be inserted, and some particles can’t be separated from the verb. In addition, some phrases are intransitive, meaning they cannot take a direct object.

Separable

add up (meaning: to add)

Correct: She added up the total on her calculator.

   

Correct: She added it up on her calculator.

Inseparable

get around (meaning: to evade)

Correct: She always gets around the rules.

   

Incorrect: She always gets the rules around (This construction makes no sense in English.)

Intransitive

catch on (meaning: to understand)

Correct: After I explained the math problem, she began to catch on.

   

Incorrect: She began to catch on the math problem. (Catch on cannot take a direct object in this meaning.)

   

Correct: She began to catch on to the math problem. (The word to makes the math problem an indirect object, which is acceptable in this meaning.)

Unfortunately, there is usually no indicator whether an idiomatic phrase is separable, inseparable, or intransitive. In most cases the phrases must simply be memorised. Below is a partial list of each kind of phrase.

PHRASAL VERBS WITH THE LETTER

A

1.act up (no object): misbehave (for people); not work properly (for machines).

“The babysitter had a difficult time. The children acted up all evening.”

“I guess I’d better take my car to the garage. It’s been acting up lately.”

2.act like (inseparable): behave in a way that’s like _____ .

“What’s wrong with Bob? He’s acting like an idiot.”

Note: This phrasal verb is very informal.

3.add up (1. no object): logically fit together.

“His theory is hard to believe, but his research adds up.”

Note: This phrasal verb is often negative.

“His theory seems, at first, to be plausible, but the facts in his research don’t add up.”

4.add up (2. separable): find the total.

“What’s the total of those bills? Could you add them up and see?”

5.add up to (inseparable): to total.

“The bills add up to Rs.734.96. That’s more than I expected!”

6.ask out (separable): ask for a date.

“Nina has a new boy friend. James asked her out last night.”

B

7.back down (no object): not follow a threat.

“Timmy was going to call the police when I told him I’d wrecked his car, but he backed down when I said I’d pay for the damages.”

8.back up (1. no object): move backward; move in reverse.

“You missed the lines in the parking space. You’ll have to back up and try again.”

“The people waiting in line are too close to the door. We won’t be able to open it unless they back up.”

10.back up (2. separable): drive a vehicle backwards (in reverse).

“You’re too close! Back your car up so I can open the garage door.”

11.back up (3. separable): confirm a story, facts, or information.

“If you don’t believe me, talk to Dave. He’ll back me up.”

12.back up (4. separable): make a “protection” copy to use if there are problems with the original.

“When my computer crashed, I lost many of my files. It’s a good thing I backed them up.”

13.beg off (no object): decline an invitation; ask to be excused from doing something.

“At first Lily said she would be at the party. Later she begged off.”

14.blow up (1. separable): inflate.

“We need lots of balloons for the party. Will you blow them up?”

blow up (2. separable): explode; destroy by exploding.

A: “That old building really came down quickly!” B: “That’s because the construction company used dynamite to blow it up.”

blow up (3. no object): suddenly become very angry.

“When I told Jerry that I’d had an accident with his car, he blew up.”

15.bone up on (inseparable): review / study thoroughly for a short time.

“If you’re going to travel to Peru, you’d better bone up on your Spanish.”

16.break down (1. separable): separate something into component parts.

“We spent a lot of money at the supermarket. When we broke the total cost down, we spent more on cleaning supplies than food.”

break down (2. no object): stop working / functioning.

“Sharon will be late for work today. Her car broke down on the freeway.”

17.break in (1. often no object; with an object, break into--inseparable): enter by using force (and breaking a lock, window, etc.)

“Jane’s apartment was burglarized last night. Someone broke in while Jane was at the movies.” / “Somebody broke into Jane’s apartment while she was at the movies.

18.break in (2. separable): wear something new until it’s / they’re comfortable.

“These are nice shoes, but they’re too stiff. I hope it doesn’t take too long to break them in.”

19.break in (3. separable): train; get someone / something accustomed to a new routine.

“I hope I can learn my new job quickly. The manager hasn’t scheduled much time for breaking me in.”

20.break up (1. no object): disperse; scatter.

“What time did the party break up last night?”

21.break up (2. usually no object; with an object, break up with [inseparable)]): end a personal relationship.

“Tim and Julie aren’t going steady any more. They got really angry with each other and broke up.”

“Have you heard the news? Julie broke up with Tim!”

“I’m sorry to hear that their marriage broke up. I’m sure the divorce will be difficult for the children.”

22.bring/take back (separable): return something.

“Yes, you can borrow my pen, don’t forget to bring it back to me when you’re finished.”

“This book is due tomorrow. I guess I should take it back to the library.”

23.bring off (separable): accomplish something difficult; accomplish something people had considered impossible or unlikely.

“No one thought Jack could get an A in that course, but he brought it off. “

24.bring up (1. separable): mention (as a topic of discussion).

“We planned to discuss overtime pay in the meeting. Why didn’t someone bring that topic up?”

25.bring up (2. separable): raise; rear.

“Lily’s parents died when she was a baby. Her grandparents brought her up.”

26.brush up on (inseparable): review / study thoroughly for a short time.

“If you’re going to travel to Peru, you’d better brush up on your Spanish.”

27.burn down (no object): destroyed/consumed by fire.

Note: For upright things–trees, buildings, etc.–only.

“Lightning struck Mr. Kennedy’s barn last night. It burned down before the fire fighters arrived.”

28.burn up (1. no object): destroyed / consumed by fire.

Note: For people and non-upright things only.

“All of Mr. Kennedy’s hay burned up when his barn burned down.”

29.burn up (2. separable): cause someone to become very angry.

“Did you hear how rudely Fred talked to me? That really burned me up!”

30.butt in (no object): impolitely interrupt (a conversation, an action).

“Hey, you! Don’t butt in! Wait for your turn!”

31.butter up (separable): praise someone excessively with the hope of getting some benefit.

“I guess Marty reall wants to be promoted. He’s been buttering his boss up all week.”

C

32.call off (separable): cancel something that has been scheduled.

“We don’t have school today. The mayor called classes off because of the snow.”

33.call on (inseparable): ask someone for an answer in class.

“I don’t know why the teacher never calls on you. You always know the answer.”

34.calm down (with or without an object; with an object, separable): become calm / less agitated or upset; help someone become calm / less agitated or upset.

“Why are you so upset? Suzie didn’t intend to spill orange juice on you. Calm down!”

“I know Ralph is upset, but can you calm him down? He’s making so much noise that he’s irritating everyone in the office.”

35.(not) care for (1. inseparable): like; want.

Note: This phrasal verb is usually negative, though it may be used affirmatively in questions.

A: “Would you care for something to drink? We have coffee, tea, or orange juice.”

B: “Could I have water, please? I don’t care for coffee, tea, or juice.”

36.care for (2. inseparable): take care of; supply care to; attend / watch over.

“Amy’s father got out of the hospital last week. The family is caring for him at home.”

37.catch on (no object): develop understanding or knowledge of something.

“Bill had never used a computer until he took this class, but he caught on very quickly and is now one of the best students.”

38.catch up (with) (often without an object; with an object, inseparable): stop being behind.

“Terry stopped to rest for a few minutes. He’ll catch up / catch up with us later.”

39.check in(to) (inseparable): register for / at a hotel, conference, etc.; let someone know officially that you have arrived.

“My plane will arrive around 5:00 PM. I should be able to check into the hotel by 6:00 or 6:30.”

“When you arrive at the convention, be sure to check in at the registration desk.”

40.check off (separable): make a mark to indicate that something on a list has been completed.

“Here are the things you need to do. Please check each one off when you’ve finished it.”

41.check out (of) (1. inseparable): follow procedures for leaving (a hotel, etc.)

“Don’t forget to take your room key to the front desk when you check out (when you check out of the hotel).”

42.check out (2. separable): follow procedures for borrowing something (usually for a limited period of time).

“I’m sorry, but you can’t take that encyclopedia home. The library won’t allow you to check reference books out.”

43.cheer up (separable): help someone feel less worried / depressed / sad.

“Suzie’s brother was depressed about not getting a promotion, so she sent him a funny card to cheer him up.”

44.chew out (separable): scold someone severely; berate.

“Tom’s father was really angry when Tom didn’t come home until 3:00 AM. He chewed Tom out and then said Tom had to stay at home for two weeks.”

45.chicken out (no object): lose the courage or confidence to do something--often at the last minute.

“Sam said he was going to ask Lulu for a date, but he chickened out.”

46.chip in (inseparable): contribute / donate (often money) to something done by a group.

“We’re going to buy a birthday cake for our boss and I’m collecting donations. Do you want to chip in?”

47.clam up (inseparable): suddenly become quiet/refuse to talk about something.

“Lila wouldn’t talk about the accident. When I asked her what happened, she clammed up.”

48.come across (inseparable): find (unexpectedly).

“I’ve lost my extra car keys. If you come across them while your’re cleaning the room, please put them in a safe place.”

49.come down with _____ (inseparable): become ill with _____ .

“George won’t be at the office today. He came down with the flu over the weekend.”

50.come to (1. inseparable): total.

“Your charges come to `124.38. Will you pay by cheque, in cash, or with a credit card?”

51.come to (2. no object): regain consciousness.

“When I told Gina that she’d won a million dollars, she fainted. When she came to, I told her it was a joke and she almost hit me!”

52.count on (inseparable): depend on; trust that something will happen or that someone will do as expected.

“I’m counting on you to wake me up tomorrow. I know I won’t hear the alarm.”

53.cross out (separable): show that something written is wrong or unnecessary by making an X across it.

“We can’t afford to buy everything on your shopping list, so I’ve crossed all the unnecessary things out.”

54.cut back (on) (often without an object; with an object, cut back on [inseparable]): use less of something.

“You drink too much coffee. You should cut back.”

“You should cut back on the amount of coffee that you drink.”

D

55.do in (1. separable): cause to become very tired.

“Those three games of tennis yesterday afternoon really did me in. I slept for ten hours after I got home.”

56.do in (2. separable): to kill; to murder.

“They said that the murdered man was done in between 10 and 11 o’clock last night.”

57.do over (separable): do something again.

“Oh, no! I forgot to save my report before I turned the computer off! Now I’ll have to do it over!”

58.drag on (no object): last much longer than expected or is necessary.

“I thought the meeting would be a short one, but it dragged on for more than three hours.”

59.draw up (separable): create a formal document.

“The Ajax and Tip-Top Banks have decided to merge. Their lawyers will draw all the official documents up sometime this month.”

60.drop off (separable): deliver something; deliver someone (by giving him/her a ride).

“Yes, I can take those letters to the post office. I’ll drop them off as I go home from work.”

“You don’t have to take a taxi. You live fairly close to me, so I’ll be happy to drop you off.”

61.drop in (on) (inseparable): visit informally (and usually usually without scheduling a specific time).

“If you’re in town next month, we’d love to see you. Please try to drop in. (Please try to drop in on us.”

62.drop by (inseparable): visit informally (and usually without scheduling a specific time).

“If you’re in town next month, we’d love to see you. Please try to drop by the house.”

63.drop ou(of) (inseparable): stop attending / leave school or an organization.

“No, Paul isn’t at the university. He dropped out. / He dropped out of school.”

64.draw out (separable): prolong something (usually far beyond the normal limits).

“I thought that speech would never end. The speaker could have said everything important in about five minutes, but he drew the speech out for over an hour!”

E

65.eat out (no object): have a meal in a restaurant.

“I’m too tired to cook tonight. Why don’t we eat out?”

66.egg on (separable): urge / encourage greatly toward doing something (usually something negative).

“At first Bob and Chuck were just having a mild argument, but Bob’s friends egged them on until they started fighting.”

67.end up (1. no object): finally arrive at; arrive at an unexpected place.

“We got lost last night and ended up in the next town.”

68.end up (2. no object): arrive somewhere as a result or consequence.

“You’re working too hard. If you don’t take it easy, you’ll end up in the hospital!”

F

69.face up to (inseparable): admit to; take responsibility for.

“You can’t pretend that you’re doing OK in this course, Joe. Sooner or later, you’ll have to face up to the fact that you’re failing it.”

70.fall through (no object): not happen. (Note: describes something that was planned but didn’t happen.)

“We had originally intended to go to Mexico for our vacation, but our trip fell through when I got sick.”

71.feel up to (inseparable): feel strong enough or comfortable enough to do something.

“I know the accident was a terrible shock. Do you feel up to talking about it?”

72.figure out (1. separable): logically find the answer to a problem; solve a problem by thinking about it carefully.

“For a long time I couldn’t understand the last problem, but I finally figured it out.”

73.figure out (2. separable): understand why someone behaves the way she/he does.

“I can’t figure Margie out. Sometimes she’s very warm and friendly and sometimes she acts as if she doesn’t know me.”

74.fill in (1. separable): add information to a form.

“The office needs to know your home address and phone number. Could you fill them in on this form?”

75.fill in (on) (2. separable): supply information that someone doesn’t know.

“I wasn’t able to attend the meeting yesterday, but I understand that it was important. Could you fill me in? / Could you fill me in on what was discussed?”

76.fill in for (inseparable): temporarily do someone else’s work; temporarily substitute for another person.

“Professor Newton is in the hospital and won’t be able to teach for the rest of the term. Do you know who’s going to fill in for her?”

77.fill out (1. separable): complete a form by adding required information.

“Of course I completed my application! I filled it out and mailed it over three weeks ago!”

78.fill out (2. no object): become less thin; gain weight.

“Jerry used to be really skinny, but in the last year he’s begun to fill out.”

79.find out (about) (inseparable): learn / get information (about).

“I’m sorry that you didn’t know the meeting had been canceled. I didn’t find out (find out about it) myself until just a few minutes ago.”

G

80.get across (separable): make something understood; communicate something understandably.

“Alan is really intelligent but sometimes he has problems getting his ideas across.”

81.get along (with) (inseparable): have a friendly relationship (with); be friendly (toward).

“Why can’t you and your sister get along? Everyone else gets along with her just fine!”

82.get around (1. inseparable): avoid having to do something.

“Teresa got around the required math classes by doing well on a math proficiency test.”

83.get around (2. no object): move from place to place.

“She doesn’t have a car. She gets around by bicycle, bus, or taxi.”

84.get around to (inseparable): do something eventually.

“I really should wash the dishes, but I don’t feel like it. Maybe I’ll get around to them tomorrow morning.”

85.get by (no object): survive, financially, in a difficult situation.

“It’s going to be hard to pay the rent now that you’ve lost your job, but somehow we’ll get by.”

86.get in (1. inseparable): enter a small, closed vehicle.

“I don’t know where Carole was going. She just got in her car and drove away.”

87.get in (2. no object): arrive.

“Do you know what time Fred’s plane gets in?”

88.get on (inseparable): enter a large, closed vehicle.

“I’m sorry, but you’re too late to say goodbye to Angela. She got on the plane about 20 minutes ago.”

89.get off (1. inseparable): leave a large, closed vehicle.

“When you get off the bus, cross the street, turn right on Oak Street, and keep going until you’re at the corner of Oak and Lincoln Boulevard.”

90.get off (2. separable): be excused (for a period of time) from work, class, or other regularly scheduled activities.

“Some schools got President’s Day off but ours didn’t. We had classes as usual.”

91.get off (3. separable): make it possible for someone to avoid punishment.

“Everyone knew he was guilty, but his lawyer was clever and got him off.”

92.get out of (1. inseparable): leave a small, closed vehicle.

“There’s something wrong with the garage door opener. You’ll have to get out of the car and open it by hand.”

93.get out of (2. inseparable): escape having to do something.

“Lisa said she had a terrible headache and got out of giving her speech today.”

94.get over (1. no object): finish. (Note: for individual activities, not ones that happen again and again.)

“What time do your classes get over?”

95.get over (2. inseparable): recover from an illness or painful experience.

“Katy was really upset when she failed the test. She thought she would never get over feeling so stupid.”

96.get rid of (1. inseparable): dispose of; give away or throw away.

“That shirt is really ugly. Why don’t you get rid of it?”

97.get rid of (2. inseparable): dismiss someone; fire someone from a job; cause someone to leave.

“The treasurer of the XYZ company was spending too much money so the company president got rid of him.”

98.get up (usually no object; with an object, separable): leave bed after sleeping and begin your daily activities.

“You’ll have to get up much earlier than usual tomorrow. We have to leave by no later than 6:00 AM.”

“I know I won’t hear the alarm tomorrow morning. Can you get me up at 6:00 AM?”

99.give up (1. separable): stop doing something (usually a habit).

“He knows smoking isn’t good for his health, but he can’t give it up.”

100.give up (2. no object): decide not to try (unsuccessfully) to solve a problem.

A:“What’s black and white and red all over?”

B:“I give up. What?”

A:“An embarrassed zebra!”

101.go out with (inseparable): have a date with.

“You went out with Sharon last night, didn’t you?”

102.go with (1. no object): look pleasing together. (Note: for clothes, furniture, etc.)

“You should buy that shirt. It will go well with your dark brown suit.”

103.go with (2. no object): date regularly and steadily.

“Is Gina going with Jim? I see them together all the time.”

104.goof off (no object): be lazy; do nothing in particular.

A:“Do you have any special plans for your vacation?”

B:“No. I’m just going to stay home and goof off.”

105.grow up (1. no object): spend the years between being a child and being an adult.

“Did you know that Frank grew up in Malaysia?”

106.grow up (2. no object): behave responsibly; behave as an adult, not a child.

A:“Lee really irritates me sometimes. He’s really silly and childish.”

B:“I agree. I wish he would grow up.”

H

107.hand in (separable): submit homework, an assignment, etc.

“You’d better get started on your report. You know that you have to hand it in at 8:30 tomorrow morning!”

108.hand out (separable): distribute.

“Why don’t you have a course description and list of assignments? The teacher handed them out on the first day of class.”

109.hang up (no object): end a phone conversation by replacing the receiver.

“I’d like to talk longer, but I’d better hang up. My sister needs to make a call.”

110.have to do with (inseparable): be about.

“This class has to do with the behavior of people in groups.”

111.hold up (1. separable): raise; lift to a higher-than-normal position.

“The winner of the race proudly held his trophy up for all to see.”

112.hold up (2. separable): delay.

“I’m sorry I’m late. There was an accident on the freeway and traffic held me up.”

113.hold up (3. separable): rob; threaten someone with harm unless he/she gives her/his money or other valuable things.

“Sarah is very upset. When she was walking home last night, two men held her up and took her purse and jewelry.”

I

114.iron out (separable): mutually reach an agreement; mutually resolve difficulties

“Yes, I know we disagree on lots of things, Susan, but we can iron them out.”

J

115.jack up (1. separable): raise/lift by using a jack.

“We’ll have to jack the back of the car up before we can change the tyre.”

116.jack up (2. separable): raise (used for prices).

“The car dealer bought my old Ford for $750 and jacked the price up to $1,500 when they sold it.”

117.jump all over (inseparable): severely scold someone; berate someone.

“Arthur is really upset. His boss jumped all over him because he’s been late for work three times this week.”

K

118.keep on (1. inseparable--followed by an -ing verb): continue

“I’m not ready to stop yet. I think I’ll keep on working for a while.”

119.keep on (someone) (2. inseparable): continue to remind someone to do something until he/she does it (even if this irritates her/him).

“Bill’s very forgetful. You’ll have to keep on him or he’ll never do all the things you want him to do.”

120.kick out (separable): expel; force someone to leave because of his/her poor performance or unacceptable behavior.

“Jim’s club kicked him out because he didn’t pay his dues or come to meetings.”

121.knock out (separable): make unconscious.

“The boxing match ended when one boxer knocked the other one out.”

“That medicine really knocked me out. I slept for 14 hours straight!”

122.knock oneself out (separable): work much harder than normal or than what is expected.

“We completed the project on time because of Chuck. He knocked himself out to be sure we didn’t miss the deadline.”

L

lay off (separable): dismiss someone from a job because of lack of work or money (not because of poor performance)

“I feel really sorry for Sally’s family. Her father was laid off yesterday.”

123.leave out (separable): forget; omit.

“Oh, no! When I made the list of those who attended the meeting, I left your name out!”

124.let down (separable): disappoint.

“I know I let you down when I didn’t do what I promised. I’m really sorry.”

125.let up (no object): become less intense or slower.

“It’s been raining hard for a long time. Will it ever let up?”

126.look back on (inseparable): remember; reflect on / consider something in the past.

“When they looked back on their many years together, they realized that their marriage had been a very happy one.”

127.look down on (inseparable): hold in contempt; regard as inferior.

“It’s not surprising that Fred has few friends. He seems to look down on anyone who doesn’t like the same things that he does.”

128.look forward to (inseparable): anticipate pleasantly; think about a pleasant thing before it happens

“I’m really looking forward to vacation. I can’t wait for it to begin!”

129.look in on (inseparable): visit in order to check something’s / someone’s condition.

“My father just came home from the hospital. I plan to look in on him today after I finish work.”

130.look into (inseparable): investigate/get more details about something.

“Someone said there was a meeting at 9:30 but I haven’t heard anything about it. Shall I look into it?”

131.look like (inseparable): resemble (in appearance).

“Does he look like his father or his mother?”

132.look over (separable): check; review.

“I think I may have some typos in this report. Could you look it over?”

133.look up (1. separable): find something in a reference work.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t know what that word means. I’ll have to look it up.”

134.look up (2. separable): find where someone lives or works and visit him/her.

“Thanks for giving me your brother’s address. When I’m in Chicago next month, I’ll be sure to look him up.”

135.look up to (inseparable): respect.

“Everyone looks up to Joyce because she always makes time to help others.”

136.luck out (no object): be unexpectedly lucky.

“Gloria was worried because she wasn’t prepared to give a report at the meeting, but she lucked out as the meeting got postponed.”

M

137.make fun of (inseparable): make jokes about (usually unkindly).

“I agree that Bob looks ridiculous since he shaved his head, but don’t make fun of him. You’ll hurt his feelings.”

138.make up (1. separable): invent / create (imaginary) information.

“Judy’s story is hard to believe. I’m sure she made it up.”

139.make up (2. separable): compensate for something missed or not done by doing extra or equivalent work.

“I’m sorry I missed the test. May I make it up?”

140.make up (with) (3. inseparable): re-establish a friendly relationship by admitting guilt.

“Jack and his girlfriend were very angry with each other, but last night they finally made up.”

“Jack and his girlfriend were very angry with each other, but last night they finally made up with each other.”

141.make out (separable): see / hear something well enough to understand what it means. (Note: often negative.)

“Ruth’s writing is very small. I almost need a magnify glass to make it out.”

“What were the last two examples that he gave? I couldn’t make them out.”

142.make for (1. inseparable): go to or toward.

“Her teen-aged children are always hungry. As soon as they arrive home from school, they make for the refrigerator.”

143.make for (2. inseparable): result in; cause.

“Many hands make for light work. (If many people work together, there’s less work for everyone.)”

144.mark up (separable): increase the price (for resale).

“Mrs. White’s import shop is profitable because she buys things inexpensively and then marks them up.”

145.mark down (separable): reduce the price (as an incentive to buy).

“These shoes were really a bargain! The store marked them down by 40%!”

146.mix up (separable): cause to become confused.

“I didn’t complete the assignment because I didn’t know how. The directions mixed me up.”

147.nod off (no object): fall asleep (usually unintentionally).

“The speech was so boring that several people in the audience nodded off before it was finished.”

P

148.pan out (no object): succeed; happen as expected (for plans). (Note: almost always negative when in statements.)

“I’ll be here next week after all. My trip to Chicago didn’t pan out.”

149.pass away (no object): die.

“I was very sorry to hear that your grandfather passed away.”

150.pass out (1. no object): faint; lose consciousness.

“When Ella heard that she’d won a million dollars, she was so shocked that she passed out.”

151.pass out (2. separable): distribute.

“Everyone in the room needs one of these information sheets. Who will help me pass them out?”

152.pick out (separable): choose; select.

“Billy’s grandmother especially liked her birthday card because Billy had picked it out himself.”

153.pick up (1. separable): lift; take up.

“Those books don’t belong on the floor. Will you help me pick them up?”

154.pick up (2. separable): arrange to meet someone and give her/him a ride.

“Of course we can go there together. What time should I pick you up?”

155.pick up (3. separable): get; buy.

“The children just drank the last of the milk. Could you pick some more up on your way home this evening?”

156.pick up (4. separable): refresh; revitalize.

“He was feeling a little tired, so he drank a glass of orange juice. It picked him up enough to finish his work.”

157.pick on (inseparable): bully; intentionally try to make someone upset.

“You should be ashamed of teasing your little brother, Bob! Pick on someone your own size!”

158.pitch in (no object): help; join together to accomplish something.

“We’ll be finished soon if everyone pitches in.”

159.pull over (no object): drive a vehicle to the side of the road.

“When the policeman indicated that I should pull over, I knew he was going to give me a ticket.”

160.put away (separable): return something to the proper place.

“I just took these clothes out of the dryer. Will you help me put them away?”

161.put off (1. separable): postpone; delay; avoid

“I can’t put this work off any longer. If I don’t do it soon, it’ll be impossible to finish it in time.”

“When will Mr. Smith agree to a meeting? I keep asking for an appointment, but he keeps putting me off.”

162.put on (1. separable): begin to wear; don.

“It’s a little bit chilly outside. You’d better put a sweater on.”

163.put on (2. separable): try to make someone believe something that is ridiculous or untrue.

“Don’t believe a word of what Jim was saying. He was just putting us on.”

164.put (someone) out (separable): inconvenience someone.

“I hate to put you out, but I need a ride to the train station and hope you can take me.”

165.put up (1. separable): return something to the proper place.

“Your toys are all over the floor, Timmy. Please put them up.”

166.put up (2. separable): provide someone with a place to sleep.

“There’s no need for you to check into a hotel. I’ll be happy to put you up.”

167.put up with (inseparable): tolerate.

“It’s really important to come to work on time. The boss won’t put up with tardiness.”

168.put back (separable): return something to the proper place.

“I’ve finished with these books. Do you want me to put them back on the shelves?”

R

169.rip off (separable): cheat; take advantage of; charge too much.

“Don’t even think about buying a car there. They’ll rip you off.”

170.round off (separable): change from a fraction to the nearest whole number.

Round all prices off to the closest whole-dollar amounts. For example, round $33.73 off to $34.00.”

171.run into (inseparable): meet by chance.

“Yesterday at the supermarket, Jan ran into her former roommate. Before yesterday, they hadn’t seen each other for nearly five years.”

172.run out of (inseparable): use the last of.

“On the way home from work, Art ran out of gas.”

S

173.set up (separable): make arrangements for something.

“You’ll see Mr. Thomas tomorrow. I’ve set a meeting up for 9:30 AM.”

174.set back (1. separable): cause a delay in scheduling.

“We’ve had some problems with the project that have set us back at least two days . We’ll give you a progress report tomorrow.”

175.set back (2. separable): cost.

“I wonder how much Bill’s new car set him back?”

176.slip up (no object): make a mistake.

“You slipped up here. The amount should be $135.28, not $132.58.”

177.stand out (no object): be noticeably better than other similar people or things.

“Good job, Ann! Your work really stands out!”

178.stand up (1. no object): rise to a standing position.

“When the Chairperson entered the room, everyone stood up.”

179.stand up (2. separable): make a date but not keep it.

“Angela was supposed to go to the dance with Fred, but she stood him up and went with Chuck instead.”

180.show up (1. no object): arrive; appear.

“The boss was very upset when you didn’t show up for the meeting. What happened?”

181.show up (2. separable): do a noticeably better job (often unexpectedly) than someone else.

“Everyone thought Marsha would win, but Jean did. Actually, Jean really showed Marsha up.”

182.stand for (1. no object): represent.

“These letters seem to be an abbreviation. Do you know what they stand for?”

183.stand for (2. inseparable): tolerate; permit (usually negative).

“I’m not surprised that Mrs. Johnson rejected your report. She won’t stand for shoddy work.”

T

184.take after (inseparable): resemble; favour (in appearance).

Note: used for people.

“Both my sister and I take after our father.”

185.take / bring back (separable): return.

“This book is due tomorrow. I guess I should take it back to the library.”

“Yes, you can borrow my pen, but don’t forget to bring it back to me when you’re finished.”

186.take care of (1. inseparable): provide care for; watch one’s health.

“Lois has been taking care of her father since he returned home from the hospital.”

“You’ve been working too hard lately. You’d better take care of yourself!”

187.take care of (2. ineparable): make arrangements (for something to happen); take responsibility for.

“Will you take care of making reservations for our flight to Boston?”

188.take off (1. separable): remove (something you’re wearing).

“Please take your hat off when you go inside a building.”

189.take off (2. no object): leave; depart (often suddenly or quickly).

“Was something wrong with Jill? She took off without saying goodbye.”

“When does your plane take off?

190.take off (3. separable): make arrangements to be absent from work.

“Susan isn’t here today. She’s taking today and tomorrow off.”

191.take up (separable): begin (a hobby or leisure-time activity).

A:“Do you like to ski?”

B:“I’ve never been skiing, but I think I’d like to take it up.”

192.tell (someone) off (separable): speak to someone bluntly and negatively, saying exactly what she/he did wrong.

“Julie was really angry at Bob; she told him off in front of all of us.”

193.tick off (1. separable): irritate someone; make someone upset or angry.

“It really ticks her off when someone is late for an appointment.”

194.tick off (2. separable): show that something has been completed by putting a tick (check) beside it.

“Here are the things you need to do. Tick each one off when you finish it.”

195.throw away (separable): discard; put in the garbage.

“You shouldn’t throw those newspapers away; they’re recyclable.”

196.throw out (1. separable): discard; put in the garbage.

“This food smells bad. You’d better throw it out.”

197.throw out (2. separable): forcibly make someone leave (usually because of bad behavior).

“Those people are drunk and making everyone uncomfortable. The manager should throw them out.”

198.throw up (usually no object; with an object, separable): vomit.

“Paul was so nervous about his job interview that he threw up just before he left for it.”

199.try on (separable): wear something briefly to check its fit, how it looks, etc.

“I’m not sure that the jacket is large enough. May I try it on?”

200.try out (separable): use a machine briefly to determine how well it works.

“I really like the way this car looks. May I try it out?”

201.try out (for) (inseparable): try to win a place on a team or other organization.

“I know you want to be on the football team. Are you going to try out?”

“If you like to sing, you should try out for the choir.

202.turn around (1. usually no object): move so that you are facing the opposite direction.

“Everyone turned around and stared when I entered the meeting late.”

203.turn around (2. separable): move so that someone / something is facing the opposite direction.

“I don’t want this chair facing the window. Will you help me turn it around?”

204.turn around (3. separable): make changes so that something that was unprofitable is profitable.

“The company was doing poorly until it hired a new president. He turned it around in about six months and now it’s doing quite well.”

205.turn down (1. separable): decrease the volume.

“Your music is giving me a headache! Please turn it down or use your headphones!”

206.turn down (2. separable): refuse.

“I thought I could borrow some money from Joe, but when I asked, he turned me down.”

207.turn in (1. separable): give/deliver/submit to someone.

“I’ve written my report, but I haven’t turned it in.”

208.turn in (2. no object): go to bed.

“I’m pretty tired. I guess I’ll turn in.”

209.turn in (3. separable): report or deliver wrongdoers to the authorities.

“Two days after the robbery, the thieves turned themselves in.”

210.turn off (1. separable): stop by turning a handle or switch.

“I’m cold. Do you mind if I turn the air conditioner off?”

211.turn off (2. separable): bore; repel (very informal).

“That music turns me off. Please play something else!”

212.turn on (1. separable): start by turning a handle or switch.

“It’s cold in here. I’m going to turn the heater on

213.turn on (2. separable): interest very much; excite (very informal).

“What kind of music turns you on?”

214.turn up (1. separable): increase the volume.

“I can barely hear the TV. Can you turn it up a little?”

215.turn up (2. no object): appear unexpectedly.

“We were all surprised when Pam turned up at the party. We didn’t even know she was in town.”

W

216.wait on (1. inseparable): serve (usually customers in a restaurant, shop, etc.)

“I want to make a complaint. The person who just waited on me was very impolite.”

217.wait for (inseparable): wait until someone/something arrives or is finished with something else.

“When will Kenny be finished with work? I’ve been waiting for him for almost an hour!”

“I’m tired of waiting for the bus. I guess I’ll take a taxi instead.”

218.wake up (1. no object): stop sleeping.

“I usually wake up around 5:00 AM each day.”

219.wake up (2. separable): rouse someone; cause someone to stop sleeping.

“I have an important meeting tomorrow and I’m afraid I won’t hear my alarm. Will you wake me up at 6:00 AM?”

220.watch out for (inseparable): be careful of; beware of.

“There’s a school at the end of this block. Watch out for children crossing the street.”

“If you take that road, watch out for ice during the winter.”

221.wear out (1. separable): wear something / use something until it can no longer be worn / be used.

“I need a new pencil sharpener. I wore this one out.”

“I suppose I should get some new shoes. I’ve almost worn this pair out.”

222.wear out (2. separable): cause to become exhausted; cause to become very tired.

“I had four different meetings today. They wore me out.”

“I suppose I should get some new shoes. I’ve almost worn this pair out.”

223.work out (1. no object): exercise (usually in a gym, etc.) to build muscles, body tone, etc.

“Instead of eating lunch on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Sheila goes to the recreation center to work out.”

224.work out (2. separable): solve a problem / resolve a difficult situation (usually by working together).

“I know we disagree on many points, but I believe we can work things out.”

225.wrap up (1. no object): wear enough clothes to keep warm.

“It’s really cold today. Be sure you wrap up when you leave the house.”

226.wrap up (2. separable): finish something; bring something to a conclusion.

“We’ve been talking about the problem for nearly three hours. I hope we’ll be able to wrap the discussion up soon.”

227.write down (separable): record something in writing.

“Could you tell me your e-mail address again? I want to write it down.”

228.write up (separable): record; report in writing.

“You’ll need to make a report on your business meetings. Be sure you write them up as soon as possible after you return from your trip.”

229.zonk out (no object): fall asleep quickly because of exhaustion.

“I intended to go shopping after work, but I was so tired that I zonked out as soon as I got home.”

A

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

act up

behave or function improperly

I think I need to take my car to the mechanic because it’s acting up again.

add * up +

calculate a sum

I added up the receipts and it totaled $135.46.

add up to +

equal an amount

The total expenses added up to $325.00. 

add up

make sense

Her story doesn’t add up. I think she is lying.

ask * out +

invite on a date

I can’t believe that Joe finally asked me out on a date!

ask * over +

invite to one’s home

Why don’t we ask the Johnsons over for dinner?

B

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

back down

stop defending your opinion in a debate

Jane never backs down. She always wins arguments.

back out

not keep (a promise, agreement, deal)

Sam backed out at the last second.

back out of +

not keep (a promise, agreement, deal)

Sam backed out of the agreement at the last second.

back * up +

give support

You need examples to back up your opinion.

back up

move backwards, reverse

Could you back up a little so I can open this drawer.

bawl * out

criticize, reprimand (inf.)

She bawled him out for arriving late.

bear down on +

bite

The soldier had to bear down on the leather strap while the doctor removed a bullet from the soldier’s arm.

bear down on +

take strong measures against

The U.S.A. is bearing down on drug traffickers.

bear on +

have to do with

This information may bear on this case.

bear up

withstand

I didn’t think he would bear up so well in that situation.

bear up under +

withstand

How did he bear up under such extreme pressure.

bear with +

be patient

Please bear with me while I fill out the paperwork.

blow in

visit unexpectedly (inf.)

My cousin blew in unexpectedly with his entire family.

blow over

pass without creating a problem

All this negative publicity will blow over in a couple of weeks.

blow * up +

make explode; destroy using explosives

The terrorists blew the bridge up.

blow up

explode

The bomb blew up before they could defuse it.

blow up

suddenly become very angry

When Joan heard the news, she blew up and rushed out of the room.

break * down +

analyze in detail

We need to break this problem down in order to solve it.

break down

stop working properly

The truck broke down in the desert.

break down

become mentally ill

She broke down after her husband died.

break * in +

wear or use something new until it is comfortable

I need to break these shoes in before I go hiking.

break in

interrupt

While we were discussing the situation, Terri broke in to give her opinion.

break in

enter a place unlawfully

The burglar broke in between midnight and 3 AM.

break in on +

interrupt (a conversation)

Jane broke in on the conversation and told us to get back to work.

break into +

enter a house unlawfully

The burglar broke into the house between midnight and 3 AM.

break into +

interrupt (a conversation)

Jane broke into the conversation and told us what she knew.

break * off +

end something

Sally broke her engagement to John off.

break out

appear violently

Violent protests broke out in response to the military coup.

break out of +

escape

The murderer broke out of the prison.

break* up+

break into pieces

I broke the cracker up into pieces and put it in the soup.

break * up +

disperse (a crowd), stop (a fight)

The police broke the demonstration up before it got out of control.

break up

end a relationship

Sam and Diane broke up again. What a rocky relationship.

bring * about +

cause to happen

Democracy brought about great change in the lives of the people.

bring* along +

bring with

When we go to the forest, bring your wildlife guide along.

bring * around

change someone’s mind, convince someone

She doesn’t want to go, but we’ll eventually bring her around.

bring * away

learn or gain (from an experience)

The children burned the house down while playing with matches.

burn down

burn until completely gone (building)

Two buildings burnt down in the fire.

burn up

be hot

I am burning up in here - open the window.

burn up

consume by fire

The papers were burned up in the fire.

burn * up +

destroy by fire

He burnt up the files.

buy * out +

buy the shares of a company or the shares the other person owns of a business

Pacific Inc. was bought out by a company from Oregon. 

buy * up +

purchase the entire supply of something

We bought up all the beer in the store.

C

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

call for +

require (as in a recipe)

This recipe calls for milk, not water.

call * off +

cancel something

They called the picnic off because of the rain.

call * off +

order to stop (an invasion, guard dogs)

He called off the dogs when he saw it was his neighbor.

call on +

visit

Mark called on Naomi while he was in town.

call on +

invite someone to speak in a meeting or a classroom

He called on Tim to answer the question.

call * up +

telephone

I called Sam up to see if he wanted to go to the movies.

calm * down +

make someone relax

You can calm the baby down by rocking her gently.

care for +

nurse someone or something

He cared for the bird until its wing healed.

care for +

like someone or something

I don’t care for sour cream on my potato.

carry on +

continue (a conversation, a game)

Please, carry on. I didn’t mean to interrupt you.

carry on about +

continue in an annoying way

He kept carrying on about how much money he makes.

carry on with +

continue

I want you to carry on with the project while I am out of town.

carry * out +

complete and/or accomplish something.

The secret agent carried out his orders exactly as planned.

carry * over +

continue on a subsequent day, page, etc.

The meeting carried over into lunch time.

catch on

slowly start to understand (inf.)

He caught on after a few minutes.

catch up

make up for lost time

I will never catch up. I am too behind in my work.

catch up with +

speed up to be at the same place as a person or thing in front of you

I had to run to catch up with the others.

catch up on +

become up-to-date

I need to catch up on world events. I haven’t seen the news in ages.

check back

return to see if everything is OK

We will check back tomorrow to make sure the project is finished.

check by +

go to a place to see if everything is OK

We need to check by the office to see if the documents are ready.

check for +

try to find

They checked for termites before they bought the house.

check in

enter a hospital, hotel etc.

They need to check in before noon.

check into +

enter a hospital, hotel etc.

They checked into the hotel at 11:00 AM.

check into +

investigate, look for (often through service)

We are checking into discount flights to London.

check * off +

make a mark next to (an item on a list)

Check each name off the list.

check on +

make sure something is OK

Let’s check on the baby again before we go to sleep.

check * out +

investigate, take a look at

He checked out the new restaurant down the street.

check out

leave a hotel, hospital

It’s already eleven. We need to check out.

check out of +

leave a hotel, hospital

We checked out of the hotel before ten.

check * over +

closely examine the condition of something

He checked over the old car to see if it was worth buying.

check up on +

investigate someone or something

The police are checking up on the bomb threats.

check * through

send luggage through (to a destination)

Your luggage will be checked through to Paris.

check with +

ask a person for confirmation

He needs to check with his parents before he goes.

cheer * up

make someone feel cheerful

The party really cheered me up.

cheer up

become cheerful

Cheer up. Everything will be all right.

chew * up +

chew into small pieces

The dog chewed up my shoe.

chop * down +

fell/cut ( a tree)

The lumberjack chopped the tree down.

chop * up +

chop/cut into small bits

He chopped the meat up into little pieces.

clean * up +

tidy

Susan cleaned the mess up before she left.

clear out

leave ( inf.)

Everybody clear out! We’re closed.

clear * up +

tidy

Susan cleared up the mess before she left.

close * down +

close a place permanently

The corner market closed down because they didn’t have many customers.

close down

close permanently

The bar was closed down because they served alcohol to minors.

close in on +

approach and threaten

The rebels were closing in on the capital, so the government called in the army.

close * up +

close temporarily

They are closing the ski resort up for the summer.

close up

close temporarily

The ski resort is closing up for the summer.

come about

occur/happen

How did your idea for the book come about.

come across +

discover by accident

They came across some lost Mayan ruins in the jungle.

come across +

initially seen or have the appearance

He comes across as rather rude, but he isn’t.

come along

accompany someone

If you want, you can come along.

come along with +

accompany

Sam came along with us to the beach.

come along

progress

How’s the research paper coming along.

come along with +

progress

How are you coming along with the research paper.

come away

leave a place with a particular feeling or impression

I came away from the meeting feeling like the presentation was a success.

come back

return

What time are you coming back?

come by +

get, receive

How did you come by that new Mercedes?

come by

visit a person at their house

I’ll come by later this afternoon.

come down with +

become sick with

He came down with the flu.

come into +

inherit

He came into a large sum of money when his aunt died.

come off +

fall off, break off

The handle came off the suitcase when I picked it up.

come out

appear

I didn’t see the car at first. It came out of nowhere.

come out

reveal you are homosexual

Sam finally came out last month.

come out

turn out, end up

The pictures came out great.

come out with +

produce and distribute a product

Microsoft is coming out with a new video game system next month.

come over

visit someone at their house

Why don’t you come over after work for dinner.

come to

regain consciousness

Don’t worry! She faints all the time. She always comes to after a few minutes.

come through

do what is needed or expected

Terry really came through for us in the end.

come up to +

approach; to equal

The job offer didn’t come up to her expectations.

come up with +

produce or create (an idea, a plan)

She came up with a great proposal for the new advertising campaign.

come with +

include (an accessory)

The computer system doesn’t come with a printer.

count * in +

include

Did you count expenses in?

count on +

depend/rely on

You can really count on Sarah.

count * out +

exclude

You can count James out. He hates playing poker.

count * up +

add

Count the change up and see how much we have.

cross * out +

draw a line through something, eliminate

Why did you cross my name out on the list?

cut down

decrease the amount of

You eat too much fat. You need to cut down.

cut down on +

decrease the amount of

You need to cut down on your fat intake.

cut in

interrupt

She suddenly cut in and delivered the news

cut in on +

interrupt

She cut in on the conversation and delivered the news.

cut * off

interrupt someone while they were speaking

She cut him off before he said something he would regret later.

cut * off +

sever ( with a knife)

His finger was accidentally cut off in an industrial accident.

cut * out +

remove

He cut the bone out of the steak.

cut * out

stop an action

Cut it out! You’re bothering me.

cut * up +

cut into small pieces

He cut the beef up and put the pieces in the soup

D

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

die away

diminish in intensity

The applause died away after 5 minutes.

die down

diminish in intensity

The controversy about the president’s affair finally died down.

die off/out

become extinct

Whales are in danger of dying off.

disagree with +

cause to feel sick due to food or drink

Spicy food disagrees with me.

do away with +

abolish

Some Americans want to do away with the death penalty.

do * over +

repeat

You made many mistakes, so I want you to do the report over.

do without +

manage without something one wants or needs

I couldn’t do without a car in California.

draw * up +

create (a contract)

Let’s draw an agreement up before we go any further with this project.

dress * down

reprimand severely

The mother dressed her son down for skipping school.

dress down

dress casually

I am dressing down because we’re going to a barbecue by the beach.

dress * up +

decorate

You could dress this house up with some bright colours

dress up

wear elegant clothes

She always dresses up at work.

drive * back +

repulse

The invaders were driven back by the army.

drop in

visit someone unexpectedly

Meg dropped in yesterday after dinner.

drop in on +

visit someone unexpectedly

Let’s drop in on Julie since we’re driving by her house.

drop out

quit an organized activity

Yuri isn’t on the team any more. He dropped out.

drop out of +

quit an organized activity (school)

It’s difficult to get a good job if you drop out of high school.

drop over

visit someone casually

Drop over any time you feel like talking.

eat away

gradually destroy, erode

The heavy rains ate away at the sandstone cliffs.

eat * up +

devour

Ken ate the cookies up.

eat in

eat inside the home

We usually eat in instead of going out for dinner.

eat out

eat outside the home

They eat out once a week.

F

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

face up to +

acknowledge something difficult or embarrassing

I’ll never be able to face up to my colleagues after getting so drunk last night at the work party.

fall back on +

be able to use in case of emergency

Yuki can fall back on her degree in biology if she doesn’t succeed in her acting career.

fall behind

go slower than scheduled, lag

Hurry up or you will fall behind!

fall behind in +

go slower than scheduled, lag

Cheryl has missed several days of school and now she is falling behind in her homework.

fall off

decrease

Interest in the project fell off when they realized it wouldn’t be profitable.

fall out with +

have an argument with

I had a falling out with my sister last month and we haven’t spoken to each other since.

fall through

fail to happen

Unfortunately, my trip to Indonesia fell through because I couldn’t save enough money.

feel up to +

have the energy to do something

I don’t feel up to going out tonight because I had a long day at work.

figure on +

expect

Where do you figure on living when you move to the U.S.A.?

figure * out +

solve something, Understand

I finally figured the joke out. Now I understand why everybody was laughing.

figure * up +

calculate

I need to figure my expenses up before I give you an estimate.

fill * in +

complete

Don’t forget to fill in all the blanks on the application.

fill in

substitute

Who is going to fill in while you’re gone?

fill in for +

substitute for

Miguel filled in for me at the meeting yesterday because I was sick.

fill * out +

complete (an application)

I filled out an application to rent the apartment last week.

fill out

mature, get breasts

Now that you’re filling out honey, we need to get you a bra.

fill * up +

fill to the top

Fill the car up with unleaded gas, please.

find out +

discover

You will never find out all my secrets!

find out

discover

Vicky’s parents are going to be so mad when they find out she got a tattoo.

fix * up +

repair, renovate, remodel

My neighbours are fixing their house up.

G

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

get* across +

cause to be understood

It’s difficult to get humour across in another language.

get ahead

make progress

I can’t get ahead even though I work two jobs.

get ahead of +

surpass

You need to work overtime in order to get ahead of schedule.

get along

have a good relationship

Do you and your sister get along?

get along with +

have a good relationship

Giovanna doesn’t get along with her two brothers.

get around +

avoid someone or something

Some people get around paying taxes by hiring a good accountant.

get around

go many places

It’s easy to get around town with public transportation.

get away

escape

The bank robbers got away.

get away with +

do something against the rules or illegal and not get caught or punished

My sister gets away with everything!

get by

survive without having the things you need or want

I lost my job, so I am having a hard time getting by this year.

get by on +

survive with minimal resources

It’s nearly impossible to get by on making minimum wage.

get by with +

manage with

You don’t need a computer. You can get by with the typewriter.

get down to +

get serious about a topic

Enough small talk. Let’s get down to business.

get in +

enter (a car, a small boat)

Get in the front seat. You will have more leg room.

get in

enter

Get in. I will give you a ride to school

get * off +

send (a package)

I finally got my sister’s birthday present off yesterday.

get * off

remove ( a spider from your shirt)

Can you get this spider off my shirt?

get off +

leave (a bus, plane, train, boat)

We need to get off the bus at the next stop.

get off`

leave

It’s dangerous to sit on the roof. Get off!

get off

idiomatic phrase - How does he justify saying that?!

Where does he get off saying that?!

get * on

put on (clothes)

You should get your jacket on because it’s going to be cold.

get on

enter (a bus, train), mount (a horse, a bike)

The train is leaving. Quick, get on!

get on +

enter (a bus, train), mount (a horse, a bike)

Get on my bike and I will give you a ride home.

get on

have a good relationship

Natasha doesn’t get on with her co-workers.

get on with +

have a good relationship

Do you get on with your neighbours?

get on with +

continue an activity

Now that the police have left, let’s get on with the party!

get out of +

exit (a small boat, car, an enclosed area)

I fell into the water when I tried to get out of the canoe.

get over +

recover (a cold, a disease, an ex-boyfriend/ex-girlfriend)

Jennifer still hasn’t gotten over her breakup with Peter.

get through +

complete

We will never get through all of these boxes by 9:00 PM.

get through +

penetrate

We need a stronger drill to get through this wall.

get through

penetrate

The door was jammed, so we couldn’t get through.

get through

finish

Have you gotten through with (with) + your homework yet?

get through to +

make contact

It’s hard to get through to Janet because her telephone line is always busy.

get * up

cause someone to rise (from a sitting position or a lying position)

Ahmed got Abdul up at 5:30 in the morning by turning the music up really loud.

get up

rise (from sitting position or a bed)

What time did you get up this morning?

give * away +

give something without asking for anything in Exchange

Why did Nancy give all of her furniture away?

give * away +

betray (a secret)

We are having a surprise party for Susan next Saturday, so don’t give our surprise away by acting suspicious.

give * back +

return something you borrowed

When are you going to give that book back to your teacher?

give in

stop trying

Never give in! You can do it!

give off +

release (a smell, light

That white flower gives off a beautiful smell.

give * out +

distribute

I earn extra money by giving out brochures on the street.

give out

become very tired (inf.)

I hope this car doesn’t give out in the middle of the desert.

give * up +

surrender something

The police told the thief to give his gun up.

give up

surrender

Never give up learning English!

go away

leave

I yelled at the dogs to make them go away.

go back

return

When are you going back to your house?

go by +

go past, go close to, visit quickly

We go by the coffee shop everyday.

go back on +

not keep (one’s word, a promise)

Don’t trust him. He always goes back on his promises.

go down

decrease

The cost of flight tickets is going down.

go for +

try to achieve

Our team is going for the gold medal in the Olympics.

go for

idiomatic phrase - I am craving pepperoni pizza.

I could go for pepperoni pizza.

go in for +

participate ( inf.)

Are you going to go in for soccer this year at school?

go into +

discuss in detail

I really don’t want to go into that now.

go off

explode

The bomb could go off at any moment.

go off

begin, start (used with signals, alarms, warning sounds)

The alarm clock went off at 6:00 AM.

go off

stop (said of a machine)

The DVD player goes off automatically if you are not using it.

go off

become angry

Maria went off last night after I told her about losing her bike.

go on

continue

Please, go on. Don’t let me interrupt you.

go on

happen

This place is a mess! What went on here last night?

go on with +

continue ( a plan, a conversation)

I think we should go on with the meeting and stop wasting time.

go out

stop burning (a fire)

The fire went out after three days.

go out

take part in social activities (usually at night)

They love to go out every Saturday night.

go over +

review

Do you usually go over your notes before class?

go over

be well received, succeed

That didn’t go over well.

go through +

examine in detail, study carefully

I need to have my lawyer go through this contract before I sign it.

go through +

endure; experience challenges, difficulties or Traumas

She has gone through so much in her life.

go through with +

continue or proceed despite difficulties or fears

I have decided to go through with the operation.

go with +

match (clothing)

That shirt doesn’t go with those pants.

go with +

accompany a person

I am going with Alejandro to the party.

go with +

have a boyfriend/girlfriend

I am going with Yuri.

go without +

abstain from something you want or need

A person can go without water for three days.

go under

go out of business

The restaurant went under after it lost its liquor license.

grow up

mature

Your brother needs to grow up and start thinking about his future.

H

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

hand * back +

return

Is the teacher going to hand back our tests today?

hand * down +

pronounce formally

The president is going to hand his decision down on health care tonight.

hand * down +

give as an inheritance

When my clothes got too small for me as a child, I handed them down to my sister.

hand * in +

submit

I have to hand in an offer by March 12.

hand * out +

distribute

We should hand the concert fliers out at school.

hand * over +

relinquish control of

Hand your car keys over. You’re too drunk to drive.

hang around +

stay in a place for fun (inf.)

Maria and Salvador usually hang around the beach after school.

hang around

stay in a place for fun

Those guys just hang around all day.

hang * up +

suspend (clothes on a hanger)

You can hang your jacket up in the front closet.

hang up 

put down the telephone receiver

Don’t hang up. I’m going to change phones.

hang out +

stay in a place for fun (inf.)

Let’s go hang out at the mall tonight.

hang out

stay in a place for fun

What are you doing? - - I’m just hanging out.

have * on +

wear

Do you have your hiking boots on?

have * over

invite guests to your home

Why don’t we have Mr. and Mrs. Jones over for dinner tonight.

hear from +

receive news from (a letter, an e-mail)

Have you heard from Steve lately?

hear of +

know about something or somebody

know about something or somebody

hit on +

find on accident

I hit on the idea while watching the Simpsons show.

hit on +

flirt with

Jay’s friend Marc was trying to hit on my sister last night.

hold * back +

restrain

The police held the demonstrators back while the politicians entered the building.

hold back

not allow to advance in school

The teacher held Frank back a year, so he couldn’t enter fifth grade.

hold * off +

restrain

Mr. Johnson held the dog off while we crossed the yard.

hold off on +

delay

We should hold off on making dinner until your parents arrive.

hold on

grasp tightly 

Hold on tight! The roller coaster is about to take off.

hold on

tell someone to wait on the telephone

Hold on a minute. I’ll get Carol.

hold on to +

grasp tightly

Make sure you hold on to the hand rail as you walk down the stairs.

hold out

not give in, continue to resist

Stop holding out and tell us where you found all of these old records.

hold out against +

not give in, resist

They held out against enemy attack.

hold * up +

delay (a flight, traffic);

The accident held traffic up for an hour.

hold * up +

rob (a bank, a person) with a weapon

Five men held the bank up yesterday.

I

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

iron * out

eliminate

We need to have a meeting this week in order to iron out the distribution problems.

J

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

jack up +

to raise

We need to jack up the car before we change the tire.

joke around

to be humorous

Mike is always joking around at work.

jump in

enter a conversation

Feel free to jump in at any moment while we are talking.

jump to +

make a quick, poorly thought out decision

You shouldn’t jump to conclusions.

K

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

keep * around

have handy, have accessible

I always keep a dictionary around to translate new words.

keep at +

not give up (an activity), to persevere

You should keep at your studies.

keep * away

prevent access to, hold back

Keep the kids away from the cookies.

keep * back

maintain a safe distance, cause to maintain a safe distance

Keep back! The burning building is about to collapse.

keep * down

not vomit, not throw up, keep in one’s stomach

If I ate that, I don’t know if I could keep it down.

keep * in

keep in a particular place, have something in a specific location

When I am not using it, I keep my passport in this drawer.

keep * off

prevent from stepping or climbing on to something

Keep the cat off the couch.

keep on

continue

He kept on talking after everybody asked him to stop.

keep * out

prevent from entering

Keep the dog out of the garden; he keeps digging up the flowers.

keep * over

cover something with, put something above

I keep a tarp over my bicycle at night to prevent it from getting wet.

keep to +

continue, persist in (an activity)

Everybody said she would never finish the puzzle, but she kept to it until it was done.

keep up

stay on the required schedule

You have to keep up if you want to work here.

keep * up +

continue

You are doing a great job! Keep it up.

keep up with +

stay on schedule with (a person, the workload, homework)

I have so much reading that I can’t keep up with the writing exercises.

L

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

lay  away +

save for the future

Why don’t you lay away your wedding outfit?

lay down +

establish (laws, rules)

Lori lays down the law in her class. English only!

lay in on +

scold or criticize severely

My mom really laid in on me when I got home at 4:00 in the morning last night.

lay into +

scold or criticize severely

I saw Reto’s mom lay into him when he came home late last night

lay * off +

suspend someone from a job (during a slow period)

The company was losing money, so they had to lay off 100 workers.

lay * out +

arrange

Why don’t we lay the pieces of the table out before we put it together.

leave * out +

not include, omit

Why did your parents leave you out of their vacation plans?

let * down

disappoint

I felt let down when I didn’t receive a birthday card from my sister.

let * down

lengthen (pants in sewing)

My uncle is a tailor, so he can let your pants down.

let * out

release 

I am happy my brother was let out of prison early.

let * out

make bigger (in sewing)

I need to let out this skirt because I have gained weight.

let up

weaken in intensity

I told her NO a thousand times, but she won’t let up.

lie down

rest, recline

I need to lie down before we go out tonight.

lie down on +

rest, recline (on a couch, bed)

I’m going to lie down on the sofa for a while.

lie with +

be decided by

Whether or not you can go to the party lies with your father.

light * up +

illuminate

Let’s get some candles to light this room up.

light up +

to smoke

Do you have to light up another cigarette? I thought you were trying to cut down.

live * down +

live in a way that a shameful or embarrassing event is forgotten

Jose will never live down singing that song at the karaoke bar.

live on +

survive from

I could live on bread and cheese.

live up to +

keep a standard 

It would be hard to live up to her parent’s expectations. They are so demanding.

look after +

take care of (a child, a house, a pet)

When my sister goes on vacation, I look after her dog.

look back on +

to remember nostalgically

When I look back on my childhood, I often feel angry.

look down on +

see as inferior

She’s so conceited. She looks down on everybody else.

look for +

to seek or search for

I’m looking for my keys. Have you seen them?

look forward to +

anticipate with pleasure

I am looking forward to traveling to New York next year.

look into +

investigate

The police are looking into the murder.

look on

observe as a spectator

Everybody just looked on as the two men fought.

look out

be careful, pay attention, heed a certain danger

Look out, there’s a black widow spider on the wall.

look * over +

examine, review

When I’m camping, I look my shoes over before I put them on.

look * up +

search for (in a dictionary)

It takes time to look up new vocabulary words.

look * up +

locate and visit

If you ever travel to California, you should look me up.

look up to +

respect, admire someone

He looks up to his father.

M

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

make * out

decipher

I can’t make out your handwriting. What does this say?

make * out +

write a cheque or other document

Who should I make this cheque out to?

make out

succeed

He really made out in the stock market last year.

make out

progress

How is your son making out in his new job?

make out

kiss passionately

I saw Benno and Isabelle making out in the movie theater last night!

make out with +

kiss someone passionately

Did you make out with Sally?

make * over

do again

The teacher made me do my homework over.

make * up +

invent ( a story)

Don’t believe anything she says. She always makes things up.

make * up +

complete what was missed

Fortunately, my professor let me make up the exam I missed yesterday.

make * up +

put on cosmetics

I takes me 10 minutes to make my face up.

make up

reconcile

You two have been friends for so long that I think you should make up.

make up for +

compensate for

Allen made up for being late by getting me flowers.

mix * up +

confuse

I sometimes mix the verb tenses up.

mix * up +

blend

We need to mix up these different kinds of nuts before we put them in a bowl.

mix * up +

make lively (a party)

Let’s mix up this party with a little disco music.

N

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

name * after +

name a child using another family member’s name

I was named after my grandfather.

nod off

fall asleep

The movie was so boring that I nodded off before it was finished.

nose around +

sneak around

I hate it when my mother noses around my room.

O

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

occur to +

pop into one’s mind, come to one’s mind

It didn’t occur to us that we had left the iron on.

open up

share feelings

I’m glad that John feels comfortable enough around me to open up.

out to + verb

try to

She is out to get revenge now that her husband left her for another woman.

P

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

pan out

be successful, turn out well

The trip to Vegas didn’t pan out.

pass away

die

After battling cancer for several years, he finally passed away at the age of 87.

pass * off +

try to convince someone that something is real

He tried to pass the fake watch off as a real Rolex.

pass * on +

transmit

Please pass this message on to your co-workers.

pass on +

not accept (an invitation to eat or do something)

Jennifer passed on the invitation to join us for dinner.

pass on

die

I am afraid Professor Johnson has passed on.

pass * out +

distribute

We need to pass out these flyers for the concert tomorrow.

pass out

become unconscious

He passed out because the room was too hot.

pass * up +

not take advantage (of an opportunity)

I can’t believe she passed up the opportunity to study in Rome.

pay * back +

repay

If I loan you money, will you pay me back.

pay * off +

complete payment on a debt

It took me ten years to pay off my credit card debt.

pay * off +

to bribe

Don’t try to pay the police officer off if you get pulled over for speeding.

pick on +

to tease, bully

She keeps picking on me! Make her stop.

pick * out +

choose

Diane picked out a lovely dress for the dance.

pick * up +

to lift an object with the hands

Keep your back straight when you lift the TV up.

pick * up +

come and get someone in a car

What time are you going to pick me up. 

pick * up +

learn something without effort

It’s possible to pick up enough English in two weeks to get by on your trip to Los Angeles.

pick * up +

try to initiate a relationship with someone (often in a bar)

Some weird guy tried to pick Patricia up at the bar.

pick up

grow, increase (inf.)

Business is really picking up this quarter.

play * down +

make less important (inf.)

The President played down his affair with the intern.

play * up

highlight something (inf.)

She played up her part in the new movie, but it was actually a very small role.

play up to +

flatter someone for your personal advantage

She has been playing up to the boss because she wants a promotion.

point * out +

` indicate

I’d like to point out that figures in column two might be outdated.

pull down

earn

He pulls down about $300,000 a year.

pull in

park (a vehicle)

Mark pulled in too quickly and crashed into the wall.

pull out

depart (a vehicle)

Our train pulls out at 8:00, so don’t be late.

pull through

barely survive

I didn’t think she was going to make it, but she pulled through in the end.

put * across +

communicate (an idea or suggestion) clearly so that it is understood

I thought Ms. Smith put her ideas across rather clearly in the meeting.

put * away +

return to the proper place of storage

I told you kids to put your toys away.

put * down +

insult, say bad things about

She always puts down people who don’t share her opinions.

put in +

officially submit a request (in the armed forces or public services)

He put in for a transfer to the division in Los Angeles.

put * off +

postpone

Don’t put off your work - do it now!

put * on +

wear

Make sure you put on a sweater before you go outside.

put * on +

deceive

I didn’t believe a thing he said. I think he was putting me on.

put * out +

extinguish (a fire)

Don’t use water to put out a grease fire.

put * out +

inconvenience someone

I don’t want to put you out, but could you pick me up at the airport.

put out +

spend (usually used with unreasonably large sums of money)

I can’t put out that much money each month.

put * up

have a guest stay in your house for a short time

Can you put me up while I’m in town.

put up with +

tolerate

Sandy will not put up with smoking in her house.

Q

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

quiet * down +

be quiet, or cause to be quiet

The neighbors told us to quiet down last night or they would call the police.

R

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

read up on +

research a topic for a reason

I need to read up on the company before I go on the job interview.

ring * up

telephone

Jack rung me up last night at 3:00 in the morning.

rule * out +

eliminate

I wouldn’t rule out the possibility of moving to another country if I get a good job offer.

run across +

find or meet unexpectedly

I ran across some old photos while I was cleaning my house.

run against +

compete in an election

Gore ran against Bush in the 2000 elections in the U.S.A.

run away

leave home permanently before you are a legal adult

The child ran away because her parents beat her.

run away from +

escape from

The child ran away from its parents.

run * down

trace

Have you run down those phone numbers I asked for last week?

run * down

criticize

My boss runs everyone down.

run * down

hit with a car

My dog was run down by a bus.

run down

campaign for a government position

Gore is running for president of the U.S.A.

run into +

meet unexpectedly

I ran into my English teacher at the movies last night. She’s so nice!

run * off +

make leave

The new government is trying to run the drug traffickers off.

run * off

reproduce (photocopies)

Would you mind running off 10 copies of this document for me?

run off

leave quickly

Why did you run off after the party?

run off

waste water

You shouldn’t swim where the sewage runs off into the ocean.

run out of +

not have any more of something

We ran out of milk this morning, so we need to go to the store.

S

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

save * up +

accumulate (money)

I hope I will be able to save up enough money to go to school.

see about +

arrange or consider something

My dad said he was going to see about buying me a car.

see * off 

say good-bye to someone at the beginning of their trip (at the airport, train station)

Did you see your sister off at the train station?

see to +

make sure something happens, arrange

I’ll see to it that Mr. Ramirez gets your message.

see * through

finish something despite difficulties

Are you going to be able to see your studies through now that you have a baby?

sell * out

tell on someone

My partner in crime sold me out for a reduced jail sentence.

set * up 

arrange a relationship

My mom set me up with her friend’s son.

set * up

falsely incriminate a person

I don’t think he killed those men. Somebody set him up.

set up +

arrange (an appointment, a meeting, etc.)

I set up an appointment with my doctor at 3:30 this afternoon.

settle on + period of time

make a decision after a

I settled on the job at the oil company.

settle up

pay one’s debts

We need to settle up before you move.

show * off +

show to everybody with a lot of pride

He always shows off his new things.

show off

boast, draw attention to oneself

Young boys show off in order to impress girls.

show * up

make someone seem inferior

He’s always trying to show up his co-workers in order to get ahead.

show up

arrive without previous notice

I hadn’t seen my cousin for years, and all of a sudden, he showed up at my workplace yesterday!

shut * off

stop from functioning

If you don’t pay your electric bill, your power is going to get shut off.

shut * up

make quiet

Would someone shut him up! He’s talking so loudly that we’re going to get in trouble.

slow * down +

make move more slowly

Because Mary’s level in English is lower than the rest of the students, she slows the class down.

slow * up +

make move more slowly

Because Mary’s level in English is lower than the rest of the students, she slows the class up.

spell * out +

to explain something in a detailed way so that the meaning is clearly understood

He’s so stupid that you have to spell everything out for him.

stand by

wait 

I need you to stand by and answer the phone when my broker calls.

stand for +

represent

SCUBA stands for “self contained underwater breathing apparatus.”

stand for +

tolerate

I won’t stand for people criticizing me.

stand out

be very noticeable

Soledad is so beautiful! She really stands out in a crowd.

stand * up

not arrive to a date or an appointment (inf.)

I arranged to meet Joe at the library at 8:00, but he stood me up. I hope he has a good excuse.

stand up for +

defend (something one believes in)

Every individual must stand up for what they believe in.

stand up to +

defend oneself against someone or something

I think you should stand up to your older brother and tell him to stop pushing you around.

stay over

spend the night at a person’s house

It takes you so long to take the bus home, so why don’t you just stay over?

stick it to +

severely criticize a person (inf.)

My boss really stuck it to me when I arrived late to work for the third time this week.

stick to +

persevere, keep trying

Even though English is a hard language to master, you must stick to it!

stick up for +

defend oneself or opinions

Joseph joined the army because he believes he must stick up for his country.

T

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

take after +

resemble a parent or relative

I take after my father. Who do you take after?

take * away +

remove, seize or capture

The soldiers took the captives away.

take * back +

retract something you said

I demand that you take back what you said.

take * back +

return an item to a store

The dress my grandmother bought for me didn’t fit, so I took it back and exchanged it for a pair of pants.

take * down +

write down what is said

Would you mind taking down my messages while I am on vacation?

take * down +

remove (from a high place

The city government made the shop take down their bright, neon sign.

take * for

consider, view as

Do you take me for an idiot?

take * in +

learning

Are you taking in all of these phrasal verbs?

take * in +

deceive a person

He was taken in by the con artist.

take * in +

make smaller when sewing

I lost weight, so I need to take some of my skirts to the tailor to have them taken in.

take * off

when a plane or rocket leaves the ground

My stomach felt funny when the plane took off.

take * off +

remove

In many cultures, it is appropriate to take off your shoes when entering a house.

take * off +

leave work or school for a period of time

I was sick last week, so I took a few days off of work.

take off

leave

We took off after dinner.

take on +

accept (responsibilities, work)

She has taken on too much responsibility in this project.

take * over +

take control of

Who is going to take over the family business when Aretha’s father dies?

take over

take control of

If the President is assassinated, the Vice-president will take over.

take * out +

accompany a person on a date (for dinner, the movies)

I can’t meet you tonight because I am taking Fernanda out to dinner.

take * up +

begin a new hobby

Have you taken up any new hobbies since you moved here?

take * up +

discuss (at a later date)

We should take this issue up in the meeting tomorrow.

take * up +

shorten a garment when sewing

This dress is too long, I am going to take it up.

take up +

occupy space

This couch takes up too much space in the living room.

talk back

respond in an impolite way to an adult

Don’t talk back!

talk back to +

respond in an impolite way to an adult

Children should not talk back to their parents.

talk * over +

discuss

I hope my parents talk their relationship problems over before they get divorced.

tear * down +

destroy

The county decided to tear down the dilapidated school and build a new one.

tear * up +

tear or rip into small pieces

I always tear up my personal papers before I throw them out.

tell * off +

criticize a person severely, reprimand (inf.)

Carolina told me off when she found out I was gossiping about her date with Martin.

tell on +

report a crime to the police or bad behavior to a parent

Every time I did something wrong when I was a child, my sister would tell on me.

think * over +

consider

Think over the offer before you sign the contract.

think * through +

consider carefully

You need to think this through carefully before you make a decision.

think * up +

create or invent a false story

I need to think up an excuse for not going to her party.

throw * away +

discard

Don’t throw away those bottles; we can recycle them.

throw * out +

discard

I asked him not to throw out the Sunday newspaper because I wanted to save an article.

throw * out +

remove by force from (a room, school, a house, rent.

Mary threw out her roommate because she stopped paying etc.)

throw up

vomit

If you drink too much alcohol, you might throw up.

tie * up +

tie securely

When we dock, make sure you tie the boat up.

tire * out

cause someone to be very tired

Speaking English all day tires me out.

touch on +

talk about for a short time

The presidential candidates touched on the subject of health care during the debates.

touch * up

make the final improvements

We didn’t paint the whole kitchen, we just touched up the cabinets.

try * on +

put on to make sure a piece of clothing fits

Try on the pants before you buy them.

try * out

test

Try out this massage chair - it feels great!

turn * away

refuse to deal with or give service

They turned us away at the border because we didn’t have visas.

turn * around

change or reverse direction

Turn the car around and go back home.

turn * down +

refuse an offer; reject an application

She turned down the new job in New York, because she didn’t want to move.

turn * down +

lower the volume or intensity of a TV, radio, or other machine

I’m studying! Please turn down the TV.

turn * in

submit

You need to turn your essays in next week.

turn in

go to bed (inf.)

It’s getting late. I think it is about time to turn in.

turn into + 

become something different, transform

When she kissed the frog, it turned into a handsome prince.

turn * off +

stop the function of (a stove, a water faucet, a car, etc.)

Don’t forget to turn off the iron before you leave the house.

turn on +

attack unexpectedly

The pit bull suddenly turned on the small child.

turn * on

cause to be excited sexually

Scientists have discovered that the smell of cinnamon turns many people on.

turn * on +

start the function of a TV, a radio, a machine

Turn on the TV. The baseball game starts in a few minutes.

turn * out

produce 

The weavers can turn out two or three rugs a month.

turn * out

switch off a light

Turn out the light before you go to bed.

turn out

audience members to a function

Over 100,000 people turned out for the concert.

turn out

end up being

She turned out to be the murderer after all.

turn * over

give to authorities (said of evidence or stolen / lost property)

They turned the wallet over to the police.

turn * up +

increase the volume or intensity of a TV, radio, or other machine

Turn up the TV. I can’t hear what they’re saying.

turn up

find unexpectedly

My keys turned up in the bedroom.

U

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

use * up

use all of something

I used up all of the soap, so we need to buy some more.

V

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

veer away from +

stay away from, avoid

I veer away from the same old summer blockbuster films.

W

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

wait on +

serve, service (a table)

Each waitress waits on three different tables in the restaurant.

wait up

not sleep because you are waiting for something or someone

Don’t wait up.

wait up for +

not sleep because you are waiting for someone or Something

Let’s wait up for Mary to see how her date went.

wake * up +

awaken someone

The car alarm woke me up at 6:00 in the morning.

wake up

awaken

Wake up. It’s time to get ready for work.

wash up

clean oneself

Make sure you wash up before dinner.

wash * up +

clean

If we work together, we can wash the kitchen up in a few minutes.

watch out

be careful

Watch out - there’s a rattlesnake!

watch out for +

be careful of

Watch out for snakes while you are hiking in the desert.

wear off

disappear after a period of time

The affects of the medicine will wear off after a few hours.

wear * out

use until something is not useable anymore

If you wear the same shoes everyday, you’ll wear them out.

wear * out

cause to be very tired

Her three kids wore me out.

wind up +

finish (inf.)

If he doesn’t get his act together, he is going to wind up in jail.

wind * up +

tighten the spring of a watch or similar machine

He wound up the toy dog and set it on the floor.

wind * up +

cause an animal or a child to behave wildly

The kids always get wound up when Uncle Henry comes over.

wipe * out +

massacre or destroy

The tidal wave wiped out the small fishing village.

wipe * out 

cause to be very tired

After surfing all day, I was completely wiped out.

work * out +

solve

I hope you two can work out your problems.

work out

exercise

I work out three times a week at the fitness center.

work out

be successful

I am glad your new catering business is working out.

write * down +

record

Write down the directions so you don’t forget them.

write * out +

write down every word or letter

He wrote out the lyrics so I could understand what the singer was saying.

write * up +

prepare a report

He wrote up a business proposal in order to get a loan.

Z

Phrasal Verb

Definition

Example

zero in on +

discover, pinpoint

I think I have zeroed in on what has been causing the problem.

zip around +

move quickly from place to place

I zipped around town after work today.

zone out

stop paying attention

He zoned out during class.

zonk out

fall asleep

Jill was so exhausted after taking the TOEFL test that she zonked out before dinner.

zoom in

focus

You need a telephoto lens to zoom in.

zoom in on +

focus on something, pinpoint

She zoomed in on his face while taking the picture.