Common Phrasal Verbs


Phrasal Verbs Explanation Examples
apply for ask for, demand (job / grant / license) To apply for the job, you need to write an application letter.
break down cease to work correctly (physical / mental) My computer broke down yesterday.
break into enter by force Some burglars broke into the bank last night.
bring about cause to happen Laziness brings about failure.
calm down relax Try to calm down before the interview.
carry on continue You should carry on with your project.
check on look at, inspect He sent someone to check on the children.
come in enter The door is open; come in!
come back return They will have come back from Fes by this afternoon.
come across meet by chance I came across an old photo of mine.
cut down reduce You'd better cut down on your fat intake.
eat out eat outside the house (at a restaurant) On Sundays, they always eat out.
fall for fall in love She falls for him.
fill in complete (a form) You have to fill in the form before e-mailing it.
find out discover Nobody has found out who changed my password yet.
give in surrender, stop trying She shouldn't give in now that she has almost achieved success.
give up stop / surrender He must give up smoking before it is too late.
go on continue When you finish this exercise go on to the next.
go through experience / endure I went through hard times when I was abroad.
grow up become older / mature Girls grow up faster than boys.
hand in give back (papers) When I had finished the test, I handed in my paper and left.
hand out distribute The teacher handed out the test sheets at 8:00 sharp
jot down write down (ideas) He advised us to jot down ideas before writing.
keep up with cope with It is hard to keep up with the rapid change of technology.
let down disappoint Be sure that your parents will never let you down.
lie down relax, rest It is normal to lie down after hard work.
look after take care of Leila is looking after her grand mother pretty well.
look at examine The doctors are looking at the patient right now.
look down on despise, see as inferior Don't look down on anyone, they may be better than you are.
look for search I looked for my keys in the drawer but they weren't there.
look foward to long for I'm looking forward to hearing from you soon.
look into examine, investigate They are looking into the matter.
look out be careful, pay attention Look out! our dog has got 42 teeth.
look up search in a dictionary/list/phonebook I was looking up your phone number when you phoned me.
make up invent (pretext/story) Don't believe her; she likes to make up stories.
pass away die My mother passed away in February 2003.
pick up collect Children can pick up foreign languages easier than adults.
put on wear She put her jacket on and went out hurriedly.
put off postpone I was informed that the meeting was put off until next week.
put up accomodate They needn't book a room at the hotel; we can put them up.
put up with tolerate She can't put up with those nosy children.
run into meet by chance Our project may run into financial problems sooner or later.
set off depart He didn't wait to st off for France when he got a visa.
stand by wait Please, stand by we are checking your password.
stand for represent U.N. stands for United Nations.
set up build, establish They are trying to set up their own business.
take after resemble She greatly takes after her aunt.
take care of look after They took care of the children when we were out.
take off leave the ground (plane) When your plane landed, ours took off.
take off # put on (clothes) Due to the hot weather, all the boys took off their jackets.
take up begin a new (a hobby / lessons) My grandmother takes up Karate.
tell off criticize severely He told his sister off as he knew she meddled with his affairs.
turn down refuse, reject She was turned down because of age.
turn off stop the function of (TV, Radio) Don't forget to turn off the TV before you go to bed.
write down record The students wrote down all the teacher's instructions.


N.B. Some phrasal verbs are separable but others are not. The separable phrasal verbs allow the direct object / Object pronoun to come between the verb and its particle. It gets a bit difficult when the phrasal verb is at the same time separable and non-separable depending on its meaning and context, such as the phrasal verb "take off" for instance.(see below)


Non-Separable Phrasal Verbs

Separable Phrasal Verbs

Separable / Non-Separable Phrasal Verbs