The Phrasal verbs are certain verbs which are followed by certain prepositions or Adverbs, which give a new significance to them. For instance ;

  • She backed up my claims.
  • She backed out the contract.

In the first sentence the meaning of phrasal verb is supported. While in the second sentence, the meaning of ‘backed out of’ means withdrew from.
Hence, by adding prepositions or Adverbs to the verbs, different meanings are achieved. Phrasal verbs are a significant part of English language. They are primarily used in spoken and informal text. In formal and academic writing, phrasal verbs are better avoided.

Transitive Phrasal Verbs:

In transitive phrasal verb, there is always an object. These phrasal verbs have three words. For example;

My sister dropped out of school before she could graduate.

Intransitive Phrasal Verbs:

In the intransitive phrasal verb, there is no object in the sentence. These phrasal verbs are not followed by an object. For example;

Once you leave prison, you can always go back again.

Phrasal Verb It’s Meaning An Example
ask around ask multiple people the same question I asked around but nobody has seen my car.
add up to xyz equals to xyz Your purchases add up to $3200.
back abc up to support My mother backed me up over my decision to quit my job.
blow xyz up add air We have to blow 90 balloons up for the party.
break down stop functioning (vehicle, machine) Our car broke down at the side of the freeway in the snowstorm.
call someone back return a phone call I called the company back but the offices were closed for the holiday.
call xyz off cancel Jack called the wedding off because he wasn’t in love with his fiancé.
calm down relax after being angry You are still mad. You need to calm down before you drive the truck.
cut xyz off stop providing The company cut off our phone because we didn’t pay the bill.
cut someone off take out of a will My grandparents cut my mother off when she remarried.
drop back move back in a position/group Andrew dropped back to third place when he fell off his bike.
drop in/by/over come without an appointment I might drop in/by/over for coffee sometime this week.
drop out quit a class, school etc I dropped out of Arts because it was too difficult.
eat out eat at a restaurant I don’t feel like cooking dinner. Let’s eat out.
end up eventually reach/do/decide We ended up renting a film instead of going to the theatre.
fall apart break into pieces My new dress fell apart in the washing machine today.
fall down fall to the ground The picture that you hung up last night fell down today.
fall out separate from an interior The money must have fallen out of her pocket.
find xyz out discover We tried to keep the time of the party a secret, but Sam found it out.
get xyz across/over communicate, make understandable I tried to get my point across/over to the judge but he wouldn’t listen.
get around have mobility My grandmother can get around fine in her new wheelchair.
get away go on a vacation We worked so hard this month that we had to get away for a week.
get away with xyz do without being noticed or punished Jack always gets away with cheating in his maths tests.
get back return We got back from our vacation last weekend.
get xyz back receive xyz you had before Sara finally got her Science notes back from my room-mate.
get together meet (usually for social reasons) Let’s get together for a movie this weekend.
get up stand You should get up and give the elderly woman your seat.
give someone away reveal hidden information about someone His boss gave him away to the police.
give someone away take the bride to the altar My father gave me away at my wedding.
give xyz away ruin a secret My little brother gave the surprise party away by accident.
give xyz away give xyz to someone for free The library was giving away old books on Thursday.
go after someone follow someone My sister tried to go after the thief in her car.
go after xyz try to achieve xyz I went after my dream and now I am a published writer and scholar.
go against someone compete, oppose We are going against the best soccer team in the league tonight.
grow apart stop being friends over time My best friend and I grew apart after he changed schools.
hand xyz down give xyz used to someone else I handed my old comic books down to my little cousin sister.
hang in stay positive (N.Amer., informal) Hang in there. I’m sure you’ll find a vacancy very soon.
hold someone/xyz back prevent from doing/going I had to hold my dog back because there was a dog in the park.
hold someone/xyzup rob A man in a black mask held the bank up this evening.
keep on doing xyz continue doing Keep on stirring until the syrup comes to a boil.
let someone down fail to support or help, disappoint I need you to finish the project. Don’t let me down this time.
let someone in allow to enter Can you let the dog in before you go to work?
look after someone/xyz take care of I have to look after my sick grandfather.
look down on someone think less of, consider inferior Ever since we stole that car your dad has looked down on me.
look for someone/xyz try to find I’m looking for a white dress for the wedding.
look xyz up search and find information in a reference book or database We can look her phone number up in the directory.
look up to someone have a lot of respect for My little brother has always looked up to me.
mix xyz up confuse two or more things I mixed up the twins’ names yet again!
pass away die His uncle passed away last evening after a long illness.
put xyz down put what you are holding on a surface or floor You can put the groceries down on the counter.
put someone down insult, make someone feel stupid The students put the substitute teacher down because her skirt were too short.
put up with someone/xyz tolerate I don’t think I can put up with three young children in the car.
put xyz on put clothing/accessories on your body Don’t forget to put on your new stockings for the party.
run into someone/xyz meet unexpectedly I ran into an old friend at the new mall.
run over someone/xyz drive a vehicle over a person or thing I accidentally ran over your bike in the driveway.
run out have none left We ran out of detergent so I had to wash my clothes with soap.
set someone up trick, trap The police set up the car thief by using a bait.
shop around compare prices I want to shop around a little before I decide on these pants.
stick to xyz continue doing xyz, limit yourself to one particular thing You will lose weight if you stick to the diet regime.
switch xyz off stop the energy flow, turn off This light’s too bright. Could you switch it off.
take xyz back return an item I have to take our new Dishwasher back because it doesn’t work.
take off start to fly My plane takes off in five hours and two minutes.
tear xyz up rip into pieces I tore up my husband’s letters and gave them back to him.
throw xyz away dispose of We threw our old computer away when we won the lottery.
try xyz on sample clothing I’m going to try these pants on, but I don’t think they will fit.
try xyz out test I am going to try this new brand of soap out.
use xyz up finish the supply The kids used all of the flour up so we need to buy some more.
wake up stop sleeping We have to wake up early for work on Sunday.
wear off fade away Most of her make-up wore off before she got to the party.
work out be successful Their plan worked out fine.

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