Phrasal verbs are part of the language that is natural, informal, and interesting (we can’t always guess their meaning!) and a sure way to make our conversation more native-like. They might seem intimidating at first but we use many of them already without thinking about it, like ’wake up’, ’give up’, ’turn on/off’, ’run away’ and ’work out’. So, let’s dive into (start with enthusiasm) the most common ones!
1. Break down = (of a vehicle/machine) to stop working
My car broke down so I had to take a taxi.
2. Bring up = to raise a child
She was brought up in the countryside.
3. Bump into = to meet by chance
You’ll never guess who I bumped into this morning!
4. Call on = to visit
I’ll call on you this afternoon after work.
5. Call off = to cancel
If it rains tomorrow, we’ll have to call the game off.
6. Come down with = to be ill
I hope he isn’t coming down with the flu!
7. Cut it out = to stop doing something
Hey, cut it out! I can’t sleep with all that noise.
8. Drop by / in = to visit briefly
I’ll just drop by later to tell you the news.
9. Drop off = to take someone somewhere (esp. by car)
When I drop off the kids at school I’ll go shopping.
10. End up = to have a final result, often unexpected
I wanted to go to the park but ended up in a coffee shop instead.
11. Get along with = to be friendly
My cats and dogs get along with each other surprisingly well.
12. Get back to = to return with the answer/request later
I’ll get back to you once I check that information.
13. Get over = to overcome
I know it’s hard for him now but he’ll get over it.
14. Hang out = to spend a lot of time in a particular place / with someone
He likes to hang out with his playmates after school.
15. Hold on = to wait for a moment
Hold on; I’ll connect you with Mr. Johnson.
16. Look up = to find some information
I didn’t know the word so I looked it up in the dictionary.
17. Look after = to take care of someone
I need to look after my sister’s kids this afternoon.
18. Make up = to invent a story
I don’t believe a word you’re saying. You’re just making it up.
19. Pick up = to answer the phone
I called him yesterday but he didn’t pick up.
20. Put off = to postpone
We’ll have to put off that project for the time being.
21. Put up with = to tolerate
I won’t put up with such behavior.
22. Run out of = to use it completely
It seems we’ve run out of milk.
23. Show up = to appear
We waited for her for a while but she didn’t show up.
24. Take off = to remove a piece of clothes
Why don’t you take off your jacket? It’s warm in here.
25. Work out = to develop, esp. successfully
Don’t worry, things will work out.
Stay tuned for part 2 of the most commonly used phrasal verbs!