English Phrasal Verbs for Communication

Learn important phrasal verbs for English learners

“Thinking and Learning” Phrasal Verbs

1. Brush up (on)

Meaning: Practice and improve your skills or knowledge of something

E.g: I must brush up on my Spanish before I go to Seville.

2. Come (a)round (to)

Meaning: Change your opinion or decision because someone has persuaded you to agree with them

E.g: He’ll never come round to our way of thinking.

3. Come up with

Meaning: Think of something such as an idea or a plan

E.g: She came up with a new idea for increasing sales.

4. Read up (on/about)

Meaning: Get information on a particular subject by reading a lot about it

E.g: I’ll need to read up on the case before the meeting.

5. Swot up (on)

Meaning: Study something very hard, especially for an examination

E.g: Make sure you swot up on the company before the interview.

6. Think up

Meaning: Invent or imagine something, especially an excuse

E.g: Can’t you think up a better excuse than that?

 

English Phrasal Verbs for Communication 1

Common Phrasal Verbs Related to Family

1. Get along/on with

Meaning: Have a good, friendly relationship with sb

E.g: I get along well with most of my colleagues.

2. Get together

Meaning: Spend time together

E.g: The whole family usually gets together at Christmas.

3. Go by

Meaning: Prefer to be called by a particular name

E.g: When I knew her, she used to go by the name of Ricki.

4. Grow apart

Meaning: Stop having a close relationship with somebody over a period of time

E.g: As we got older we just grew apart.

5. Split up

Meaning: End a marriage relationship

E.g: Her parents split up a few months ago.

6. Make up

Meaning: Become friendly with someone again after an argument

E.g: Why don’t you two forget your differences and make up?

English Phrasal Verbs for Communication 2

 

Phrasal Verbs about CLOTHES

1. Do up

Meaning: Fasten an item of clothing

E.g: You don’t need to do up the top button.

2. Dress up

Meaning: Dress (oneself or another) in your best clothes

E.g: You don’t need to dress up. It’s just a family get-together.

3. Dress up

Meaning: Put on fancy dress in children’s games

E.g: For her birthday party, they had dressed her up as a fairy.

4. Throw on

Meaning: Put on a piece of clothing quickly and carelessly

E.g: She just threw on the first skirt she found.

5. Turn up

Meaning: Shorten trousers, a dress or a skirt so that they fit better

E.g: Her jeans were too long, so she turned them up.

6. Wrap up

Meaning: Put warm clothes on

E.g: I could hear my mother telling me to wrap up warm.

7. Zip up

Meaning: To be closed by means of a zip

E.g: He zipped up his leather jacket.

English Phrasal Verbs for Communication 3

“Animals” Phrasal Verbs

1. fish for

Meaning: To ask for or try to get something in an indirect way

E.g: It’s sickening the way he’s always fishing for compliments.

2. pig out

Meaning: To eat a lot of food at once

E.g: I found Sam in front of the TV, pigging out on pizza and fries.

3. wolf down

Meaning: To eat very quickly

E.g: Jim changed quickly, took out some clothes for the next morning, then wolfed down his dinner.

4. horse around

Meaning: To play roughly

E.g: Stop horsing around – you’ll break something!

5. duck out

Meaning: To leave quickly and unannounced

E.g: I’ll duck out to get something to eat and be right back.

6. beaver away

Meaning: To work very hard, especially at writing or calculating something

E.g: He’s been beavering away at his homework for hours.

 

English Phrasal Verbs for Communication 4

Phrasal Verbs around the House

1. take out the trash

Meaning: Remove trash from the house

E.g: I take out the trash daily.

2. throw (something) away

Meaning: Put something into the trash can/ to discard

E.g: She always throws away waste in the trash can.

3. clean up/ tidy up

Meaning: Remove the dirt, stains, and unwanted materials

E.g: We spent all Saturday morning cleaning up.

4. take down (a picture)

Meaning: Remove (a picture or object) from the wall

E.g: She made us take down all the posters.

5. mop (something) up

Meaning: Use a mop (towel or sponge) to remove liquid from the floor

E.g: Mop the sauce up with your bread.

6. turn on (the lamp/ TV/ …)

Meaning: Give (lamp/ TV/ …) power to start

E.g: Do you want me to turn the lights on?

7. turn off (the lamp/ TV/ …)

Meaning: Cause the power of (lamp/ TV/ …) to stop

E.g: Don’t forget to turn off the oven.

English Phrasal Verbs for Communication 5

Useful Phrasal Verbs Related to Sleep

1. wake up

Meaning: stop sleeping, or make someone stop sleeping

E.g: James usually wakes up early.

2. get up

Meaning: get out of your bed after sleeping, or make someone get out of their bed

E.g: We didn’t get up until lunchtime.

3. lie down

Meaning: rest on your back

E.g: Towards evening she grew tired, and went to her room for a lie down.

4. sleep in

Meaning: let yourself sleep later than usual in the morning

E.g: We usually sleep in on Sunday mornings.

5. go off

Meaning: go to sleep

E.g: I’d just gone off to sleep when the phone rang.

6. doze off

Meaning: go to sleep, especially when you did not intend to

E.g: Sorry, I must have dozed off for a few minutes.

7. nod off

Meaning: begin to sleep, usually when you do not intend to and are sitting somewhere

E.g: I missed the movie because I kept nodding off.

8. lie in

Meaning: remain in bed in the morning for longer than usual

E.g: The family had a lie in on Saturdays.

English Phrasal Verbs for Communication 6