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?
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?
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.
“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.
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.
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.