Phrasal verbs are an important part of the vocabulary of English. They are widely used by native English speakers. For this reason, it is essential that students understand at least the most common ones, and can use them effectively.
My phrasal verbs are idiomatic in meaning, which means you cannot easily understand them from the words alone.
Because phrasal verbs are both idiomatic and need memorising, like any other form of vocabulary, I have been busy creating Linguaspectrum videos to help students learn phrasal verbs.
In this post I want to share with you over 400 phrasal verbs along with their meanings and some examples of usage. You can search the phrasal verbs, examples, and meanings, and you can reorder the lists as you wish.
|Verb||Meaning and Example|
|add up||Calculate the total|
Why don't you add the figures up? You'll see that we really have spent more than we made.
|back up||Support, help|
Troops have been sent to the town to back the garrison up.
Back me up, John. You know I didn't take the money.
|break down||Cause to fall by breaking; make ineffective|
We broke the wall down using nothing more than our bare hands.
World opinion helped break the barriers of apartheid down. Segregation is a thing of the past.
|bring about||To cause or produce|
If I had known that the affair would bring her death about I would never have spoken to her in the first place.
|bring back||Remind someone of something|
The smell brought memories back. It reminded me of my grandmother's front room.
|bring down||Make something fall|
The scandal will bring the government down. There's no way he can remain prime minister if he's gay.
A clumsy tackle brought the player down before he got near the goal.
|bring forward||Suggest, propose; advance in time|
He brought the idea forward that we should bring the meeting forward two hours so that everyone could avoid the heavy traffic.
|bring off||Carry out to a successful conclusion|
I never thought they'd bring the rescue off. The building was so high and there were so many people that needed to get out.
|bring on||Cause to appear or occur|
It was the terrible filth of the medieval streets that brought the plague on. The filth allowed the rats to flourish and with them the fleas that spread the terrible disease.
|bring out||To make apparent|
Adversity brought the best out in his nature and showed that he was a hero indeed.
Bring your best fighter out. We'll soon see who the champion is.
|bring over||Fetch, carry, transport|
Bring the baby over here; I want to take a closer look at that infection.
He brought a nice pie over for my dinner. He's so sweet. Shame there isn't more people like him.
|bring to||Make yourself do something|
I couldn't bring myself to look at his body. It was horrible.
|bring up||Raise, care for, nurture; mention, suggest|
We brought six children up in fifty years of marriage.
I don't like to bring the question of pay up, but I think we're going to see the workers on strike if they don't get an immediate raise.
|brush aside||To disregard, ignore or dismiss|
He brushed my suggestion aside immediately. Said it would be too expensive and the company could not afford it.
|brush out||Touch or push gently or lightly|
It's only chalk. You can brush it out when it dries. The dress will be as good as new.
|brush up||To revise or relearn|
I'm going to Germany next week. I'll have to brush my German up before I set off.
|build in||Make something an integral part of something else|
Manufacturers seem to build in obsolescence into their products these days. It seems to be a way of maintaining sales.
|burn down||To cause to be destroyed by fire|
They burnt my house down by pushing a lit firework through the letter box. Thank heavens I was insured.
|buy out||To purchase the share or interest of|
Google bought You Tube out for one point six billion dollars. I don't know what Google intend to do with their new acquisition.
I'm calling the trip off because we don't have enough people to fill the coach.
|call up||Summon together|
The general called his troops up ready for the attack.
|calm down||Make or become quiet and tranquil|
When my daughter used to get upset it took hours to calm her down. Sometimes she would still be crying when her father came home.
|carry off||Take something by force; (of disease) kill|
The thieves carried the chalice off, despite the vicar's protests.
The plague carried thousands of people off, almost halving the population.
|carry on||Continue to do something|
We need to carry the business on. It's what Dad would have wanted. We can't close now, not after sixty three years.
|carry out||To accomplish; put into execution|
I promise to carry the job out as fast as possible. We will be finished by Friday at the latest.
I didn't think he would carry his threat out, but he fired her anyway.
|carry over||To persist to another time or context|
Because I had studied the subject beforehand, I carried my confidence over to the actual job.
|carry through||Accomplish or complete; endure or survive|
Despite the difficulties, we carried the project through to satisfactory completion.
His unwavering enthusiasm carried them through a difficult and dangerous time.
|chat up||Talk to someone to try to establish a romance|
He spent the night chatting her up, only to find out that she was already married.
|cheer up||Make or become less miserable|
Is there nothing we can do to cheer Dad up? It's so sad to see him so miserable all the time since we lost Mum.
|chew over||Consider a question or issue|
It's a big decision. I think we'll have to chew it over for a while before we say yes or no. I need to think about all the points you raised.
|chew up||Cut into pieces with teeth; damage with a machine|
That new puppy's chewed my slippers up. I can't possibly wear them now.
I switched to DVDs when my VHS machine started to chew the tapes up.
|chop back||To cut vegetation away from somewhere|
Chop those bushes back; they're hiding the road signs from drivers. It's getting dangerous.
|chop down||To fell trees with a saw, axe or tool|
They have chopped those beautiful trees down. The square looks so empty now.
|chop up||To reduce to small pieces|
First you need to chop the onion up into pieces. Chop up the carrots, the mushrooms and the garlic and add the wine. Simmer over a low heat for about twenty minutes.
|clean off||Remove a contaminant from something|
Before you start moving the books you need to clean the dust off them. They've been sitting here undisturbed for decades.
|clean out||To take everything from someone or somewhere|
The burglars cleaned my house out. They even took my children's toys!
I should never have gone into the casino. I lost two hundred pounds. Basically they cleaned me out.
|clean up||Clean a place|
I want you to clean your bedroom up now or you won't be watching any television tonight, my girl. It looks like a bomb went off in it.
|clear out||Remove or dispose of unwanted items or people|
I'm going to clear my garage out. There's so much junk in there that I can't get my car in anymore.
|clear up||(Medical) to be cured; tidy a place|
I don't need to go to the doctor now. That ointment you gave me has cleared my rash up.
I'll clear the table up if you do the washing up. It's a bit of a mess.
|close down||Close permanently|
It's a shame they closed that nice bookshop down on the corner. I'll have to find somewhere else to buy my books.
|close up||(business) Stop being open to custom or be in operation|
We spent a lot of money setting up the business, but it was obvious we were never going to make a profit. The only thing I could do was to close the business up and cut our losses.
|count in||Include or involve|
Hey! Count me in! It sounds like a fantastic idea. I'd love to be a part of it.
|count out||Exclude from something|
I'm sorry, but that's the stupidest idea I've ever heard. You can definitely count me out! There's no way I'm getting involved.
|count up||To calculate the total|
"Could you count the money up, Sally? I need to take it to the bank before they close."
|cross out||To mark writing to show that it is incorrect. Often with a line through the text.|
I made a lot of mistakes in that exam. I crossed them out and wrote the correct answers underneath, but I hope it doesn't affect my grade.
I think we should cut production back now that sales have reduced. Once Summer starts we can get back to full production.
|cut down||Reduce consumption; bring something to ground level.|
Cigarettes? I've cut them right down. Only smoke one or two a day now.
The Easter Islanders cut all their trees down to move those huge stone heads. Then they had no fuel.
|cut off||Disconnect; make inaccessible|
I forgot to pay the electricity bill and now they've cut me off. I can't watch TV and the house is freezing.
The tide cuts the island off from the mainland and the only way to visit is by boat.
|cut out||Exclude; remove a picture from a printed page|
I cut fat out from my diet and lost a lot of weight.
Is that a photograph or did you cut the picture out from a magazine?
|cut up||Reduce to smaller pieces; (vehicle) move suddenly into the path of a moving vehicle|
Cut up the bacon into bite-sized pieces then fry gently until cooked.
If you hadn't cut me up at the lights I wouldn't have crashed into the back of your car.
|draw up||Prepare plans in detail|
If the generals had drawn better plans up we might have won the battle.
|drum into||Make someone learn through constant repetition|
I never did learn my times tables, even though they used to drum them into me every morning for hours at a time. I guess I'm just not very good at maths.
|drum out||Expel from an organisation|
They drummed me out of the Army because I refused to fight. Now I'm happy to be a civilian again.
When I was at school we had a bully who used to duff you up in the playground. It was as much as part of going to school as the morning register.
|dust out||Clean something|
I need to dust the wardrobe out. It's filthy.
|eat up||Consume food quickly|
Eat your dinner up before it gets cold.
|figure out||Find the answer to a problem, realise|
It took me a while to figure the problem out, but once I had the answer it took only minutes to put it right.
|fill in||Enrich with detail|
Could you fill the form in, please? Then sign it at the bottom.
I'll fill you in with what I know about him, but remember I've only met him once. Most of what I know I've read in the papers.
|fill up||Place contents into a container to maximum capacity|
We'd better fill the tank up with petrol at the next garage. I don't think we'll have another opportunity and there's a long way to go.
|find out||Discover something|
I'm going to find the truth out if it takes six months, so you might as well tell me now.
I read every book I could to find the details out about his life, but I still know hardly anything.
|fix up||Make an arrangement; repair or refurbish|
Thank you for fixing that meeting up with your boss. He says that I can start working here next week.
I'm going to fix the attic up so that Mum can stay with us. It'll make a nice spare room.
|get across||Make clear or convince|
I knew that we could get our ideas across to him eventually. He's a man who likes new ventures.
|get on||Enter a vehicle; mount a horse or cycle|
The train is leaving! Get on, or you'll miss it.
How did the knights of old get on their horses with all that armour?
|give away||Provide something for free, give|
He gave away to a beggar the diamond ring I had bought him. He was that kind of man - generous yet stupid.
|give back||Return something|
"Give back the book," he said. I gave the book back. End of story.
People are starving to death. We need to give the food out now, before it's too late.
|give up||Surrender; abandon something|
They forced him to give his job up. Now he's unemployed.
He gave his fortune up just to be with the woman he loved. Now that really is love.
|hand down||Transmit in succession|
They handed the money down from father to son for generations.
|hand over||Pass control to someone else|
Spain has been wanting Britain to hand Gibraltar over to them for three hundred years.
|hand in||To submit work for assessment|
I handed my homework in this morning. I hope I get a good grade.
|have on||Keep electronic equipment switched on; possess; deceive|
She has her television on all day.
I don't have any money on me. I'll have to pay you next week. Honestly! I'm not having you on.
|have over||Receive a guest in your house|
Let's have Mum and Dad over for lunch on Sunday. It's Dad's birthday.
|hold back||Keep from doing something|
The film was so sad I had to hold the tears back.
If your dog bites me I'll call the police. I suggest that you hold him back.
|hold off||Stop someone attacking you|
We held the enemy off for three days until the reinforcements finally arrived.
|hold out||Offer something to the front|
I couldn't believe it. I stood there, held my hand out and he shook it. Can you believe it? I actually shook hands with him. I don't think I'll wash my hand again.
|hold up||Delay; rob or steal from someone with threats|
If traffic hadn't held the police up they might have caught the robbers who held the bank up yesterday. The thieves got away with over ten thousand pounds.
|keep away||Keep things separate from each other|
You should keep matches away from children at all times.
Look! She doesn't like you and you don't like her. I've been asked to keep you away from her. Do you understand?
|keep up||Prevent someone going to bed|
My neighbours had a party till five o'clock this morning. They kept me up all night. I even had to call the police, they were so noisy.
|lay down||Give up something; establish a rule or law|
I think they say, "No greater love has a man than that he should lay his life down for his brother."
Don't you going laying the law down here, young man. You're not the police!
|leave in||Not taken or allowed out of something or somewhere|
I think we should leave the cat in the house tonight. She's scared of fireworks.
You must have left the key in the lock when we left the house. I hope nobody has seen it.
|leave on||Not switch something off|
Leave the computer on. We'll be using it again this afternoon. It'll go into power saving mode after ten minutes anyway.
|leave out||Not include someone in something|
I was never any good at football at school and they always left me out of the team.
|let down||Disappoint; make clothes longer|
I told you I wouldn't let you down. I know how important this day is to you, so I'll lend you this designer dress. You're a little taller than me so we'll have to let the hem down a bit, but I'm sure you'll look divine.
|let in||Allow entry|
I told the doorman that this was a private party but he still let half the town in.
|let off||Not punish|
The judge let her off because of her age. He said that at ninety-seven prison would serve no purpose.
|let out||Allow to leave; make clothes bigger|
I had to sit through the whole concert because the doorman wouldn't let me out.
I've put on a stone in the past six months. None of my clothes fit me, and I've had to let my suit out twice so I can wear it to the wedding.
|light up||Begin smoking; illuminate something|
He lit a cigarette up next to the dynamite. No wonder he blew himself to pieces.
They light the palace up when it gets dark. It looks quite spectacular at night with all the floodlights on.
|live down||Cease being embarrassed|
I can't believe I spilled red wine down the cardinal's surplice. I'll never live it down, and he won't let me, you can be sure of that.
|mess around||Play with something carelessly|
I was messing around with the computer and I think I deleted some important files. Now I can't get it to work.
|mess up||Mishandle a situation|
Everything was arranged. All you had to do was shake a few hands, but you messed it all up completely by trying to be cleverer than you are.
|mull over||Think about something|
He said he would have to mull the problem over and tell us his decision in the morning.
|pass around||Give something to everyone present|
Could you pass this leaflet around at your next meeting? I'm sure your delegates will be interested.
|pass up||Decline an opportunity|
I don't believe that you passed the chance up to go out with her. Most men would give their right arm just to speak to her.
|pass on||Give a message to someone|
Could you pass the message on to him when you speak to him? Tell him it's very important.
|pay back||Repay money; get revenge|
He said he would pay the money back by last Friday. Well, he hasn't and now it's the time to pay him back for ignoring our little agreement. We need to send out the message that nobody cheats on us.
|pay off||Settle a debt|
We've just paid our mortgage off after twenty years. Now the house is ours.
|pick up||Gather together; (vehicle) take passengers|
Look at the mess in here! Pick all the pieces up and put them back in the box.
I'll pick you both up at half-past from outside the bus station. I'll be driving a red Ford Focus.
|play down||Make something seem less important|
We should play the importance of this accident down. If the press realise the true significance we'll be in real trouble.
|point out||Make people aware of something|
The ice shelf is melting faster than we anticipated. I think I pointed this fact out to you at our last meeting.
We're going to pull these old buildings down to make way for the new houses.
|pull together||Act in a more reasonable manner|
You had better pull yourself together before the interview, or they'll think you're crazy and you'll never get the job.
|put back||Return something to its place|
Put the books back on the shelf and leave the library, we're closing.
|put in||Install or add to|
Put some money in the box and you can make a wish.
I'm having a new washing machine put in next week.
We need to put the invasion off until the weather improves. I think we should be able to begin in two days.
|put on||Increase in weight|
He's put about twenty kilos on since the last time I saw him. It's all muscle. He looks like the Terminator!
|put up||Accommodate in your house; increase payments|
Are you sure you can put me up for the week? I'll have my own place again by Friday.
Great! They're going to put the council tax up again. Another fifty quid a year to find!
|quiet down||Become silent|
You'll have to quiet that baby down or they'll hear us. It's making far too much noise. Can't you feed it or something?
|rake up||Bring back to the public's attention|
Every year the press seems to rake that nonsense up about the accident. Why can't they just forget about it?
|ring back||Return a call by telephone|
Florence rang. She seemed upset. Why don't you ring her back and find out what the matter is?
|ring up||Telephone someone|
I thought I told you not to ring me up at home? What if my wife answered it?
|rinse off||Cleanse with water|
Quickly! Rinse that wine off your shirt before it stains.
|rinse out||Cleanse with liquid|
That's the filling done, Mr Jackson. Now, rinse your mouth out with this antiseptic.
I can't rule the chance out that the police may want to speak to you again. If they do want to, give me a call and I'll go to the police station with you.
|run down||Hit a pedestrian with a vehicle; cause exhaustion|
He ran an old lady down and didn't even stop to see how badly she was hurt. She's in hospital with a broken hip.
I hate hare coursing. The way the dogs run the hare down and then kill it when it's exhausted.
|run off||Make copies of|
I asked the printer to run a thousand copies off. That's enough for every member of staff to have their own copy of the magazine.
|save up||Accumulate things, especially money|
If you want a new cycle you'll have to save your pocket money up instead of wasting it on sweets and comics.
I saved all the comics up and sold them to buy a new bike.
|see through||Continue with something to finality|
I started the journey and was determined to see it through to the end, no matter how difficult it was.
|see off||Chase away; say goodbye to travellers|
That bloody cat from next door is always digging up the garden. I'm going to buy a dog to see it off.
They left on the eight o'clock flight. We went to the station to see them off.
|send back||Return something|
I don't like the colour of the curtains. I'm going to send them back to the shop to get a refund.
|send over||Despatch something somewhere|
I'd be interested in reading the report. Why don't you send it over with the courier?
That storm set us back by at least a day. It'll be a miracle if we can complete the crossing to New York in time for the celebrations.
|set down||Write something as a record|
I'll set down the rules of the house on this paper so there can be no argument later about what you can or can not do.
|set up||Prepare equipment; start a company|
I set the computer network up myself. I couldn't afford a technician because I had just set the business up and money was tight.
|show off||Display with pride; enhance the qualities of|
She loves to show her piano skill off to anyone who shows an interest.
That new dress really shows your hair off to best advantage, Julia. You look gorgeous!
|shut off||Close, prevent access, stop the flow of|
The police have shut Church Street off after an accident.
Before you take the cover off you must shut the electricity off. Otherwise you'll be electrocuted.
|slag off||Be very critical of|
You can slag me off as much as you want, but I know you're only jealous because I'm the one marrying him, not you!
|slow up||Lessen the progress of something|
That burst water pipe will slow the building work up considerably. We'll have to pump the water out before the workers can get back to work.
|spell out||Explain in great detail|
She's the slowest student I ever had. If I don't spell everything out for her she just doesn't understand.
|stand up||Fail to attend an arranged meeting or date|
She was so upset when he stood her up at the cinema last night. She had to see the film on her own.
|stare down||Look intensely at someone with ill feeling|
She tried to stare me down but I just ignored her. So what if she used to be his girlfriend, I'm his wife now.
|start off||Begin something|
I'll start off the meeting by telling the members how much money has been spent in the past year on stationary alone.
|sweep out||Clean using a brush|
We need to sweep all that dirt out of the stables before we put the fresh straw in.
|take back||Induce nostalgia; retract a statement, admit an error|
That smell takes me back to when I was a little boy. It reminds me of my grandmother's house.
You'd better take that statement back or you'll be hearing from my lawyers. It's a damn lie!
|take down||Write notes; remove something; stop an opponent|
The policeman took everything down that I said in his notebook.
You shouldn't take your Christmas decorations down until the twelfth night. It's bad luck.
Carlisle's defence brought the United striker down unfairly. The referee declared a penalty.
|take in||Comprehend; deceive; make clothes smaller|
I was thinking of something else and didn't take much of what was said in, I'm afraid.
She took me in with her story until I found out she had lied all along.
I lost too much weight and they had to take my dress in before the wedding.
|take over||Assume control of a company of organisation|
Mr Nelson's company will take our company over on the first of April. From then on Mr Nelson will be in charge and you should direct further questions to him.
They tore my house down while I was on holiday. Apparently a lorry crashed into the front and it would have fallen down anyway.
|tear up||Rip into pieces; destroy|
You might as well tear that contract up for what it's worth. They've gone out of business and can't honour it.
They've torn the pavement up to make way for a new cycle path.
|tell apart||Distinguish between two things|
My husband is a twin. Sometimes it's difficult to tell him apart from his brother because they are both so alike.
|tell off||Talk angrily to someone for something they did|
My father told me off for coming home late last night, and now I can't go out for the rest of the week.
|think over||Consider something|
I don't know if I approve of your plans for the café. I'll have to think it over for a while and consider the consequences of such dramatic changes.
|think through||Consider all possibilities|
I think the business failed because we hadn't thought all the problems through before we started.
|think up||Create or invent|
Flight! Whoever thought that up must have been either crazy or a genius.
|throw away||Discard without consideration|
There are people out there who want to use you and then just throw you away when they have finished with you
|throw over||Cover with something|
They came racing up the stairs with a bucket of sand, ready to throw it over what we assumed was an incendiary bomb.
|tie up||Secure something with cord, string, rope etc.|
White attacked the couple, tied them up and forced him and Sheila Stroud to drive to the beach.
|tire out||Drain the energy from, exhaust|
All you end up doing is millions of conferences that just tire you out and exhaust you.
|touch up||Improve the appearance of; touch sexually|
I'm too lazy to paint the whole room so I just touched the bits up that were very dirty or worn.
Dirty sod tried to touch me up in the lift. Put his hand under my skirt. I didn't half slap him on the face, I can tell you. He won't try that again in a hurry.
|try on||Wear clothes to check the fit|
I tried the jacket and the trousers on before I bought them. They were a perfect fit.
|try out||Test something|
I'd like to try the car out before I buy it. Do you have one I could borrow for the day?
The good thing about the computer program is you can try it out before you buy it.
|turn down||Reduce in intensity; reject an offer|
Turn the fire down. It's very hot in here.
Thanks for the invitation, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to turn it down. I've already agreed to go to Mary's party.
|turn on||Attract or give pleasure; start a machine or device|
She really knows how to turn me on! I just can't get enough of her.
Turn the lights on! It's very dark in here.
|turn out||Produce something; extinguish a light source|
My factory can turn thirty thousand clips out an hour. That's much faster than an army could do it by hand.
Quick! Turn the lights out! There's a cop coming and he'll see us.
|wake up||To cause someone to emerge from a state of sleep|
I've tried to wake him up, but he won't stir. I think he might be dead.
|wash away||Removal of a structure by the action of water|
That was a very high tide last night. It's completely washed my front wall away.
|wash down||Have a drink to help swallow something|
Here, have a drink of water to help wash those tablets down.
|wash off||Remove contaminant with water|
That's paint stripper! You'd better wash it off your car roof or you'll have no paint left. Use plenty of water.
|wash out||Ruin of an event due to rain|
The rain washed the festival out this year. It's a shame. So many people put in so much work to make it happen. Perhaps it'll be better weather next year.
|wear away||Remove gradually, erode|
The action of the waves over millennia has worn the cliffs away leaving strange columns of limestone standing in the water.
|wear down||Weaken; reduce through use|
My job has begun to wear me down. It's so stressful. I think I have to get another one soon.
Fifty thousand miles and I've worn two sets of tyres down on my car. Now I have to replace them for the third time this year.
|wear out||Use something to destruction|
I only ever buy one pair of shoes. A good pair that will last a long time. Then I wear them until I wear them out. Then I buy another pair.
|wind down||Slowly close a company|
At least we had plenty of warning of the closure. No one buys cathode ray tubes anymore so we've been winding production down for the past six months. With TFT screens becoming more popular it was inevitable that we should close the company.
|wind up||Irritate; close and unprofitable company; tighten|
It really winds me up that the management didn't pre-warn us that they were winding the company up.
Twice a day I have to wind every clock up in the house or they stop working. Twelve clocks is eleven too many.
|wipe off||Remove contaminants using a cloth or similar|
Waitress! Can you wipe the crumbs off this table? We'd like to eat.
|wipe out||Kill an entire population|
If a big meteorite or an asteroid hit the Earth they think that it would completely wipe humans out, just like the dinosaurs.
|work off||Physical action to lose weight or change mood|
Lose weight! Work those pounds off in the gym.
Japanese factories have a stress room where employees can work their frustrations off by hitting life-size dummies resembling their bosses.
|work out||Find a solution to a problem|
They had some big difficulties in the first years of their marriage but they worked them out. They're still married after forty years.
Work the answer out for yourself. Just read the instructions.
|write down||Make notes|
She wrote her phone number down on a card and handed it to me. It was one card I was not about to lose.
|write off||Destroy something in an accident|
"How is your car now? It was a bad accident."
"They say I've written it off. I hope the insurance pays out soon because I really need a new one."
|write out||Write something entirely|
I normally have to write my notes out completely if I'm to remember anything at all about the lessons. It takes a long time, but I get much better exam results.
|write up||Make a complete written account|
I wrote the report up and submitted it to the prosecutor. Now they knew as much about the incident as I did.
|back out of||Fail to keep an agreement or arrangement|
He never showed up for the wedding. I just knew he would back out of it. I suppose I made him go through with the idea because of the baby.
|bear down on||Move towards someone or something|
I saw the lorry bearing down on us but there was nothing I could do. The impact was both horrific and inevitable.
|bear on||Influence something|
The fact that you are an habitual thief will undoubtedly bear on the final sentence that is handed down.
|bear up under||Persevere against pressure|
I don't know how those people bore up under the pressure of constant bombing. I'm sure I would have gone mad.
|break in on||Interrupt something|
Excuse me! I'm sorry to break in on your conversation, but I think you're completely mistaken in your assumptions.
|be up to||Be doing something naughty; be good enough|
I just know you're up to something. What is it? What are you planning? I'm sure it's illegal.
You're fired! You're not up to the job! I need someone who knows what they're doing.
|break into||Enter a place to steal|
The thieves have broken into my house for third time this year. I'm getting fed up, and the insurance company is becoming awkward.
|breeze through||Deal with something in a casual, relaxed manner|
He was so intelligent he knew that he could breeze through the exam.
|buy up||Purchase the entire supply of something|
Someone bought up every pick, shovel and pan in California and made a fortune selling them to the gold prospectors in 1849 for much more than he paid for them. He made more money than most of the prospectors ever did.
|call for||Demand; phone; collect something|
I shall call for your resignation at the next meeting. You're a disgrace to the post.
Can you call for a taxi please? I've missed the last bus.
I'll call for the parcel on Tuesday. Please have it ready.
|call on||Ask for help or for someone to do something|
I call upon the gentleman to explain the situation in such a manner that even the most stupid amongst us might understand.
|care for||Like or appreciate|
I don't care for modern art. To me the old masters are real art, not this splashed about paint nonsense.
|carry on with||To have an affair|
He's been carrying on with his secretary for years. Everybody knows, except for his wife of course.
|catch up with||Make progress to match another's progress|
You go on ahead. I'll rest here for a while and then catch up with you.
|check up on||Enquire into the condition of something|
Don't worry. I'll check up on him this morning before I go to work. I'm sure he's just not answering the phone. You know how he is.
|chew on||To consider something carefully before deciding|
He said he'd have to chew on it for a day or two before he could say yes or no. We'll just have to wait and hope that he says yes.
|come across||Find by accident|
I found the answer when I came across an old book in my grandfather's study.
|come along with||To accompany|
Don't be scared. I'll come along with you and make sure you get home alright. That's what friends are for.
|come by||Obtain something, often by chance|
This old ring? Oh, I came by it when we were stationed in Egypt during the war. Went into a bazaar and there it was, just lying there. I think it might be quite valuable.
|come down with||Succumb to an illness|
She came down with a virus the day before her graduation. She spent the next two weeks in bed, poor girl.
|come out with||Exclaim or reveal something|
I was as surprised as anyone else when she told us. She didn't give any warning, just came out with it. I'd never have guessed, not in a month of Sundays.
|come up with||Think of a solution|
No one could come up with an answer. It was a mystery then and it's a mystery now.
|count on||Depend, rely|
Look, you can count on me to come up with something before Wednesday. I promise I'll have a report ready by then.
|cut in on||Interrupt|
Well, Louise, didn't anybody ever tell you that it's very bad manners to cut in on someone's conversation?
|disagree with||Cause to feel ill or nauseous|
I can't eat peppers. They disagree with me something terrible. I end up with terrible wind for the rest of the day.
|do away with||Put an end to, stop|
One day, when men are more sensible and more civilised, maybe we will do away with war for good. No more fighting, no more killing. Or is it an impossible dream?
|do without||Continue without having or doing something|
We haven't got any sugar, so you'll just have to do without. This tea is delicious without it anyway.
|face up to||Accept the truth of something, usually unpleasant|
I know you miss him but you need to face up to the fact that he's dead and he won't be coming home. You need to get on with your life.
|fall back on||Have the use of in an emergency|
You should always have a few hundred pounds in the bank. It's nice to have it there to fall back on when times are hard. Think of it as an emergency fund.
|fall out with||To be on bad terms with someone previously liked|
I fell out with Bill over the amount of money he used to spend on that damn car of his. That's why we eventually got divorced.
|figure on||Plan or expect to do|
What do you figure on doing when you leave university? Are you still set on joining the Navy?
|fill in for||Substitute|
Hello children! My name's Mr Jackson. I'm going to fill in for Mrs Wright because she's not feeling very well today. Now, I'd like you to turn to page twenty-seven in your textbooks.
|fill out||Put on weight, become fatter|
She must be over her anorexia now. Look at the way she's filled out. Doesn't look quite like a walking skeleton now.
|get ahead of||Move beyond something|
I admit that I do sometimes take work home with me. I like to get ahead of schedule so I don't feel quite as stressed at the office.
|get around (round) to||Do something after a delay|
I know it's important, but I just haven't had the time to get around to it. I promise I'll have it done by tomorrow afternoon at the latest.
|get away with||Not be caught doing something, usually wrong|
You really think you can just walk into a bank, rob them, and then walk away? You'll never get away with it. The police will arrest you before you get back to your house.
|get behind with||Not pay instalments on a loan by the time due|
I'm really worried that we're going to lose our house. After I lost my job I got behind with the payments on the mortgage. Now the bank it threatening to repossess the house unless I can find the money quickly.
|get down to||Begin working on something|
I really must get down to writing some thank you letters for all those Christmas presents I received. If I don't do it soon it'll be summer.
|get in||Enter a car|
A strange man stopped an offered me a lift home. I've always been told not to accept lifts from strangers so I refused to get in. I'm glad I didn't get in because a woman was kidnapped and murdered in the same place a few nights after.
|get off||Leave a plane, train, boat or bus|
I got off the train at Reading when I should have got off at Slough. I had to catch a bus back.
|get on||Enter a plane, train, boat or bus|
I got on the plane at Athens airport, flew to Paris and got on a train to Berlin.
|get on with||Make progress; have a good relationship with|
We need that finishing by nine o'clock so you'd better get on with it.
I don't think I ever really got on with my brother. We're as different as chalk and cheese and were always arguing about something or other.
|get through||Consume; finish|
My New Year's resolution is to drink less. In the past year I've been getting through two bottles of wine a day.
I often have to take work home because I never have time to get through it all at work.
|get through to||Make someone understand something|
Look! I'm not really getting through to you am I? You must understand that you can't park your car here, even if you do live in the street. If you don't move your car I'm going to issue you with a fixed penalty ticket.
|get up to||Do something wrong or naughty|
You mustn't leave them in the house alone or they'll get up to something. Last time they nearly burnt the place down when they found a box of matches.
|go along with||Accept a suggestion or decision|
Do I have a choice? No, I thought not. Alright then, I'll have to go along with the decision, for the moment at least. I just hope you know what you're doing.
|go back on||Break a promise or agreement|
Typical politicians! They promise they won't raise taxes and as soon as you vote them in to power they go back on their promise and raise them anyway.
|go down with||Become ill|
I'm not going to be at work today, I'm afraid. I think I'm going down with the flu. I feel terrible.
|go for||Be attracted to; attack; select or choose|
She's gorgeous. I could really go for her. I don't like the look of her dog, though. It looks like it'll go for me if I speak to her. I think I'll go for her sister instead.
|go in for||Enter a competition|
He went in for that body building competition. It's not surprising he didn't win. He's built like a stick insect!
|go on about||Talk too much|
He's always going on about how much money he's got and how big his house is. He's a real bore.
|go out with||Have a relationship with someone|
I've been going out with Sandra for six years. It's about time I asked her to marry me.
|go over||Examine or check the details of something|
I need to go over those figures one more time to make sure they're correct.
|go with||Match in a pleasing way|
Do you think these shoes go with my skirt, or should I wear the red ones instead?
|go without||To not have|
I don't care if you are hungry. You're late and your dinner's in the dog. You can go without eating. It might teach you to be more punctual.
|hack into||Gain unauthorised entry to a computer system|
This company computer system is completely secure. I don't think even the best hacker could hack into it. It's got several firewalls and military strength encryption.
|hammer away at||Work relentlessly|
I've been hammering away at this Language Workout for weeks and should have it finished soon. It's very interesting.
|hang up on||End a phone call suddenly|
I couldn't believe how nasty she was being to me so I hung up on her. If she phones back don't answer it.
|have it away||Have casual sex with someone|
She had it away with him at the office party and now she's pregnant. Silly girl!
|have it out with||Settle an issue or argument|
I had been worried about it for months, but when I finally did have it out with him I discovered that he wasn't angry after all. All that worry for nothing.
|hear from||Have contact with someone|
It's so good to hear from you after all these years. What's it been? Six years or more? We really should try to stay in touch.
|hear of||Have information about something or someone|
If you do hear of a flat to rent, can you let me know?
|hit it off with||Like someone immediately|
She's a really nice person. The sort of girl you can hit it off with right away. I know you'll like her, so why don't you give her a call?
|hit on||Have an idea|
I'd been trying to find a solution for weeks when I suddenly hit on an idea while I was having a bath. It was a eureka moment.
|hit out at||Respond with anger to criticism|
The government hit out at the media for what the minister called "their hypocrisy".
|hold back from||Not allow yourself to do something|
I've held back from losing my patience with you, but if you continue to insist I might not be responsible for my actions.
|hold on to||Hold tightly to something|
He held on to his beliefs even when the flames were licking around his ankles.
|hold out against||Resist|
The French held out against constant German attacks, despite horrific casualties.
|keep at||Continue despite difficulties|
I found the exam very difficult, but I kept at it and eventually finished. That I passed was nothing short of a miracle.
|keep to||Remain within limits|
The mountain is treacherous. One false move and you'll join the hundreds of others who die each year. The only way through it to keep to the narrow track and not be tempted to cut across the ice.
If you want to succeed at anything in this life you must keep on trying.
|keep up with||Move at the same speed; stay up to date|
I know I walk quickly and you have to struggle to keep up with me, but it does help you keep fit.
You need to buy a new computer every six months if you want to keep up with the latest advances in technology.
|lean on||Put pressure on someone to achieve an end|
The police were leaning on him to tell them who his supplier was.
|link up with||To contact someone or make a connection|
Even though we're on different continents we can still link up with our families thanks to the Internet.
|listen out for||Listen for something particular|
The taxi's due at half-past six. Can you listen out for it when it arrives?
|live on||Use funds for necessary expenses|
Most pensioners have to live on less than a hundred pounds a weeks.
|live up to||Meet expectations|
I liked the book, but the film didn't live up to it at all. What a disappointment.
|look after||Take care of|
I had to look after my little sister while Mum was in hospital.
|look down on||Have a low opinion of|
Just because you have more money than me doesn't mean you have the right to look down on me. You should treat people with more respect.
|look forward to||Anticipate something pleasant|
I look forward to our meeting on Saturday. It will be nice to finally meet you face to face.
|look into||Research, investigate|
I understand your concerns and I promise I'll look into the problem and get back to you as soon as possible.
|look up to||Respect|
I really look up to him as a boss. He's an extraordinarily nice person.
|make do with||Accept due to lack of alternatives|
We haven't got any tea, I'm afraid. You'll have to make do with coffee.
|make it up to||Compensate for doing wrong|
I couldn't get flowers for the wedding so I tried to make it up to her by buying flowers every year on our anniversary.
|make up for||Compensate|
I bought her a new car to make up for crashing hers into that tree.
|mess with||Interfere, molest|
I thought I told you not to mess with those people. They're gangsters and they'll shoot you as soon as speak to you.
|occur to||Enter the mind|
It never even occurred to me that she could be right and I could be wrong. Does that make me a chauvinist?
|pass on||Decline an invitation|
Thank you for the offer, but I'll have to pass on it. I have a dinner date that I really can't get out of.
|pick at||Eat without enthusiasm|
I really wasn't hungry so I just picked at the food to be polite.
|pick on||Bully or harass|
Why don't you go and pick on someone your own size for a change?
You're just playing at being a policeman. You've never arrested anyone.
|play upon||Exploit a weakness|
You need to play upon their emotions if you're going to get them to do what you want to do.
|put up with||Tolerate|
I couldn't put up with my wife's frigidity any longer. That's why I had an affair.
|rain down on||Fall in large numbers|
Shells rained down on the trenches for days before the big push.
|rat on||Inform on someone; break a promise|
She ratted on her boss to his wife about their affair because he ratted on his promise to take her to Bermuda for the summer.
|read up on||Research|
I've been reading up on computers because I'm thinking of building one of my own.
|run across||Meet or find by accident|
I ran across an old friend of mine in the town yesterday. I haven't seen her for years.
|run out of||Have none left|
I've run out of milk. Would you go to the shops and get some more for me, please?
|run for||Campaign for office|
I'm thinking of running for president of the book society.
|scrape through||Pass a test, but only just|
I didn't study for that exam. It's a wonder I managed to scrape through. I'm amazed that I got a grade c.
|see about||Attend to or deal with; consider|
You should see about that rash on your neck. Let the doctor look at it. It looks like its getting worse.
Maybe we'll go to the cinema if you're very good. I don't know yet, but we'll see about it.
|see to||Deal with something|
It was so nice to have someone else see to the arrangements. I could relax and everything went smoothly and without incident.
|see through||Realise someone is being deceitful|
Stop lying to her! Don't you think she's seen through your lies? You told her you were a doctor, but you're a car salesman.
|settle for||Accept what is on offer|
I wanted seats at the front of the theatre, but the show was almost sold out and we had to settle for seats near the back.
My wife wanted to name the boat after her mother, but we settled on naming it the Tiny Titanic.
|sift through||Examine many things carefully|
We had to sift through tons of evidence before we found a clue that might convict the bombers.
|sign on with||Put your signature to an agreement|
My grandfather signed on with the Royal Navy when he was just fourteen years old. He lied about his age.
|stand for||Accept; represent|
I'm not going to stand for your behaviour any longer. You'll have to leave the restaurant.
The letters DNA stand for Deoxyribonucleic acid.
|stand up for||Defend or support|
Not one of the bastards stood up for me when I needed their support.
|stand up to||Resist|
People must stand up to authority when it tries to take away their liberties.
This paint is so tough it will stand up to the roughest of weather.
|steer clear of||Avoid|
I know him. Under that pleasant exterior there's a monster. My advice is to steer clear of him.
|step on it||Ask someone to go faster, especially a driver|
We're going to miss the plane. Step on it, please, driver!
|stick to||Refuse change|
I know the situation has changed, but I'm going to stick to my original plan.
|stick up for||Support or defend|
Of course I'm going to stick up for her - she's my wife! So, if you have any thing to say to her you can say it to me, too.
|suck up to||Try to gain favour with someone|
You always suck up to the boss. Are you looking for promotion?
I take after my mother, while my brother takes after my father.
|talk down to||Talk in a superior manner|
I'm not a child so you don't have to talk down to me. You can speak to me as an equal.
|tell on||Report someone to authority|
If you cheat in your exam I'll tell on you to the teacher. Then you'll fail and probably be expelled for cheating.
I didn't want to come out and ask him, but I did touch on the subject during lunch. He didn't seem to mind.
My neighbour's dog has always seemed friendly, but it turned on my and bit my hand when I tried to get my son's football back.
|turn into||Become something else|
She was very loving until we got married, then she turned into a cold, loveless harridan.
|wade into||Become involved without planning or thought|
He just waded in to the fight and was one of the first officers to get assaulted.
|wait on||Serve someone|
I could not work as a waiter, waiting on people like a slave or a servant.
My butler is very good and waits on my every need.
|walk (all) over||Treat with contempt or exploit someone; defeat|
Of course I took his money! I walked all over him. If he doesn't have what it takes he shouldn't play poker.
|watch out for||Be careful of someone or something|
Watch out for the gypsies outside the cathedral. They'll try to tell you fortune and steal your wallet at the same time.
|watch over||Monitor someone or something|
A shepherd watches over his flock to make sure the animals don't get into any trouble.
|wriggle out of||Avoid doing something in a sneaky way|
She always manages to wriggle out of any kind of responsibility, yet she gets paid more than any of us.
When faced with a chocolate cake I always yield to temptation and eat it. I've got no willpower.
|zip around||Move quickly|
I go shopping once a week to the supermarket. I don't normally take more than half an hour, zipping around the shelves and filling my trolley.
|zoom in on||Focus closely|
The camera zoomed in on the man's face and I suddenly recognised my brother. I hadn't seen him for years.
|add up||Make sense; match the expected total|
I don't believe her story. It just doesn't add up.
The bill doesn't add up. We didn't drink three bottles of wine - did we?
|back down||To concede defeat|
I was never going to win the argument so I backed down.
Their army was bigger so we had to back down and admit defeat.
|back out||To fail to keep a promise|
I did not want the job so I backed out at the last minute and did not go to the interview.
He promised me the money, but I always knew he would back out and I would never see it.
|back up||(Vehicles) To form a queue because of congestion.|
To move in a backwards direction.
I saw thousands of vehicles backed up on the road. There must have been an accident up ahead.
"Back up!" he shouted. "You can park in here."
|bear up||Stay cheerful when things are getting bad|
I was the character of the British people that allowed them to bear up against the Blitz.
|blow in||Arrive unexpectedly|
She's always late. She'll just blow in as usual.
|blow over||Pass without doing serious harm|
Both sides seemed poised for war, but the situation blew over almost as quickly as it had begun and things went back to normal.
|blow up||Explode; lose one's temper|
I've never seen my boss blow up like that. No wonder he sacked her.
|breeze in/out||Come or go in a casual manner|
She breezed in as if she didn't know she was so late.
|call up||To telephone|
If you need the time of the train you should call up.
|calm down||Become tranquil and calm|
After my boss blew up and sacked his secretary he soon calmed down and the office went back to normal again.
|carry on||Continue as before; Misbehave|
The bomb went off but they carried on working.
I've never seen a child carry on in such a way, kicking and screaming.
|catch on||To understand what is meant or how to do something.|
When I showed him how to heat the metal in the fire he soon caught on and was quickly making them himself.
|catch up||Cover the distance between oneself and a moving goal|
Everyone else had studied for the exam. I had to study all night just to catch up.
Because the hare sat down and rested, the tortoise soon caught up.
|check in||To arrive at and register at a hotel or an airport|
You need to check in one hour before your flight leaves.
If you arrive late at the hotel you can use your credit card to check in.
|check up||To investigate to establish the truth or accuracy of something.|
I don't trust those figures. I'd better check up.
|check out||Pay the bill on leaving a hotel|
"Will you be checking out tomorrow morning?" asked the receptionist.
|cheer up||Make or become less miserable|
Here, have it drink and cheer up. Your long face is making everyone else miserable too.
|chip in||Contribute something|
Everyone chipped in to help pay the bill.
|clean up||Make a spectacular profit in business or gambling|
Remember the dot com boom? I wish I'd been in on it. Some of my friends cleaned up. One of them sold their business for over ten million pounds.
|clear out||Leave quickly|
You'd better clear out before my husband comes home or he's likely to kill you.
|clear up||(Weather) become brighter|
Look there's some blue sky up there. I told you the weather was going to clear up. I think it'll be a sunny day after all.
|come about||Take place; (of a ship) change direction|
My house fell down last night. I don't know how it came about.
"Man overboard!" somebody yelled. "Come about! We've got to find him."
|come along||To accompany; make progress|
I don't want to go to the cinema on my own tonight. Why don't you come along?
We'll soon be able to launch the new boat. It's coming along nicely.
|come back||To return|
Don't worry. All cats go missing now and then. He'll come back.
|come by||Visit someone in his home|
My boss came by today. She hadn't seen my new flat before.
|come out||Appear; make a social debut|
You can come out now, the photographers have gone.
Everyone knew they were gay, but it was only recently that they came out and admitted it.
|come over||Come to someone's house, to where someone is|
I'm having a party tomorrow at my house. Why don't you come over?
Come over! The bridge is perfectly safe now.
|come through||Succeed in surviving or dealing with something|
He was in hospital for months, but he's come through with nothing more than a slight limp.
I desperately needed the money. Thankfully, the bank came through. Now I can afford the operation.
|come to||Regain consciousness|
After six months in a coma it was a miracle she came to. Now she's able to walk and talk as if nothing had happened.
I'm sorry to cut in, but I couldn't help hearing what you were saying.
|die away||Fade; diminish|
The one thing I hate about Autumn is that the flowers all die away. Then everything's so dreary until Spring.
|die down||Fade; diminish|
The fire burned for hours before it finally died down.
|die off/out||Disappear; become extinct|
I hated those spiky hair cuts, the silly clothes and the safety pins. I'm glad Punk died off.
Yes, Punks died out like the dinosaurs. They're extinct!
|draw up||Bring a vehicle to a stop|
The coach drew up outside the church and the bride climbed out. She looked beautiful.
Here's the bus. It's just drawn up.
|dress up||Wear unusual or fancy clothing|
Well, I'm not going to dress up for my wedding. It's going to be a very informal affair.
|drive back||Return by car|
We can go by plane, hire a car when we get there and then drive back home.
|drone on||Talk boringly for a long time|
That was the most boring speech I've ever heard. He just droned on for three hours about how hot it was in Africa.
|drop in/by||Visit informally and briefly|
I was passing your house so I thought I'd drop in (drop by) and see how you are.
|drop out||Stop participating|
I never did finish my degree. I dropped out after the first six months and became a fireman.
|fall behind||Unable to maintain the necessary progress in something|
Some of the walkers fell behind and we had to wait for them.
If you fall behind with your mortgage payments you might lose your home.
It's a brilliant diet. The pounds just fall off. I'll soon be able to get back into all my old clothes.
|fall out||Have an argument|
I'm not speaking to him anymore. He wants to spend money, I want to save it. We can't help but fall out.
|fall through||Fail to be accomplished|
It was a great business idea, but without the money to invest it was bound to fall through. Now we'll have to start again from scratch.
|fill in||Act as substitute|
Mrs Jones couldn't come to school today. She has a cold. Mr Fielding, the head of Mathematics, will fill in for her.
|find out||Discover something|
If you don't know the answer why don't you look in an encyclopaedia and find out.
|flood out||Escape quickly|
When the rain washed away the canal bank the water flooded out and swept away half the valley.
|fly back||Make a return journey by air|
I went to New York on a cruise ship, but we have to fly back.
|fly over||Travel by air to another's location|
I tell you what, I'll fly over to Paris on Friday and we can spend the weekend together.
|get ahead||Be successful in life or career|
So, you want to be a doctor? Well, you need to be intelligent, work hard and study a lot if you want to get ahead. Do that and I'm sure you'll be a success.
|get along||Have a good relationship; manage to survive|
I'm marrying her because we get along so well. We think the same about everything.
We don't have much money, but by careful budgeting we manage to get along.
|get away||Escape from something|
It was a horrible marriage. I just had to get away. Luckily I managed to get the divorce quite quickly.
I hate my job. The only time I'm happy is when I can get away for the weekend.
|get by||Barely manage or make a minimum of effort|
We need every penny we have if we're to get by. There's the gas and electric to pay, too.
He hardly ever studied, but he still passed the exam. I envy people who always manage to get by.
|get in||Gain entry to some place|
It's a very exclusive restaurant, but if you wear a nice jacket and tie I'm sure you'll get in.
|get off||Escape a punishment|
I don't believe it. He admitted causing the accident, but he still got off. Perhaps he bribed the judge.
|get on/along||Make progress; be compatible|
We need that finishing by five o'clock, so you need to get on. You're the only one who knows how to do it.
My brother and I never really got on(along). We were always fighting over something.
|get up||Get out of bed; (wind and sea) become strong and agitated.|
What time do you get up? About nine o'clock.
That wind's got up. I think a storm's coming.
|get through||Endure difficulty|
After the accident he had a terrible time. I don't know how he got through. It made him a stronger man.
|give out||To be completely used up|
I was only a hundred metres from the finish line when the engine gave out. I couldn't even finish the race.
|give up||Stop making an effort; admit defeat|
Okay, you win! I give up. You can do what you want.
She had a promising career as a singer until she decided she'd had enough and just gave up.
|go back||Return the way you came|
I'm sorry, Sir, the road's closed ahead. You'll have to go back.
|go off||Explode; (food) spoil; (alarms) begin to sound|
That bomb's going to go off! Run for your life!
You can't eat this egg, it's gone off. It smells bad.
That alarm's gone off again. I'll never sleep now.
|go on||Continue or persevere|
The show must go on, even if there's only one person in the audience.
|go out||Cease burning; leave your house|
The fire's gone out. No need to call the fire brigade.
I'm going out. I'll be back at three thirty.
|grow up||Become more mature or adult|
What do you want to be when you grow up? I want to be a fireman.
You're acting like a child. You need to grow up!
|hang around||Loiter; waste time doing nothing|
Why don't you kids do something useful instead of hanging around? You're up to no good, I'm sure.
|hang out||Pass time socially|
I hang out in the Dog and Duck public house. That's where I met my wife, Elsie.
|hang up||End a telephone call by cutting the connection|
Oh, no! He's hung up. Well, I suppose I was a bit rude. I'd better call him back and apologise.
|hold on||Cling to; persevere; wait during a phone call|
Just hold on! The rescue team is almost here. We'll soon have you out.
Could you hold on? I'll just check our records.
|hold out||Resist difficult circumstances|
The German army repeatedly attacked the fortress of Verdun, but the valiant French held out.
|keep up||Make progress at the same rate as something else|
Come on! Keep up! You're a long way behind now.
|let up||Relax an effort, become less intense|
He's trying his hardest, you know. I don't think you should keep criticising him. You should let up a little.
|lie down||Adopt a supine position|
Lie down on the couch, Mr Smith, and I'll take a look at that ankle of yours. I think you've probably sprained it.
|look on||Watch without becoming involved|
There was a fight in the street, but the police just looked on as if nothing was happening.
|make out||Make progress with|
I hear you invested in that new computer company. How did you make out?
Oh, I did very well. Nearly doubled my investment.
|make up||Reconcile after an argument or fight|
I don't like arguing with my girlfriend, but I do like making up afterwards.
|move over||To make way for someone or something else|
You'll have to move over, that ambulance needs to go past.
Move over, Darling, you're taking the whole bed.
|on about||Communicating in reference to something|
His explanations are always so complicated that I never know what he's on about. I didn't understand anything he said.
What are you on about?
|pan out||End up or conclude|
How did emigration to Australia pan out for your sister?
Great! She's married now with three children.
|pass out||Lose consciousness; (military) finish training|
That poor soldier! Fancy passing out on your pass out parade. He fell flat on his face.
Old Mr Smedley passed on (away) last Tuesday. His funeral is this afternoon.
|pick up||Improve or increase|
Thank goodness sales have picked up. I thought we might go out of business for a while there.
|pitch in||Work together for a common purpose|
The wheat needed harvesting before the rain came, so we all pitched in.
|play up||Behave badly|
The children have been playing up all evening. They're driving us mad.
|pull in||Stop, halt, come to a stop|
That policeman's holding his hand out. I think he wants you to pull in. You can park just past him, in that lay-by.
|pull out||Withdraw from an undertaking|
Well, that's going to cause a problem. My brother's decided to pull out. Now we need to find someone else who can lend us the thousand pounds.
|pull through||Survive an illness or difficult situation|
If it hadn't been for those clever doctors and their technology I don't think I'd have pulled through. I had some very serious injuries.
|run away||Leave quickly in order to escape something|
When the shooting starts you need to run away as fast as you can.
She never got on with her parents so it's no surprise that she ran away.
|run down||Unwell, exhausted, physically drained|
You look terrible!
I'm just run down. I've been working much too hard lately.
|run off||Escape, abscond|
The prisoner's run off. We'd better start to search the area and see if we can find him.
|sell out||Abandon your principles for convenience|
They say the band has sold out. Their songs had a real message until the record company offered them a big record deal. Now they sound like every other band.
|set forth||Begin a journey|
We set forth after breakfast, our aim to reach the summit before nightfall.
|settle up||Finalise an account, pay what you owe|
You lent me quite a bit of money and I'm grateful. Now I want to settle up. Here's every penny I owe you.
|show off||Boastfully display your abilities or accomplishments|
We all know you can sing and play the piano, so there's no need to show off.
|show up||Arrive for an appointment or meeting|
What time is this to show up for a job interview? You should have been here an hour ago.
|shut up||To stop talking or making a noise|
I thought he would never shut up. His speeches have been known to last three whole hours.
|slow up||To reduce the speed of something (usually a vehicle)|
You're going much too fast for this small road! You had better slow up. Thirty's fast enough for anyone.
|stand by||Watch something without becoming involved; be ready to do something.|
I've been waiting for a heart transplant for years. I'm on constant stand by in case one becomes available.
The police stood by and watched me being attacked.
|stand up||To assume a standing position|
When the officer enters the room, all enlisted men will stand up.
|stay over||Stay for a night at a house or hotel|
Look! The trains have all been cancelled. Why don't you stay over at our house? You can use the spare room.
|step aside/down||To withdraw from a position or office|
I'm sorry we have not made the progress I expected us to. I'm going to step aside as Chairman. Mr Brian Addison will be the new Chairman from Monday.
|take off||To leave in a hurry;(aircraft) to become airborne|
He took off in a hurry and left his passport at home. Now the plane's going to have to take off without him. He'll have to try and catch a later one.
|talk back||To reply in an insolent or defiant manner|
Just listen to what I tell you and don't you dare talk back. I'm the headmaster, not you.
|throw up||To vomit|
No wonder she threw up; she had just drunk over half a bottle of whiskey. It's ruined the carpet and her reputation.
|turn around||Act in a surprisingly different manner to usual|
What a turn around! He's always treated her badly because she's so small and he's a bully. Who would have believed she could shoot him dead like that?
|turn in||Go to bed at night|
I'm exhausted! It's been such a long day! I just can't keep awake any longer so I'm going to turn in. Good night!
|turn out||Prove to be the case; attend a meeting, vote, game|
He didn't get away with it after all, as it turned out. The police arrested him when he turned out to vote in the local election. Silly man!
|turn up||Be found by chance; appear unexpectedly|
The wedding ring turned up in one of those mince pies I'd been baking. George choked to death on it.
You just turn up and expect me to be happy to see you after all these years? Well, I'm not.
|wait up||Delay going to bed|
I'm going to be home after midnight, so don't wait up. I'll let myself in. I've got a key.
|wake up||Emerge from a state of sleep|
It's six o'clock, Darling! Your train leaves at seven. You'd better wake up, or you'll miss it.
|walk back||Return somewhere on foot|
There's no petrol left. Either we wait here and freeze to death or we walk back. I vote that we walk back. It's only five miles.
|watch out||To be careful|
That tree's falling down. If you don't watch out it'll fall on you.
|wear off||Lose effectiveness or intensity|
It's beginning to hurt now. I think the anaesthetic's worn off.
He was a nice boss at the beginning, but I think the novelty's beginning to wear off. Now he's horrible.