Intransitive phrasal verbs cannot take a direct object. Because of this, there are also inseparable.
I’ve brought together a list of over 100 of the most common intransitive phrasal verbs in English to help make your studying of them that much easier.
|Verb||Meaning and Example|
|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.