English phrasal verbs
Our phrasal verbs list includes the English phrasal verb, a definition that explains the meaning and an example that uses the phrasal verb in context.
A phrasal verb (also known as a multi-word verb) is made up of a verb and one or two particles (adverb and/or preposition) and operate as a single vocabulary item. Some phrasal verbs are easier to understand from the individual words and others are idiomatic.
Phrasal verbs can be transitive (i.e. they take an object) or intransitive (i.e. they do not). They can also be separable (i.e. verb and particle can be separated) or inseparable (i.e. they cannot). You can read more information about the meaning and form of phrasal verbs.
Politics & elections • Phrasal verbs
Politics and elections is a common topic of discussion in every country and we’ve put together a variety of English phrasal verbs and idioms that are commonly used to describe political events and activities.
to introduce a new law
The government brought in strict new laws to reduce plastic waste.
to hide the truth so that others do not learn about your mistakes or illegal actions.
The employees tried to cover up their mistakes and didn't report them to the directors.
crack down on
to deal with problems in a stricter way
The government needs to crack down on knife crime in the UK.
get away with
to escape punishment or criticism after doing something wrong or in a bad way
My local council tried to get away with a much smaller budget for social housing.
go back on
to not do something that you have agreed or promised to do
Many politicians go back on the promises they make during their election campaign.
to give an idea, opinion or plan for consideration or discussion about someone or something
Scientists have just put forward their latest findings about climate change.
to resign from an official job or position
A government minister has stood down after several allegations of misconduct.
to succeed in persuading someone to agree with you
Our proposal has won over the support of government and local businesses.
Business • Phrasal verbs
We need a wide variety of vocabulary for the workplace and this list includes English phrasal verbs and idioms that are commonly used in speaking and writing for business situations.
to do something different from normal work or activities
We used to sell household electronics and then branched out to offer mobile phones.
to cancel or decide to stop something
Our clients have called off today's meeting.
to permanently stop doing business
A huge number of high street shops have closed down over last decade.
to prepare a written document, such as a contract, list or plan
The company have offered me a job, but they still need to draw up the contract.
describes when something fails to happen
Unfortunately, everything has fallen through with the sale of our company.
to stop employing someone
Thousands of people have been laid off in the retail industry as shops close.
to investigate the facts about something
We need to look into the matter to discover the reasons for massive overspending.
to delay the time or date of a planned event
Our clients have put back this morning's meeting until after lunch.
to become involved in a situation to solve a problem
The boss had to step in when there was a serious disagreement among employees.
to employ someone
Our company is growing quickly and we have taken on a lot of new staff.
Money • Phrasal verbs
Money makes the world go round! This list includes English phrasal verbs and idioms that are commonly used to describe money and payments.
to inherit something after someone has died (e.g. money or land)
She came into a lot of money last year and is buying a second home abroad.
to reluctantly give money for something
I took my car for a service and had to cough up an extra €300 for problems they found.
to reduce money or time that is spent on something
He's saving money for a new car and has cut back on going to restaurants every weekend.
to take an amount of money from savings or reserves
This will be an expensive year, and so we've drawn down some of our life savings.
to spend money on something because you have to.
Our company needs to fork out more money for advertising.
to return money that was borrowed from somebody
Now I've got a good job, I can finally pay back the money my brother lent me.
to give money to someone that you owe for a bill or debt.
I'm going to use my Christmas bonus to pay off my credit cards.
to save money or time for something in the future
We should put some money aside every month for our next holiday.
to charge too much money for something
I was ripped off when I bought my first car. They knew I hadn't done this before.
to create a large bill or debt that must be paid.
They ran up a huge bill at the hotel during their business trip.
to spend a lot of money on something
My friends splashed out for their honeymoon and went on a luxury cruise.
to hide or save money for something in the future
Your parents have been squirrelling away money since they got married.
Telephone • Phrasal verbs
We use our phones every single day and there's a good variety of English phrasal verbs and idioms that are commonly used to describe phone calls.
to phone someone
You should call her up and invite her to dinner.
get back to
to phone someone later
I'll speak to my boss now and then I'll get back to you this afternoon.
to wait for a short time
Please hang on and I'll check if he's available.
to answer the phone
I've called the doctor a few times, but they didn't pick up.
to connect a person on the phone to someone else
Thanks for waiting and I can now put you through.
to speak louder
Can you speak up please? I can't hear you very well.
Tips to remember phrasal verbs
❶ Read the phrasal verb and then read the example sentence.
❷ Try to guess the meaning of the phrasal verb from the example.
❸ Read the definition to check your understanding of the phrasal verb.
❹ Create your own example using the same phrasal verb.
❺ Try to use the phrasal verb when you are practising your English!