Phrasal verbs have a main verb plus one or two prepositions which are part of that verb.
Sometimes the meaning of phrasal verbs is clear: He got down on his knees and picked up the piece of paper from the floor.
Sometimes it is not so clear. Here are some phrasal verbs that you should know.
break down: Our car broke down on the way to the airport.
break into: Thieves broke into the house and stole some jewellery.
break up: Sam and Lisa have broken up. (no longer married) / School breaks up next week. (finishes for the holidays).
bring up: The children were brought up to tell the truth.
call in: She called in to see her grandmother on the way home from work.
carry on: Everyone carried on working when the headteacher walked in.
come down: Digital cameras have come down in price. (got cheaper)
come on: Come on or we’ll be late! (Hurry up)
cross out: If you make a mistake, just cross it out.
fill in: Please fill in your name and address on this form.
fill up: He filled up the car with petrol at the garage.
find out: I’ll just find out when the train leaves.
get along / on (with): How does Jan get along with her parents-in-law?
get down: The reporter got all the details down in a notebook. (wrote)
get on with: The builders are getting on with the house. (making progress)
get on: How did you get on at the dentist’s? (How was it?)
get rid of: I got rid of my old clothes to make room for my new ones.
give in: Give in your homework on Monday morning. / Her parents gave in and let her have a mobile phone. / After parents gave in and let her have a mobile phone.
give up: After he hurt his knee, Brian had to give up football.
give way: In some countries, you give way to traffic from the right. (wait for)
go for: The dog went for the postman. (attacked) / Go for it! (Do it!)
go with: This jacket goes with my new trousers. (matches)
grow up: Joan grew up in Hong Kong.
hand in: He handed the money in at the police station.
hang up: He hung up at the end of the phone call.
hold up: Sorry I’m late – I was held up in the traffic. (delayed)
join in: Everybody joined in singing the song.
keep in: The children were kept in at break time as a punishment for behaving badly.
keep on: He kept on knocking but nobody came to the door.
knock out: The boxer was knocked out in the first round.
leave out: I left out the last question on the paper because I didn’t have time. (didn’t do)
look after: My mother looks after my baby one day a week.
look forward to: The children were all looking forward to the birthday party.
look out: Look out! There’s a car coming. (be careful)
look up: I looked up the spelling in a dictionary. (checked)
make sure: Make sure that you’ve turned the heater off before you leave the room.
pick up: Can you pick me up on your way to college? (give a lift) / I picked up a newspaper at the railway station. (bought)
plug in: The television isn’t working because it’s not plugged in!
put off: The test was put off until the following week as so many students were absent.
put out: Put out the lights when you leave.
run out of: I can only offer you black coffee as we’ve run out of milk.
set off / out: The sun was shining when they set off for their walk.
set up: The organization was set up fifty years ago. (started)
sort out: I need to sort out these papers.
take off: The plane took off four hours late.
take part in: Would you like to take part in a quiz?
take place: It will take place in the school hall.
take up: She took up teaching as a career.
try on: Could I try on this pair of shoes?
throw away: Don’t throw the newspaper away. I haven’t read it yet.
tidy up: Tidy up the kitchen when you’ve finished cooking, please.
turn down: John asked Maria to the cinema but she turned him down. (refused).
wear off: The pain is wearing off now. (becoming less)
wear out: I need some new boots. This pair is worn out.