WHAT IS A PHRASAL VERB?
1) Phrasal verbs, also called two-word verbs, are fixed combinations of a verb and a particle (preposition, adverb or a combination of both) which function as a single verb such as look over, look into, think over. The verb of the phrasal verb must always be placed before the object.
2) Some Phrasal verbs are separable, that is, the verb and particle can be separated by a direct object.
eg.1: She looked over the list.
eg.2: She looked the list over.
3) If the object is a pronoun, the verb and particle must always be separated.
eg.3: She looked it over.
4) If the direct object is long, the verb and particle must never be separated.
eg.4: The director called off the meeting scheduled for one o’clock.
act up (no object): misbehave (for people); not work properly (for machines).
“The babysitter had a difficult time. The children acted up all evening.”
“I guess I’d better take my car to the garage. It’s been acting up lately.”
act like (inseparable): behave in a way that’s like _____ .
“What’s wrong with Bob? He’s acting like an idiot.”
Note: This phrasal verb is very informal.
add up (1. no object): logically fit together.
“His theory is hard to believe, but his research adds up.”
Note: This phrasal verb is often negative.
“His theory seems, at first, to be plausible, but the facts in his research don’t add up.”
add up (2. separable): find the total.
“What’s the total of those bills? Could you add them up and see?”
add up to (inseparable): to total.
“The bills add up to $734.96. That’s more than I expected!”
ask out (separable): ask for a date.
“Nancy has a new boy friend. Joe asked her out last night.”
back down (no object): not follow a threat.
“Tom was going to call the police when I told him I’d wrecked his car, but he backed down when I said I’d pay for the damages.”
back off (no object): not follow a threat.
“Tom was ready to call the police when I told him I’d wrecked his car, but he backed off when I said I’d pay for the damages.”
back up (1. no object): move backward; move in reverse.
“You missed the lines in the parking space. You’ll have to back up and try again.”
“The people waiting in line are too close to the door. We won’t be able to open it unless they back up.”
back up (2. separable): drive a vehicle backwards (in reverse).
“You’re too close! Back your car up so I can open the garage door.”
back up (3. separable): confirm a story, facts, or information.
“If you don’t believe me, talk to Dave. He’ll back me up.”
back up (4. separable): make a “protection” copy to use if there are problems with the original.
“When my computer crashed, I lost many of my files. It’s a good thing I backed them up.”
beg off (no object): decline an invitation; ask to be excused from doing something.
“At first Lily said she would be at the party. Later she begged off.”
blow up (1. separable): inflate.
“We needs lots of balloons for the party. Will you blow them up?”
blow up (2. separable): explode; destroy by exploding.
A: “That old building really came down quickly!”
B: “That’s because the construction company used dynamite to blow it up.”
blow up (3. no object): suddenly become very angry.
“Whe I told Jerry that I’d had an accident with his car, he blew up.”
bone up on (inseparable): review / study thoroughly for a short time.
“If you’re going to travel to Peru, you’d better bone up on your Spanish.”
break down (1. separable): separate something into component parts.
“We spent a lot of money at the supermarket. When we broke the total cost down, we spent more on cleaning supplies than food.”
break down (2. no object): stop working / functioning.
“Sharon will be late for work today. Her car broke down on the freeway.”
break in (1. often no object; with an object, break into–inseparable): enter by using force (and breaking a lock, window, etc.)
“Jane’s apartment was burglarized last night. Someone broke in while Jane was at the movies.” / “Somebody broke into Jane’s apartment while she was at the movies.
break in (2. separable): wear something new until it’s / they’re comfortable.
“These are nice shoes, but they’re too stiff. I hope it doesn’t take too long to break them in.”
break in (3. separable): train; get someone / something accustomed to a new routine.
“I hope I can learn my new job quickly. The manager hasn’t scheduled much time for breaking me in.”
break up (1. no object): disperse; scatter.
“What time did the party break up last night?”
break up (2. usually no object; with an object, break up with [inseparable)]): end a personal relationship.
“Tim and Julie aren’t going steady any more. They got really angry with each other and broke up.”
“Have you heard the news? Julie broke up with Tim!”
“I’m sorry to hear that their marriage broke up. I’m sure the divorce will be difficult for the children.”
bring / take back (separable): return something.
“Yes, you can borrow my pen, don’t forget to bring it back to me when you’re finished.”
“This book is due tomorrow. I guess I should take it back to the library.”
bring off (separable): accomplish something difficult; accomplish something people had considered impossible or unlikely.
“No one thought Chuck could get an A in that course, but he brought it off. ”
bring up (1. separable): mention (as a topic of discussion).
“We planned to discuss overtime pay in the meeting. Why didn’t someone bring that topic up?”
bring up (2. separable): raise; rear.
“Lucy’s parents died when she was a baby. Her grandparents brought her up.”
brush up on (inseparable): review / study thoroughly for a short time.
“If you’re going to travel to Peru, you’d better brush up on your Spanish.”
burn down (no object): become destroyed / consumed by fire.
Note: For upright things–trees, buildings, etc.–only.
“Lightning struck Mr. Kennedy’s barn last night. It burned down before the fire fighters arrived.”
burn up (1. no object): become destroyed / consumed by fire.
Note: For people and non-upright things only.
“All of Mr. Kennedy’s hay burned up when his barn burned down.”
burn up (2. separable): cause someone to become very angry.
“Did you hear how rudely Fred talked to me? That really burned me up!”
butt in (no object): impolitely interrupt (a conversation, an action).
“Hey, you! Don’t butt in! Wait for your turn!”
butter up (separable): praise someone excessively with the hope of getting some benefit.
“I guess Marty reall wants to be promoted. He’s been buttering his boss up all week.”
call off (separable): cancel something that has been scheduled.
“We don’t have school today. The mayor called classes off because of the snow.”
call on (inseparable): ask someone for an answer in class.
“I don’t know why the teacher never calls on you. You always know the answer.”
calm down (with or without an object; with an object, separable): become calm / less agitated or upset; help someone become calm / less agitated or upset.
“Why are you so upset? Suzie didn’t intend to spill orange juice on you. Calm down!”
“I know Ralph is upset, but can you calm him down? He’s making so much noise that he’s irritating everyone in the office.”
(not) care for (1. inseparable): like; want.
Note: This phrasal verb is usually negative, though it may be used affirmatively in questions.
A: “Would you care for something to drink? We have coffee, tea, or orange juice.”
B: “Could I have water, please? I don’t care for coffee, tea, or juice.”
care for (2. inseparable): take care of; supply care to; attend / watch..
“Amy’s father got out of the hospital last week. The family is caring for him at home.”
catch on (no object): develop understanding or knowledge of something.
“Bill had never used a computer until he took this class, but he caught on very quickly and is now one of the best students.”
catch up (with) (often without an object; with an object, inseparable): stop being behind.
“Terry stopped to rest for a few minutes. He’ll catch up / catch up with us later.”
check in(to) (inseparable): register for / at a hotel, conference, etc.; let someone know officially that you have arrived.
“My plane will arrive around 5:00 PM. I should be able to check into the hotel by 6:00 or 6:30.”
“When you arrive at the convention, be sure to check in at the registration desk.”
check off (separable): make a mark to indicate that something on a list has been completed.
“Here are the things you need to do. Please check each one off when you’ve finished it.”
check out (of) (1. inseparable): follow procedures for leaving (a hotel, etc.)
“Don’t forget to take your room key to the front desk when you check out (when you check out of the hotel).”
check out (2. separable): follow procedures for borrowing something (usually for a limited period of time).
“I’m sorry, but you can’t take that encyclopedia home. The library won’t allow you to check reference books out.”
cheer up (separable): help someone feel less worried / depressed / sad.
“Suzie’s brother was depressed about not getting a promotion, so she sent him a funny card to cheer him up.”
chew out (separable): scold someone severely; berate.
“Tom’s father was really angry when Tom didn’t come home until 3:00 AM. He chewed Tom out and then said Tom had to stay at home for two weeks.”
chicken out (no object): lose the courage or confidence to do something–often at the last minute.
“Sam said he was going to ask Lulu for a date, but he chickened out.”
chip in (inseparable): contribute / donate (often money) to something done by a group.
“We’re going to buy a birthday cake for our boss and I’m collecting donations. Do you want to chip in?”
clam up (inseparable): suddenly become quiet / refuse to talk about something.
“Lila wouldn’t talk about the accident. When I asked her what happened, she clammed up.”
come across (inseparable): find (unexpectedly).
“I’ve lost my extra car keys. If you come across them while your’re
cleaning the room, please put them in a safe place.”
come down with _____ (inseparable): become ill with _____ .
“George won’t be at the office today. He came down with the flu over the weekend.”
come to (1. inseparable): total.
“Your charges come to $124.38. Will you pay by check, in cash, or
with a credit card?”
come to (2. no object): regain consciousness.
“When I told Gina that she’d won a million dollars, she fainted. When she
came to, I told her it was a joke and she almost hit me!”
count on (inseparable): depend on; trust that something will happen or that someone
will do as expected.
“I’m counting on you to wake me up tomorrow. I know I won’t hear the alarm.”
cross out (separable): show that something written is wrong or unnecessary by making an X across it.
“We can’t afford to buy everything on your shopping list, so I’ve crossed all the unnecessary things out.”
cut back (on) (often without an object; with an object, cut back on [inseparable]): use less of something.
“You drink too much coffee. You should cut back.”
“You should cut back on the amount of coffee that you drink.”
do in (1. separable): cause to become very tired.
“The Ajax and Tip-Top Banks have decided to merge. Their lawyers will draw all the official documents up sometime this month.”
do in (2. separable): to kill; to murder.
“The said that the murdered man was done in between 10 and 11 o’clock last night.”
do over (separable): do something again.
“Oh, no! I forgot to save my report before I turned the computer off! Now I’ll have to do it over!”
drag on (no object): last much longer than expected or is necessary.
“I thought the meeting would be a short one, but it dragged on for more than three hours.”
draw up (separable): create a formal document.
“The Ajax and Tip-Top Banks have decided to merge. Their lawyers will draw all the official documents up sometime this month.”
drop off (separable): deliver something; deliver someone (by giving him/her a ride).
“Yes, I can take those letters to the post office. I’ll drop them off as I go home from work.”
“You don’t have to take a taxi. You live fairly close to me, so I’ll be happy to drop you off.”
drop in (on) (inseparable): visit informally (and usually usually without scheduling a specific time).
“If you’re in town next month, we’d love to see you. Please try to drop in. (Please try to drop in on us.”
drop by (inseparable): visit informally (and usually without scheduling a specific time).
“If you’re in town next month, we’d love to see you. Please try to drop by the house.”
drop out (of) (inseparable): stop attending / leave school or an organization.
“No, Paul isn’t at the university. He dropped out. / He dropped out of school.”
draw out (separable): prolong something (usually far beyond the normal limits).
“I thought that speech would never end. The speaker could have said everything important in about five minutes, but he drew the speech out for over an hour!”
eat out (no object): have a meal in a restaurant.
“I’m too tired to cook tonight. Why don’t we eat out?”
egg on (separable): urge / encourage greatly toward doing something (usually something negative).
“At first Bob and Chuck were just having a mild argument, but Bob’s friends egged them on until they started fighting.”
end up (1. no object): finally arrive at; arrive at an unexpected place.
“We got lost last night and ended up in the next town.”
end up (2. no object): arrive somewhere as a result or consequence.
“You’re working too hard. If you don’t take it easy, you’ll end up in the hospital!”
face up to (inseparable): admit to; take responsibility for.
“You can’t pretend that you’re doing OK in this course, Joe. Sooner or later, you’ll have to face up to the fact that you’re failing it.”
fall through (no object): not happen. (Note: describes something that was planned but didn’t happen.)
“We had originally intended to go to Mexico for our vacation, but our trip fell through when I got sick.”
feel up to (inseparable): feel strong enough or comfortable enough to do something.
“I know the accident was a terrible shock. Do you feel up to talking about it?”
figure out (1. separable): logically find the answer to a problem; solve a problem by thinking about it carefully.
“For a long time I couldn’t understand the last problem, but I finally figured it out.”
figure out (2. separable): understand why someone behaves the way she/he does.
“I can’t figure Margie out. Sometimes she’s very warm and friendly and sometimes she acts as if she doesn’t know me.”
fill in (1. separable): add information to a form.
“The office needs to know your home address and phone number. Could you fill them in on this form?”
fill in (on) (2. separable): supply information that someone doesn’t know.
“I wasn’t able to attend the meeting yesterday, but I understand that it was important. Could you fill me in? / Could you fill me in on what was discussed?”
fill in for (inseparable): temporarily do someone else’s work; temporarily substitute for another person.
“Professor Newton is in the hospital and won’t be able to teach for the rest of the term. Do you know who’s going to fill in for her?”
fill out (1. separable): complete a form by adding required information.
“Of course I completed my application! I filled it out and mailed it over three weeks ago!”
fill out (2. no object): become less thin; gain weight.
“Jerry used to be really skinny, but in the last year he’s begun to fill out.”
find out (about) (inseparable): learn / get information (about).
“I’m sorry that you didn’t know the meeting had been canceled. I didn’t find out (find out about it) myself until just a few minutes ago.”
get across (separable): make something understood; communicate something understandably.
“Alan is really intelligent but sometimes he has problems getting his ideas across.”
get along (with) (inseparable): have a friendly relationship (with); be friendly (toward).
“Why can’t you and your sister get along? Everyone else gets along with her just fine!”
get around (1. inseparable): avoid having to do something.
“Teresa got around the required math classes by doing well on a math proficiency test.”
get around (2. no object): move from place to place.
“She doesn’t have a car. She gets around by bicycle, bus, or taxi.”
get around to (inseparable): do something eventually.
“I really should wash the dishes, but I don’t feel like it. Maybe I’ll get around to them tomorrow morning.”
get by (no object): survive, financially, in a difficult situation.
“It’s going to be hard to pay the rent now that you’ve lost your job, but somehow we’ll get by.”
get in (1. inseparable): enter a small, closed vehicle.
“I don’t know where Carole was going. She just got in her car and drove away.”
get in (2. no object): arrive.
“Do you know what time Fred’s plane gets in?”
get on (inseparable): enter a large, closed vehicle.
“I’m sorry, but you’re too late to say goodbye to Angela. She got on the plane about 20 minutes ago.”
get off (1. inseparable): leave a large, closed vehicle.
“When you get off the bus, cross the street, turn right on Oak Street, and keep going until you’re at the corner of Oak and Lincoln Boulevard.”
get off (2. separable): be excused (for a period of time) from work, class, or other regularly scheduled activities.
“Some schools got President’s Day off but ours didn’t. We had classes as usual.”
get off (3. separable): make it possible for someone to avoid punishment.
“Everyone knew he was guilty, but his lawyer was clever and got him off.”
get out of (1. inseparable): leave a small, closed vehicle.
“There’s something wrong with the garage door opener. You’ll have to get out of the car and open it by hand.”
get out of (2. inseparable): escape having to do something.
“Lisa said she had a terrible headache and got out of giving her speech today.”
get over (1. no object): finish. (Note: for individual activities, not ones that happen again and again.)
“What time do your classes get over?”
get over (2. inseparable): recover from an illness or painful experience.
“Katy was really upset when she failed the test. She thought she would never get over feeling so stupid.”
get rid of (1. inseparable): dispose of; give away or throw away.
“That shirt is really ugly. Why don’t you get rid of it?”
get rid of (2. inseparable): dismiss someone; fire someone from a job; cause someone to leave.
“The treasurer of the XYZ company was spending too much money so the company president got rid of him.”
get up (usually no object; with an object, separable): leave bed after sleeping and begin your daily activities.
“You’ll have to get up much earlier than usual tomorrow. We have to leave by no later than 6:00 AM.”
“I know I won’t hear the alarm tomorrow morning. Can you get me up at 6:00 AM?”
give up (1. separable): stop doing something (usually a habit).
“He knows smoking isn’t good for his health, but he can’t give it up.”
give up (2. no object): decide not to try (unsuccessfully) to solve a problem.
A: “What’s black and white and red all over?”
B: “I give up. What?”
A: “An embarrassed zebra!”
go out with (inseparable): have a date with.
“You went out with Sharon last night, didn’t you?”
go with (1. no object): look pleasing together. (Note: for clothes, furniture, etc.)
“You should buy that shirt. It will go well with your dark brown suit.”
go with (2. no object): date regularly and steadily.
“Is Gina going with Jim? I see them together all the time.”
goof off (no object): be lazy; do nothing in particular.
A: “Do you have any special plans for your vacation?”
B: “No. I’m just going to stay home and goof off.”
grow up (1. no object): spend the years between being a child and being an ……
“Did you know that Frank grew up in Malaysia?”
grow up (2. no object): behave responsibly; behave as an ….., not a child.
A: “Lee really irritates me sometimes. He’s really silly and childish.”
B: “I agree. I wish he would grow up.”
hand in (separable): submit homework, an assignment, etc.
“You’d better get started on your report. You know that you have to hand it in at 8:30 tomorrow morning!”
hand out (separable): distribute.
“Why don’t you have a course description and list of assignments? The teacher handed them out on the first day of class.”
hang up (no object): end a phone conversation by replacing the receiver.
“I’d like to talk longer, but I’d better hang up. My sister needs to make a call.”
have to do with (inseparable): be about.
“This class has to do with the behavior of people in groups.”
hold up (1. separable): raise; lift to a higher-than-normal position.
“The winner of the race proudly held his trophy up for all to see.”
hold up (2. separable): delay.
“I’m sorry I’m late. There was an accident on the freeway and traffic held me up.”
hold up (3. separable): rob; threaten someone with harm unless he/she gives her/his money or other valuable things.
“Sarah is very upset. When she was walking home last night, two men held her up and took her purse and jewelry.”
iron out (separable): mutually reach an agreement; mutually resolve difficulties
“Yes, I know we disagree on lots of things, Susan, but we can iron them out.”
jack up (1. separable): raise / life by using a jack.
“We’ll have to jack the back of the car up before we can change the tire.”
jack up (2. separable): raise (used for prices).
“The car dealer bought my old Ford for $750 and jacked the price up to $1,500 when they sold it.”
jump all over (inseparable): severely scold someone; berate someone.
“Arthur is really upset. His boss jumped all over him because he’s been late for work three times this week.”
keep on (1. inseparable–followed by an -ing verb): continue
“I’m not ready to stop yet. I think I’ll keep on working for a while.”
keep on (someone) (2. inseparable): continue to remind someone to do something until he/she does it (even if this irritates her/him).
“Bill’s very forgetful. You’ll have to keep on him or he’ll never do all the things you want him to do.”
kick out (separable): expel; force someone to leave because of his/her poor performance or unacceptable behavior.
“Jim’s club kicked him out because he didn’t pay his dues or come to meetings.”
knock out (separable): make unconscious.
“The boxing match ended when one boxer knocked the other one out.”
“That medicine really knocked me out. I slept for 14 hours straight!”
knock oneself out (separable): work much harder than normal or than what is expected.
“We completed the project on timebecause of Chuck. He knocked himself out to be sure we didn’t miss the deadline.”
lay off (separable): dismiss someone from a job because of lack of work or money (not because of poor performance)
“I feel really sorry Sally’s family. Her father was laid off yesterday.”
leave out (separable): forget; omit.
“Oh, no! When I made the list of those who attended the meeting, I left your name out!”
let down (separable): disappoint.
“I know I let you down when I didn’t do what I promised. I’m really sorry.”
let up (no object): become less intense or slower.
“It’s been raining hard for a long time. Will it ever let up?”
look back on (inseparable): remember; reflect on / consider something in the past.
“When they looked back on their many years together, they realized that their marriage had been a very happy one.”
look down on (inseparable): hold in contempt; regard as inferior.
“It’s not surprising that Fred has few friends. He seems to look down on anyone who doesn’t like the same things that he does.”
look forward to (inseparable): anticipate pleasantly; think about a pleasant thing before it happens
“I’m really looking forward to vacation. I can’t wait for it to begin!”
look in on (inseparable): visit in order to check something’s / someone’s condition.
“My father just came home from the hospital. I plan to look in on him today after I finish work.”
look into (inseparable): investigate / get more details about something.
“Someone said there was a meeting at 9:30 but I haven’t heard anything about it. Shall I look into it?”
look like (inseparable): resemble (in appearance).
“Does he look like his father or his mother?”
look over (separable): check; review.
“I think I may have some typos in this report. Could you look it over?”
look up (1. separable): find something in a reference work.
“I’m sorry, but I don’t know what that word means. I’ll have to look it up.”
look up (2. separable): find where someone lives or works and visit him/her.
“Thanks for giving me your brother’s address. When I’m in Chicago next month, I’ll be sure to look him up.”
look up to (inseparable): respect.
“Everyone looks up to Joyce because she always makes time to help others.”
luck out (no object): be unexpectedly lucky.
“Gloria was worried because she wasn’t prepared to give a report at the meeting, but she lucked out because the meeting was postponed.”
make fun of (inseparable): make jokes about (usually unkindly).
“I agree that Bob looks ridiculous since he shaved his head, but don’t make fun of him. You’ll hurt his feelings.”
make up (1. separable): invent / create (imaginary) information.
“Judy’s story is hard to believe. I’m sure she made it up.”
make up (2. separable): compensate for something missed or not done by doing extra or equivalent work.
“I’m sorry I missed the test. May I make it up?”
make up (with) (3. inseparable): re-establish a friendly relationship by admitting guilt.
“Jack and his girlfriend were very angry with each other, but last night they finally made up.”
“Jack and his girlfriend were very angry with each other, but last night they finally made up with each other.”
make out (separable): see / hear something well enough to understand what it means. (Note: often negative.)
“Ruth’s writing is very small. I almost need a magnify glass to make it out.”
“What were the last two examples that he gave? I couldn’t make them out.”
make for (1. inseparable): go to or toward.
“Her teen-aged children are always hungry. As soon as they arrive home from school, they make for the refrigerator.”
make for (2. inseparable): result in; cause.
“Many hands make for light work. (If many people work together, there’s less work for everyone.)”
mark up (separable): increase the price (for resale).
“Mrs. White’s import shop is profitable because she buys things inexpensively and then marks them up.”
mark down (separable): reduce the price (as an incentive to buy).
“These shoes were really a bargain! The store marked them down by 40%!”
mix up (separable): cause to become confused.
“I didn’t complete the assignment because I didn’t know how. The directions mixed me up.”
nod off (no object): fall sleep (usually unintentionally).
“The speech was so boring that several people in the audience nodded off before it was finished.”
pan out (no object): succeed; happen as expected (for plans). (Note: almost always negative when in statements.)
“I’ll be here next week after all. My trip to Chicago didn’t pan out.”
pass away (no object): die.
“I was very sorry to hear that your grandfather passed away.”
pass out (1. no object): faint; lose consciousness.
“When Ella heard that she’d won a million dollars, she was so shocked that she passed out.”
pass out (2. separable): distribute.
“Everyone in the room needs one of these information sheets. Who will help me pass them out?”
pick out (separable): choose; select.
“Billy’s grandmother especially liked her birthday card because Billy had picked it out himself.”
pick up (1. separable): lift; take up.
“Those books don’t belong on the floor. Will you help me pick them up?”
pick up (2. separable): arrange to meet someone and give her/him a ride.
“Of course we can go there together. What time should I pick you up?”
pick up (3. separable): get; buy.
“The children just drank the last of the milk. Could you pick some more up on your way home this evening?”
pick up (4. separable): refresh; revitalize.
“He was feeling a little tired, so he drank a glass of orange juice. It picked him up enough to finish his work.”
pick on (inseparable): bully; intentionally try to make someone upset.
“You should be ashamed of teasing your little brother, Bob! Pick on someone your own size!”
pitch in (no object): help; join together to accomplish something.
“We’ll be finished soon if everyone pitches in.”
pull over (no object): drive a vehicle to the side of the rode.
“When the policeman indicated that I should pull over, I knew he was going to give me a ticket.”
put away (separable): return something to the proper place.
“I just took these clothes out of the dryer. Will you help me put them away?”
put off (1. separable): postpone; delay; avoid
“I can’t put this work off any longer. If I don’t do it soon, it’ll be impossible to finish it in time.”
“When will Mr. Smith agree to a meeting? I keep asking for an appointment, but he keeps putting me off.”
put on (1. separable): begin to wear; don.
“It’s a little bit chilly outside. You’d better put a sweater on.”
put on (2. separable): try to make someone believe something that is ridiculous or untrue.
“Don’t believe a word of what Jim was saying. He was just putting us on.”
put (someone) out (separable): inconvenience someone.
“I hate to put you out, but I need a ride to the train station and hope you can take me.”
put up (1. separable): return something to the proper place.
“Your toys are all over the floor, Timmy. Please put them up.”
put up (2. separable): provide someone with a place to sleep.
“There’s no need for you to check into a hotel. I’ll be happy to put you up.”
put up with (inseparable): tolerate.
“It’s really important to come to work on time. The boss won’t put up with tardiness.”
put back (separable): return something to the proper place.
“I’ve finished with these books. Do you want me to put them back on the shelves?”
rip off (separable): cheat; take advantage of; charge too much.
“Don’t even think about buying a car there. They’ll rip you off.”
round off (separable): change from a fraction to the nearest whole number.
“Round all prices off to the closest whole-dollar amounts. For example, round $33.73 off to $34.00.”
run into (inseparable): meet by chance.
“Yesterday at the supermarket, Jan ran into her former roommate. Before yesterday, they hadn’t seen each other for nearly five years.”
run out of (inseparable): use the last of.
“On the way home from work, Art ran out of gas.”
set up (separable): make arrangements for something.
“You’ll see Mr. Thomas tomorrow. I’ve set a meeting up for 9:30 AM.”
set back (1. separable): cause a delay in scheduling.
“We’ve had some problems with the project that have set us back at least two days . We’ll give you a progress report tomorrow.”
set back (2. separable): cost.
“I wonder how much Bill’s new car set him back?”
slip up (no object): make a mistake.
“You slipped up here. The amount should be $135.28, not $132.58.”
stand out (no object): be noticeably better than other similar people or things.
“Good job, Ann! Your work really stands out!”
stand up (1. no object): rise to a standing position.
“When the Chairperson entered the room, everyone stood up.”
stand up (2. separable): make a date but not keep it.
“Angela was supposed to go to the dance with Fred, but she stood him up and went with Chuck instead.”
show up (1. no object): arrive; appear.
“The boss was very upset when you didn’t show up for the meeting. What happened?”
show up (2. separable): do a noticeably better job (often unexpectedly) than someone else.
“Everyone thought Marsha would win, but Jean did. Actually, Jean really showed Marsha up.”
stand for (1. no object): represent.
“These letters seem to be an abbreviation. Do you know what they stand for?”
stand for (2. inseparable): tolerate; permit (usually negative).
“I’m not surprised that Mrs. Johnson rejected your report. She won’t stand for shoddy work.”
take after (inseparable): resemble; favor (in appearance).
Note: used for people.
“Both my sister and I take after our father.”
take / bring back (separable): return.
“This book is due tomorrow. I guess I should take it back to the library.”
“Yes, you can borrow my pen, but don’t forget to bring it back to me when you’re finished.”
take care of (1. inseparable): provide care for; watch one’s health.
“Lois has been taking care of her father since he returned home from the hospital.”
“You’ve been working too hard lately. You’d better take care of yourself!”
take care of (2. ineparable): make arrangements (for something to happen); take responsibility for.
“Will you take care of making reservations for our flight to Boston?”
take off (1. separable): remove (something you’re wearing).
“Please take your hat off when you go inside a building.”
take off (2. no object): leave; depart (often suddenly or quickly).
“Was something wrong with Jill? She took off without saying goodbye.”
“When does your plane take off?”
take off (3. separable): make arrangements to be absent from work.
“Susan isn’t here today. She’s taking today and tomorrow off.”
take up (separable): begin (a hobby or leisure-time activity).
A: “Do you like to ski?”
B: “I’ve never been skiing, but I think I’d like to take it up.”
tell (someone) off (separable): speak to someone bluntly and negatively, saying exactly what she/he did wrong.
“Julie was really angry at Bob; she told him off in front of all of us.”
tick off (1. separable): irritate someone; make someone upset or angry.
“It really ticks her off when someone is late for an appointment.”
tick off (2. separable): show that something has been completed by putting a tick (check) beside it.
“Here are the things you need to do. Tick each one off when you finish it.”
throw away (separable): discard; put in the garbage.
“You shouldn’t throw those newspapers away; they’re recyclable.”
throw out (1. separable): discard; put in the garbage.
“This food smells bad. You’d better throw it out.”
throw out (2. separable): forcibly make someone leave (usually because of bad behavior).
“Those people are drunk and making everyone uncomfortable. The manager should throw them out.”
throw up (usually no object; with an object, separable): vomit.
“Paul was so nervous about his job interview that he threw up just before he left for it.”
try on (separable): wear something briefly to check its fit, how it looks, etc.
“I’m not sure that jacket is large enough. May I try it on?”
try out (separable): use a machine briefly to determine how well it works.
“I really like the way this car looks. May I try it out?”
try out (for) (inseparable): try to win a place on a team or other organization.
“I know you want to be on the football team. Are you going to try out?”
“If you like to sing, you should try out for the choir.
turn around (1. usually no object): move so that you are facing the opposite direction.
“Everyone turned around and stared when I entered the meeting late.”
turn around (2. separable): move so that someone / something is facing the opposite direction.
“I don’t want this chair facing the window. Will you help me turn it around?”
turn around (3. separable): make changes so that something that was unprofitable is profitable.
“The company was doing poorly until it hired a new president. He turned it around in about six months and now it’s doing quite well.”
turn down (1. separable): decrease the volume.
“Your music is giving me a headache! Please turn it down or use your headphones!”
turn down (2. separable): refuse.
“I thought I could borrow some money from Joe, but when I asked, he turned me down.”
turn in (1. separable): give / deliver / submit to someone.
“I’ve written my report, but I haven’t turned it in.”
turn in (2. no object): go to bed.
“I’m pretty tired. I guess I’ll turn in.”
turn in (3. separable): report or deliver wrongdoers to the authorities.
“Two days after the robbery, the thieves turned themselves in.”
turn off (1. separable): stop by turning a handle or switch.
“I’m cold. Do you mind if I turn the air conditioner off?”
turn off (2. separable): bore; repel (very informal).
“That music turns me off. Please play something else!”
turn on (1. separable): start by turning a handle or switch.
“It’s cold in here. I’m going to turn the heater on”
turn on (2. separable): interest very much; excite (very informal).
“What kind of music turns you on?”
turn up (1. separable): increase the volume.
“I can barely hear the TV. Can you turn it up a little?”
turn up (2. no object): appear unexpectedly.
“We were all surprised when Pam turned up at the party. We didn’t even know she was in town.”
wait on (1. inseparable): serve (usually customers in a restaurant, shop, etc.)
“I want to make a complaint. The person who just waited on me was very impolite.”
wait for (inseparable): wait until someone / something arrives or is finished with something else.
“When will Kenny be finished with work? I’ve been waiting for him for almost an hour!”
“I’m tired of waiting for the bus. I guess I’ll take a taxi instead.”
wake up (1. no object): stop sleeping.
“I usually wake up around 5:00 AM each day.”
wake up (2. separable): rouse someone; cause someone to stop sleeping.
“I have an important meeting tomorrow and I’m afraid I won’t hear my alarm. Will you wake me up at 6:00 AM?”
watch out for (inseparable): be careful of; beware of.
“There’s a school at the end of this block. Watch out for children crossing the street.”
“If you take that road, watch out for ice during the winter.”
wear out (1. separable): wear something / use something until it can no longer be worn / be used.
“I need a new pencil sharpener. I wore this one out.”
“I suppose I should get some new shoes. I’ve almost worn this pair out.”
wear out (2. separable): cause to become exhausted; cause to become very tired.
“I had four different meetings today. They wore me out.”
“I suppose I should get some new shoes. I’ve almost worn this pair out.”
work out (1. no object): exercise (usually in a gym, etc.) to build muscles, body tone, etc.
“Instead of eating lunch on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Sheila goes to the recreation center to work out.”
work out (2. separable): solve a problem / resolve a difficult situation (usually by working together).
“I know we disagree on many points, but I believe we can work things out.”
wrap up (1. no object): wear enough clothes to keep warm.
“It’s really cold today. Be sure you wrap up when you leave the house.”
wrap up (2. separable): finish something; bring something to a conclusion.
“We’ve been talking about the problem for nearly three hours.
I hope we’ll be able to wrap the discussion up soon.”
write down (separable): record something in writing.
“Could you tell me your e-mail address again? I want to write it down.”
write up (separable): record; report in writing.
“You’ll need to make a report on your business meetings. Be sure you write them up as soon as possible after you return from your trip.”
zonk out (no object): fall asleep quickly because of exhaustion.
“I intended to go shopping after work, but I was so tired that I zonked out as soon as I got home.”