Common Separable Phrasal Verbs
Some phrasal verbs are separable. That means we can put an object between the two parts of the phrasal verb. Note that the two parts of a separable phrasal verb must be separated when the object is a pronoun.
Here is a list of common separable phrasal verbs.
Blow up = explode
- The terrorists blew up the bridge.
- They blew it up. (NOT They blew up it.)
Bring up = mention a topic
- Why do you always have to bring up this topic?
Bring up = raise children
- My grandparents brought me up. (NOT My grandparents brought up me.)
- She has to bring up three small children.
Call off = cancel
- They called off the meeting.
To do a job over is to repeat it.
- The teacher asked the boy to do the sum over.
Fill out = complete a form
- Fill out this form and send it in.
Fill up = fill to capacity
- She filled up the can with water.
Find out = discover
- She was devastated when she found out that her husband had been cheating on her.
To give something away is to give it to someone else for free.
- The textile shop was giving away free clothes to attract customers.
Give back = return an object
- When are you going to give me my camera back?
Hand in = submit an assignment etc.
- The students have handed in their papers.
Hang up = put something on hook or receiver
- Before I could say anything she hung up the phone.
To hold something up is to delay it.
- We don’t want to hold up the payment, but unfortunately there is no other way.
Hold up can also mean ‘rob’.
- Gunmen held up the State Bank this afternoon.
Leave out = omit
- The relative pronoun can be left out in a few cases.
Look over = examine, check
- The examiner looked over the answer sheets carefully.
Look up = search in a dictionary
- If you find unfamiliar words, look them up in a dictionary.
Make up = invent a story or lie
- When asked why he was late, the boy made up a story about getting stuck in the traffic jam.
Make out = hear properly, understand
- I couldn’t make out anything that she said.
Pick out = choose
- Pick out the correct answer from the options given below.
Pick up = lift
- She picked the baby up.
- I picked her up.
- They used a crane to pick up the van.
To point something out is to call attention to it.
- Can you point out the spelling mistakes in this essay?
To put something away is to save or store it for future use.
- She put the chocolate boxes away.
- You must put away some money for your retirement.
Put off = postpone
- They have decided to put off the meeting until tomorrow.
Put on = wear clothes
- He put on a sweater.
Put out = extinguish
- The firemen put out the fire before it could spread.
Read over = read again, study, peruse
- I read over the document, but I couldn’t understand anything.
Set up = arrange
- I absolutely love the way you have set up your living room.
Take down = make a written note
- Take down what I say.
Take off = remove clothing
- He took off his shoes and went to bed.
Talk over = discuss
- This is a serious problem. We must talk it over.
Throw away: discard
- Don’t throw away anything useful.