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.

Do over

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.

Give away

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.

Hold up

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.

Point out

To point something out is to call attention to it.

  • Can you point out the spelling mistakes in this essay?

Put away

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.

Manjusha Nambiar

Hi, I am Manjusha. This is my blog where I give English grammar lessons and worksheets.

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