Important Phrasal Verbs
Here is a list of the most commonly used phrasal verbs in English. Each phrasal verb is followed by its meaning / definition and example sentences. Note that a phrasal verb can be separable or non-separable.
Ask out (separable)
To ask out is to ask someone to go on a date with you.
- I asked her out but she said ‘no’.
- I am going to keep asking her out until she says ‘yes’.
Bring about (separable)
To bring something about is to cause it to happen.
- It was the invention of the steam engine that brought about the industrial revolution.
Bring up (separable)
1) look after during childhood 2) cause something to be considered 3) vomit
- He was brought up by his grandmother.
- She brought up an interesting proposal.
Call back (separable)
Return a telephone call
- I will call you back.
Call in (separable)
Ask someone to come to a place for a special reason
- We have called the doctor in. (= We have asked the doctor to come.)
Call off (separable)
To call something off is to cancel it.
- She has called off her wedding.
Call on (non-separable)
1) visit 2) ask a student a question in class
- Jane called on me yesterday. (NOT Jane called me on yesterday.)
Call up (separable)
To call somebody up is to call them on the telephone.
- I will call you up when I have time.
Catch up with (non-separable)
To catch up with somebody is to reach the same position or level as them.
- Her husband is struggling to catch up with her.
Check in (non-separable)
To check in is to register at a hotel.
- They checked in at 8 am.
Check into (non-separable)
To check into something is to investigate it.
- The officer said that he would check into the matter.
Check out (separable)
1) borrow a book from a library 2) complete a purchase by making payment 3) examine
- Here is an article you might like. Check it out.
Cheer up (separable)
To cheer somebody up is to make them happier.
- Her kind words cheered me up.
- I will buy you an ice cream if that will cheer you up.
Clean up (separable)
Make clean and orderly
- Clean up the room after you have finished working.
Come across (non-separable)
To come across something is to find it by chance.
- The other day, I came across an old friend of mine.
- While reading the newspaper, I came across an interesting advert.
Cross out (separable)
To cross something out is to draw a line through it.
- Cross out the wrong answers.
Cut off (separable)
To cut something off is to stop, separate or interrupt it.
- As he hadn’t paid the bill, his electricity was cut off.