40 Common Phrasal Verbs in English

Phrasal verb is a type of verb phrase that may not have literal meaning. Phrasal verbs in English tend to be idioms and are often avoided in formal writing.


  • Act up  

Meaning: Behave or function improperly

  • Add up

Meaning: Make sense

  • Ask out

Meaning: Invite on a date

  • Ask over              

Meaning: Invite to one’s home

  • Back down          

Meaning: Stop defending your opinion in a debate

  • Back out               

Meaning: Not keep (a promise, agreement, deal)

  • Back up                

Meaning: Give support/ move backwards, reverse

  • Bawl out              

Meaning: Criticize, reprimand (inf.)

  • Blow in

Meaning: Visit unexpectedly

  • Blow over            

Meaning: Pass without creating a problem

  • Blow up                

Meaning: Explode/ suddenly become very angry

  • Break down        

Meaning: Analyze in detail

  • Break in                

Meaning: Interrupt

  • Break out            

Meaning: End something

  • Break up              

Meaning: Break into pieces/ disperse/ stop/ end a relationship

  • Bring about        

Meaning: Cause to happen

  • Bring off               

Meaning: succeed at something difficult or unexpected

  • Bring on               

Meaning: cause something

  • Bring up               

Meaning: mention/ raise

  • Burn up                

Meaning: be hot/ consume, destroy by fire

  • Call off   

Meaning: cancel something/ order to stop

  • Call on  

Meaning: visit/ invite someone to speak in a meeting or a classroom

  • Call up   

Meaning: telephone

  • Calm down          

Meaning: make someone relax

  • Catch on               

Meaning: slowly start to understand

  • Catch up               

Meaning: make up for lost time

  • Check back          

Meaning: return to see if everything is OK

  • Check for            

Meaning: try to find

  • Check out            

Meaning: investigate, take a look at/ leave a hotel, hospital

  • Check up on        

Meaning: investigate someone or something

  • Check with          

Meaning: ask a person for confirmation

  • Check over          

Meaning: closely examine the condition of something

  • Cheer up              

Meaning: become cheerful/ make someone feel cheerful

  • Chew up               

Meaning: chew into small pieces

  • Clean up               

Meaning: tidy

  • Clear out              

Meaning: leave

  • Dress up               

Meaning: wear a costume or style of clothing/ improve the appearance

  • Drop out              

Meaning: quit a class/school

  • Eat out

Meaning: eat at a restaurant

  • Fall down             

Meaning: get depressed/fail

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40 Common Phrasal Verbs in English

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