40 Useful Phrasal Verbs for Business and Work in English

Communicating with native English speakers in a business setting means you’ll hear phrasal verbs at least once, if not several times, during a conversation


1. Branch out

  • Expand or extend one's interests

Eg: The supermarkets have branched out into banking.

2. Break into

  • Enter (with effort or force)

Eg: It’s always been his ambition to break into broadcasting.

3. Carry on

  • Continue

Eg: He moved to New York to carry on his work

4. Close down

  • Stop operating

Eg: The firm has decided to close down its Chicago branch.

5. Look forward to

  • Anticipate with pleasure

Eg: We look forward to hearing from you soon.

6. Note down

  • Write something down

Eg: Her answers were noted down on the chart.

7. Step down

  • Resign or leave (a position/job)

Eg: The chairman was forced to step down due to ill health.

8. Take off

  • Become successful or popular very fast

Eg: Her business has really taken off.

9. Take up

  • Fill a particular amount of space or time

Eg: These files take up a lot of disk space.

10. Weigh up

  • Consider

Eg: You should weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each type before buying.

11. Back up

  • Make a copy of information

Eg: It's a good idea to back up your files onto a memory stick.

12. Carry out

  • Do and complete a task

Eg: The building work was carried out by a local contractor.

13. Come up

  • Happen or arise

Eg: I’m going to have to cancel our meeting – something’s come up.

14. Get on

  • Continue or start doing something

Eg: She told us to get on with our work.

15. Keep up with

  • Follow

Eg: We try to keep up with what’s happening about finacial news.

16. Set up

  • Start (a business)

Eg: The group plans to set up an import business.

17. Go through

  • Experience something bad

Eg: We can’t really imagine what our company’s going through.

18. Find out

  • Discover a fact or piece of information

Eg: Can you find out what our customers think of their local bus service?

19. Call off

  • Cancel something

Eg: With the weather worsening, they have called off their field trip.

20. Call back

  • To telephone someone again

Eg: I’ll call you back when I’ve heard something about interview.

21. Deal with

  • Handle (a problem)

Eg: I spent the morning dealing with my emails.

22. Drop in

  • Make a short visit somewhere

Eg: I will drop in tomorrow morning.

23. Fill out

  • Complete (a form)

Eg: It took me several hours to fill out the application form.

24. Hold on

  • Wait

Eg: We’ll hold on another minute, then we’ll have to go.

25. Join in

  • Participate

Eg: We would be eager to join in projects of that sort.

26. Lay off

  • Fire (staff)

Eg: They’ve had to cut back production and lay off workers.

27. Put back

  • Delay or postpone

Eg: The meeting has been put back to next week.

28. Run out of

  • Have no more of something

Eg: Many companies are running out of money.

29. Sort out

  • Organise or fix

Eg: I need to sort out the mess on my desk.

30. Take on

  • Employ (staff)

Eg: We’re not taking on any new staff at the moment.

31. Take over

  • To take control of something

Eg: IBM is taking over the smaller company.

32. Bail out

  • To rescue somebody from a difficult situation, especially financial problems

Eg: Some local businesses have offered to bail out the museum.

33. Cut back

  • To reduce something

Eg: Several major hospitals are cutting back on staff at the moment.

34. Go under

  • To become bankrupt

Eg: The firm will go under unless business improves.

35. Fall through

  • If an agreement, plan, sale etc. falls through, it is not completed successfully

Eg: The planned purchase of the racecourse fell through.

36. Pull out

  • To move away from something or stop being involved in it

Eg: The project became so expensive that we had to pull out.

37. Bottom out

  • To stop getting worse

Eg: There are signs that the recession has bottomed out.

38. Level off

  • To stop rising or falling and become steady

Eg: Inflation has begun to level off.

39. Follow up

  • To continue communicating with someone after an event. 

Eg: You should follow up your phone call with an email or a letter.

40. Wrap up

  • To finish an event or an activity

Eg: Let's wrap up this meeting so we can go to lunch.

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40 Useful Phrasal Verbs for Business and Work in English

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