Phrasal verbs basic rules pdf

Phrasal verbs basic rules in English




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Be careful, phrasal verbs are part of the basic things to know if you want to improve your English vocabulary!

What is a phrasal verb? It’s simply a verb composed of the base verb to which we add an adverbial particle, such as:

  • away
  • back
  • up / down
  • in / out
  • on / off
  • through
  • about
  • round
  • over
  • by
  • forward
  • along

This adverbial particle therefore modifies the meaning of the verb, or gives it more precision. An example:

  • to run = to walk fast
  • to run for = to be candidate for something
  • to run out = to miss something (to run out of water, for example)

Another example:

  • to put = to place
  • to put off = to postpone
  • to put away = to tidy up

Adverbial particles can also completely change the meaning of the verb:

  • to give = Can you give me a cake?
  • to give up = This lesson is too difficult! I give up! (= to quit)

Sometimes, the phrasal verb is followed by a preposition:

  • to run away from 
  • to keep up with 
  • to look up at 
  • to look forward to 

⚠️ The object can usually be placed before or after the particle:

  • Turn off the light please = Turn the light off  please 
  • Turn over the paper = Turn the paper over  

⚠️ When the complement is a pronoun (me, it, him, him, her, them), it is necessarily between the verb and the particle:

  • Turn it off!  (NOT Turn off it!)
  • Turn it over!  (NOT Turn over it!)

⚠️ A phrasal verb can sometimes have several meanings!


Here is a complete list of the 500 most common and most used phrasal verbs in English (there are a few more in fact…). Please leave a comment if you notice any errors or if there are any changes or modifications to be made:

to ask somebody out to get over to piss off
to add up to something to get over something to plan ahead
to aim at to get over with to plan for
to ask around to get round to something to plan on
to ask for to get through to plug in
to ask out to get to to plug in/into
to back down to get together to plug up
to back off to get up to point out
to back somebody up to get something across/ over to point somebody/ something out
to back something up to get something back to point to
to back up to give away to print out
to beat up to give back to pull down
to beef up to give in to pull off
to believe in to give out to pull out
to bite off to give somebody away to pull over
to blow away to give something away to pull through
to blow off to give something back to punch in
to blow out to give something out to punch out
to blow something up to give something up to push back
to blow up to give up to put away
to boil down to to go about to put back
to break down to go after to put down
to break in to go after somebody to put in
to break into something to go after something to put off
to break off to go against somebody to put on
to break out to go ahead to put out
to break out in something to go along to put past
to break something down to go along with to put somebody down
to break something in to go around to put something down
to break through to go away to put something off
to break up to go back to put something on
to bring about to go back on to put something out
to bring back to go beyond to put something together
to bring down to go by to put through
to bring in to go down to put to
to bring out to go for to put together
to bring over to go in to put up
to bring somebody down to go in for to put up to
to bring somebody up to go in/into to put up with
to bring something up to go off to put up with somebody/ something
to bring up to go off to ring up
to brush off to go on to rip off
to brush up to go out to rip up
to build in/into to go out with somebody to rule out
to bump into to go over to run across
to burn down to go over something to run around
to burn out to go round to run away
to burn up to go through to run down
to burst out to go through with to run for
to butt in to go up to run into
to call around to go with to run into somebody/ something
to call back to go without something to run out
to call for to goof around to run over
to call in to gross out to run over somebody/ something
to call off to grow apart to run over/ through something
to call on somebody to grow back to run up
to call somebody back to grow into something to screw on
to call somebody up to grow out of to screw out of
to call something off to grow out of something to screw up
to call up to grow up to see about
to calm down to hand back to sell out
to care for to hand in to send back
to carry away to hand out to send for
to carry on to hand over to send off
to carry out to hand something down to send out
to catch on to hand something in to send something back
to catch up to hand something out to set about
to cheat on somebody to hand something over to set down
to check in to hang around to set off
to check out to hang in to set off
to check somebody/ something out to hang on to set out
to cheer some body up to hang out to set somebody up
to cheer up to hang up to set something up
to chicken out to have on to set up
to chip in to head back to settle down
to chop up to head for to settle for
to clean out to head toward to shake up
to clean something up to hear about to shop around
to clear out to hear of to show off
to clear up to heat up to shut off
to clog up to help out to shut up
to close down to hit on to sign in
to close off to hold against to sign out
to come about to hold back to sit back
to come across to hold off to sit down
to come across something to hold on to sit up
to come along to hold onto somebody/ something to sleep over
to come apart to hold out to slow down
to come back to hold somebody/ something back to sneak in/into
to come down to hold somebody/ something up to sneak out
to come down to to hold something back to sort out
to come down with to hold up to sort something out
to come down with something to hook up to space out
to come forward to hurry up to stand around
to come in to keep at to stand for
to come in to keep away to stand up
to come off to keep down to start off
to come on to keep from to start out
to come out to keep in to start up
to come over to keep off to stay off
to come round to keep on to stay out
to come through to keep on doing something to stay up
to come up to keep somebody/ something out to step on
to come up with to keep something from somebody to stick around
to con into to keep something up to stick out
to con out of to keep to to stick to
to cool off to keep up to stick to something
to count on to kick back to stick up
to count on somebody/ something to kick out to stick with
to count up to knock off to stop off
to cover up to knock out to stop over
to crack down to knock over to straighten out
to cross off to know about to stress out
to cross something out to lay down to switch something on/off
to cut back to lay off to take after somebody
to cut back on something to lead up to to take apart
to cut down to leave behind to take away
to cut in to leave off to take back
to cut off to leave on to take down
to cut out to leave out to take in
to cut somebody off to leave over to take off
to cut something off to let down to take on
to cut somethingdown to let down to take out
to cut somethingout to let in to take out on
to cut up to let off to take over
to deal with to let on to take somebody out
to do away with to let out to take something apart
to do away with something to let somebody down to take something back
to do over to let somebody in to take something off
to do somebody/ something over to let up to take something out
to do something over to lie around to take up
to do something up to lift up to take up on
to do with to light up to talk down to
to do without to lighten up to talk into
to doze off to line up to talk out of
to dress up to live with to talk to
to drop back to lock in to tear down
to drop in to lock out to tear off
to drop in/ by/ over to lock up to tear something up
to drop off to log in (or on) to tell apart
to drop out to log out (or off) to tell on
to drop somebody/ something off to look after somebody/ something to think about
to dry off to look around to think ahead
to dry out to look at something to think back
to dry up to look back to think over
to eat out to look down to think something over
to eat up to look down on to think up
to empty out to look down on somebody to think up
to end up to look for somebody / something to throw away
to fall apart to look forward to to throw out
to fall apart to look into to throw something away
to fall behind to look into something to throw up
to fall down to look out to track down
to fall for to look out for somebody / something to trade in
to fall in to look over to trick into
to fall off to look round (ou look around) to try on
to fall out to look something up to try out
to fall out to look something over to try something on
to fall over to look up to try something out
to fall through to look up to turn around
to feel up to to look up to to turn back
to fight back to look up to somebody to turn down
to figure on to luck out to turn in
to figure something out to make for to turn into
to fill in to make of to turn off
to fill out to make off to turn on
to fill something in to make out to turn out
to fill something out to make somebody up to turn over
to fill something up to make something up to turn round
to fill up to make up to turn up
to find out to mess up to turn something off
to find out to mix something up to turn something on
to find something out to mix up to turn something up
to fix up to monkey around with to turnsomethingdown
to flip out to move back to use up
to float around to move in to usesomething up
to follow up to move on to wake up
to fool around to move out to want out (familier)
to freak out to move up to warm somebody/ something up
to get ahead to narrow down to wash off
to get along to not care for somebody / something to wash up
to get along/on to pass away to watch out
to get around to pass on to wear down
to get away to pass out to wear off
to get away with something to pass something out to wear out
to get back to pass something up to wind up
to get back at to pass through to wipe off
to get back at somebody to pay back to wipe out
to get back into something to pay for to wipe up
to get back to to pay for something to work in
to get behind to pay off to work off
to get by to pay somebody back to work on
to get down to pay up to work out
to get in to pick on to work something out
to get off to pick out to work up
to get on with somebody to pick something out to wrap up
to get on something to pick up to write down
to get out to pile up to zip up


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