Below is a list of 47 useful phrasal verbs in English. They are arranged into groups to help memorize them easier. As well as this, example sentences are included to give context and make understanding their use even easier.
Each section will be split up using the following format:
“Act” Phrasal Verbs
Take an action based on something (like information received).
He acted on her suggestion.
Perform or show how something is done.
She acted it out for me so I could understand what happened.
Behave badly or unexpectedly
My car was acting up this morning and wouldn’t start.
“Add” Phrasal Verbs
Include something extra on to something.
The waiter added on an extra drink to the bill.
Calculate the total of things combined.
The cashier added up the total for the groceries.
add up to
Including the drink, that adds up to £12.35
“Allow” Phrasal Verbs
Consider something in a plan or calculation.
You should allow for variation when planning a budget.
Show something is possible.
I can allow of no such thing.
“Be” Phrasal Verbs
be up for
Want to do something.
I am up for playing football later.
be fed up
Be bored or tired of something.
He is fed up with her constant complaining.
“Come” Phrasal Verbs
I came across a wallet on the floor.
It’s cold outside, please come in.
come up with
Invent or think of.
I came up with a plan to win.
“Drop” Phrasal Verbs
Visit without having made arrangements beforehand.
My uncle dropped in this afternoon.
Gradually become less.
Sales have dropped off in Q2.
To quit a course or event.
She dropped out of university due to stress.
“Fall” Phrasal Verbs
Breaks into pieces.
My old bike fell apart as I was riding it!
Fail to do something fast enough.
He didn’t do his homework and fell behind on his studies.
Fall on the ground.
Jane pushed Tim and he fell down.
Have sudden strong romantic feelings for someone.
He fell for the new girl at work.
Fall onto a lower level.
The ball rolled and fell off the shelf.
No longer be friends with someone (usually because of an argument or fight.)
Jane and Sarah fell out and aren’t talking to each other now.
Falling to the ground or surface someone / something is on.
He was so drunk he fell over.
Fail to happen.
Unfortunately the sale fell through and we had to buy something else.
“Give” Phrasal Verbs
Give something for free.
He gave away all of his possessions.
She finally gave in and let her children eat ice cream.
They gave out coupons in the shopping centre.
Stop doing something before it is finished.
The marathon was too tiring so he gave up half way.
“Hold” Phrasal Verbs
Hold off on the BBQ, it’s going to rain.
Hold on, I will be there soon.
Hold something so someone else can reach it
He held out his hand to stop the bus.
Raise something in the air.
Hold up your work so that I can see it.
“Knock” Phrasal Verbs
Cause something to fall from somewhere by making contact.
He accidentally knocked the cup off his desk.
Lose consciousness from being hit.
The boxer was knocked out in round 3.
Make contact with something and cause it to fall.
She accidentally knocked the plant pot over.
“Lock” Phrasal Verbs
When something is trapped behind a locked door.
She took the keys with her and I was locked in!
When something can’t get into a locked door.
I lost my keys and was locked out of my house.
Secure the doors and windows with a key.
Remember to lock up properly before you leave.
“Move” Phrasal Verbs
Move your belongings into a place where you will live.
My new neighbor moved in yesterday.
Move your belongings out of a place where you previously lived.
My roommate is moving out tomorrow.
“Pick” Phrasal Verbs
Tease or mock someone.
Yesterday they were picking on the new kid in school.
Select something or someone.
She picked out a nice dress to wear to the party.
Grab something and lift it from a surface.
He saw a wallet on the floor so he picked it up.
“Shut” Phrasal Verbs
Stop the operation of something (usually electrical)
She shut off her computer before she went to bed.
Please shut up, you’re giving me a headache!
“Work” Phrasal Verbs
She works out every day in the gym.
Be very emotional.
He was so worked up after his house had been burgled.