Phrasal verbs often function as informal versions of more formal expressions. For example "given up" is more informal than  "i thought you had quit your job"


Phrasal verbs are phrases that indicate actions. They are generally used in spoken English and informal texts.

Some phrasal verbs have a literal meaning. They can be easily understood.

  • She opened the door and looked outside.
  • She walked across the street.

Phrasal verbs can also have a figurative or idiomatic meaning which may make them difficult to understand.

  • Can you put me up for tonight? The phrasal verb 'put up' here does not mean to build. It has an idiomatic/figurative meaning. It means to let someone stay.

Examples of phrasal verbs:

ask someone out  invite
back someone up  support
break down  stop functioning
break up end a relationship
break out escape
call someone back return a phone call
call off cancel
check in register in a hotel
check out leave a hotel
check something up look at carefully
cheer someone up make happy
come across find unexpectedly
come down become sick
do something over do again
dress up wear nice clothes
fill in write information
find out discover
figure out understand
get away escape
get back return
keep up continue
let down fail to support
look after take care of
look forward to be excited about
look for try to find
look up search and find
make up invent
pass away die
pass out faint
put off postpone


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