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English Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs from 'abide by' to 'veer away' with their meaning and examples.

What is a phrasal verb?

A phrasal verb is a verb followed by a preposition or an adverb; the combination creates a meaning different from the original verb alone.
For example:
  • To get means to obtain.
    "I need to get a new battery for my camera."

  • To get together means to meet.
    "Why don’t we all get together for lunch one day?"
Phrasal verbs are part of a large group of verbs called “multi-part” or "multi-word” verbs.

Phrasal verbs and other multi-word verbs are an important part of the English language. They are mainly used in spoken English and informal texts.

In academic writing it is preferable to use a formal verb such as, for example, “to postpone” rather than “to put off”.
However, the use of phrasal verbs in formal writing cannot be ruled out, as some of them would be difficult to avoid. Here are some examples:
account for, bring about, carry out, consist of, dispense with, follow up, put forward...

Transitive and intransitive phrasal verbs:

Some phrasal verbs are transitive. (A transitive verb always has an object.)
Example : I made up an excuse. ('Excuse' is the object of the verb.)

Some phrasal verbs are intransitive . (An intransitive verb does not have an object.)
Example : My car broke down.

Some transitive phrasal verbs are separable. (Object between the verb and the preposition.)
Example : I looked the word up in the dictionary.

Some transitive phrasal verbs are inseparable. (Object after the preposition.)
Example : I will look into the matter as soon as possible.

Some transitive phrasal verbs can take an object in both places.
Example : I picked up the book.  /   I picked the book up.

However, if the object is a pronoun, it must be placed between the verb and the preposition.
Example : I picked it up. not: I picked up it.

Below are lists of the most commonly-used phrasal verbs in English.
The following table shows the first and last verb in each list.

Alphabetical lists of Phrasal Verbs:

Phrasal verbs A abide by →   average out at
Phrasal verbs B back away  →   butt in (on) 
Phrasal verbs C call after  →  cut out
Phrasal verbs D deal with  →  drown out
Phrasal verbs E-F ease off  →  fuss over
Phrasal verbs G get about/around  →  grow up
Phrasal verbs H hand back  →  hurry up
Phrasal verbs I-J-K idle away →  know of
Phrasal verbs L laugh off  →  lose out to
Phrasal verbs M-N make for  →  note down
Phrasal verbs O-P-Q opt out (of) →  point out
Phrasal verbs R-S reel off  →  stick with
Phrasal verbs T take after  →  turn up
Phrasal verbs U-Z use up  →  write down
Three-word phrasal verbs catch up with  →  veer away from