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English Phrasal Verbs

A phrasal verb is a verb followed by a preposition or an adverb;
the combination creates a meaning different from the original verb.
Below you will find a list of phrasal verbs in alphabetical order
with their meaning and an example of use.

Phrasal verbs - Alphabetical List - A

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Phrasal Verb



abide by Respect or obey
(the law, a decision, a rule)
If you want to stay at this school, you must abide by the rules.
account for Explain; give a reason I hope you can account for the money you spent!
ache for Want something or someone very much. He was so lonely he ached for the sound of a human voice.
act on Take action as a result of something The police acted on the call they received.
act out Demonstrate something with gestures
and actions.
They acted out the scene in the classroom.
act up Cause pain or annoyance by functioning badly Dad's poor knee is acting up again.
add up Make sense; seem reasonable Her story just doesn't add up.
adhere to Support; follow; act in accordance with All contestants must adhere to the rules.
advise against Recommend not doing something The doctor advised him against carrying heavy loads.
agree with Have the same opinion as someone else I agree with you. I think she deserves the award too.
aim at Direct towards a target The policeman aimed his gun at the hijacker.
allow for Take into consideration;
Include in a calculation
You'd better leave early to allow for heavy traffic.
amount to Reach; be equivalent to 1) The total cost amounts to 1200€.
2) His statement amounted to a confession.
angle at Show from a particular point of view. The documentary was angled at young viewers.
angle for Try to obtain something by hinting. I suspect Tom's angling for a free ticket.
answer back Reply rudely  Don't answer back your mother!
answer for 1) Be responsible for something.

2) Speak on behalf of someone.
1) Normally parents have to answer for their children's behaviour.
2) I agree, but I can't answer for my associate.
answer to Be responsible to/be controlled by (someone) Who do you answer to in your job?
appeal to 1)Plead or make an earnest request.

2) Be attractive or interesting.
1) The organisers appealed to the crowd to stay calm.
2) Camping doesn't appeal to me.
apply for Make a formal request for something
(job, permit, loan, etc.)
He applied for the job advertised.
arrive at Reach
(an agreement, a decision, a conclusion)
It is hoped that they will arrive at an agreement at the end of the meeting..
ask after Enquire about someone's well-being. My mother is always asking after you.
ask around Mention it to people you see or meet. I'll ask around and see if anyone has seen your cat.
ask in Invite someone to come inside. I couldn't leave her standing outside in the cold so I asked her in.
ask out Invite someone to lunch, dinner, the cinema ... John has asked Mary out several times.
avail (oneself) of Take advantage of something
(an opportunity)
When the company is privatized, you should avail yourself of the opportunity and buy some shares.
average out at Result in an average (amount) The price of lunch averages out at 10€ per person.
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