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English Phrasal Verbs

Alphabetical list A of commonly-used phrasal verbs.

Phrasal Verbs beginning with the letter 'A'

A phrasal verb is a verb followed by a preposition or an adverb.
The combination creates a meaning different from the original 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
    • Give a reason or an explanation.
      "I hope you can account for all the money you spent!"

  • ache for
    • Want someone or something 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 decided to act on the anonymous call they received."

  • act out
    • Demonstrate something with gestures and actions.
      "The children 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.
      "She explained what happened but the details she gave just don't add up."

  • adhere to
    • Support;  follow;  act in accordance with.
      "All contestants must adhere to the rules."

  • advise against
    • Recommend not  to do something.
      The doctor advised him against carrying heavy loads.

  • agree with
    • Have the same opinion as some else.
      "I agree with you entirely. I think she deserves the award too."

  • agree on/about
    • Hold the same opinion on or about a topic or plan.
      "The parents both agree on/about the way to raise their children."

  • aim at
    • Direct towards a target.
      "The policeman aimed his gun straight at the hijacker."

  • allow for
    • Take into consideration;  include in a calculation.
      "It will take longer. You have to allow for heavy traffic at rush hour."
      "We must allow for food expenses too. Let's add 20€ per person."

  • allude to
    • Mention or make reference to something in an indirect way.
      "I don't understand. What problem is she alluding to?"

  • amount to
    • Reach; be equivalent to.
      "The total repair work will amount to 1200€.
      "His statement amounted to a confession."

  • angle for
    • Try to obtain somethiing by hinting or suggesting.
      "From the way he's speaking I suspect Tom is angling for a free ticket."

  • answer back
    • Reply rudely to someone in authority when you are expected to remain silent.
      "I'm your teacher. Don't answer back !"

  • answer for
    • Be held responsible for something.
      "Normally parents have to answer for their children's behaviour."

    • Speak on behalf of someone.
      "I agree to your proposal, 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
    • Plead or make an earnest request.
      "The organisers appealed to the crowd to stay calm."

    • Be attractive or interesting.
      "The idea of camping in the woods doesn't appeal to me at all." 

  • apply for
    • Make a formal request for something (job, permit, loan, etc.)
      "When he saw the advertisement he decided to apply for the job."

  • 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 worries about you. She's 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."

  • attest to
    • Prove to be true; bear witness to
      "The number of visitors attest to the popularity of the website."

  • avail (oneself) of
    • Take advantage of something (an opportunity)
      "When the sales begin you should avail yourself of the opportunity and buy that coat."

  • average out at
    • Result in an average(amount)
      "The price of lunch averages out at 10€ per person."

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