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  • 25 Phrasal Verbs You Really Need to Know

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    Phrasal verbs are verbs that have a secondary meaning when paired with another word (for example, while “act” means “to pretend or imitate,” “act up” means “to misbehave”). These can be challenging for ESL students, and the best way to learn them is to pay attention when native speakers use them. Here are twenty-five phrasal verbs to look for.

    • Back up = physically move backwards (as in backing up a car); confirm information
    • Bring up = mention, as in conversation; raise a child
    • Count on = rely upon
    • Cut back = reduce the amount of something
    • Drop off = deliver
    • Drop by = visit someone informally, usually without specifying a time
    • End up = finally arrive; arrive somewhere unexpectedly; arrive somewhere as the result of a specific action
    • Figure out = solve a problem
    • Get over = recover
    • Give up = quit doing something
    • Keep on = continue
    • Leave out = omit or forget
    • Let down = disappoint
    • Look into = investigate
    • Make up = create a fictional story; do extra work to compensate for something that was missed; restore friendly relations
    • Mix up = confuse two or more things
    • Pick up = physically lift; transport another person (e.g., give them a ride in a car); buy; become refreshed and revitalized
    • Run into = meet by chance
    • Run out of = use the last of something
    • Set up = make arrangements
    • Set back = delay something that was previously scheduled
    • Take off = remove (as in an article of clothing); leave
    • Take up = begin (as in a hobby)
    • Turn in = submit something; report a criminal to the authorities; go to bed
    • Work out = exercise; resolve an issue

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  • Comments on this post (1 comment)

    • Ibet Inyang says...

      I hope an updated list includes “turn up” – the phrase most commonly means ‘to arrive or appear,’ but it’s also come to mean ‘to get wild or let loose’ in slang.

      On January 25, 2015

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