More Phrasal Verbs and Their Meanings.


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There are three types of phrasal verbs: separable, inseparable, and intransitive.

Note: There's no way to tell if a phrasal verb is separable, inseparable, or intransitive. They must be learned and memorized, one by one. Remember that phrasal verbs are truly verbs, and are used in the present, past, and future tenses. You will notice that some phrasal verbs fit in more than one category, depending on their meaning.

Separable Phrasal Verbs  K-M

keep up

continue, maintain the pace

  • If you keep that behavior up, young man, we won't take you to the movies.

  • If you keep up that behavior, young man, we won't take you to the movies.

kick out

expel a person

  • "Kick him out of the game! He cheated!"

  • If you cheat on an examination, you may get kicked out of school.

knock out

to hit someone and make them unconscious/be hit and made to be unconscious;

  • He  bumped his head on the doorframe, and knocked himself out.

  • If you bump your head hard enough, you may be knocked out.

 to remove something by breaking or destroying it

  • In order to make the kitchen bigger, we have to knock two walls out.

  • Bert threw the ball too hard and knocked Billy's front teeth out.

informal idiomatic usage: to do a task quickly and effortlessly

  • 1) This report is overdue. How fast can you finish writing it? 2) Oh, that's easy. I can knock it out in less than an hour.

  • She knocked out the report in less than an hour, as she promised.

knock (oneself) out

work much harder than normal

  • Liz knocks herself out learning English.

lay off

to dismiss employees from a job because a company doesn't have the money to pay them

  • When the company lost money, they laid many workers off.

  • When the company lost money, they laid off many workers.

leave out

to omit

  • This spaghetti sauce tastes like it's missing something. Did you leave something out?

  • This spaghetti sauce tastes like it's missing something. Did you leave out something ?

opposite of "bring in"

  • You left your bicycle out in the rain.

  • Charley left out his bike, and it got stolen.

let down


  • The government let us down when they broke all campaign promises and raised taxes.

  • The publicity for the movie made us think it would be great, but we were really let down when we saw it.

let out

allow to leave

  • Too many criminals are let out of jail early.

  • The kidnappers let two hostages out and kept the rest of them captive.

make bigger (in sewing, to open seams of a garment)

  • Now that Susie is pregnant,  all her clothes will have to be let out.

  • Baby Huey is growing so fast that his mother had to let all his clothes out.

light up

light, brighten

  • They lit the whole town up for the holiday celebration.

  • "You Light Up My Life" is a song we hear very often at weddings.

live down

to do something morally wrong, and make people forget that you did it

  • If he lives to be 100, he'll never live down the fact that he stole money from the poor.

  • The people of the town won't let him live it down. (the people won't forget, nor allow him to forget)

look over

read, inspect/review

  • Rita looked the proposal over and found some errors.

  • Rita looked over the proposal and found some errors.

look up

search for a person's address or telephone number in a telephone directory

look for the meaning or spelling of a word in a dictionary

  • 1) How do you spell the word "usually"? 2) Look it up in the dictionary.

  • Edwina had to look up Barry's 'phone number.

visit/call on the telephone

  • The head of the company told me to look him up the next time I'm in town.

  • We should look up the Andersons when we visit San Francisco.

make out 

to understand something one sees or hears

  • Because the telephone reception was so bad, I couldn't  make out what he was saying.

  • You need to speak more clearly, because I can't make your words out.

make over

redo, remake

  • Jill had surgery and lost a lot of weight to make herself over.

  • Making over an ugly house requires a lot of time and money.

make up

create fantasy, invent imaginary information, i.e., lies

  • Why are you late? Tell me the truth, and don't be making any stories up about it!

  • Johnny's father makes up a new bedtime story every night.

compensate for discomfort, or time/goods used

  • I know you have suffered, but we will make it up to you.

  • You missed three days of work, Mr. Johnson, and you have to make up the time. (work extra time)

mark up

raise the price

  • Some retailers, for instance jewelers, mark the prices up 300%!

  • Pharmacies mark up the price of prescriptions a lot, so you have to compare the prices at three different stores before you buy.

mark down

reduce the price, put on sale

  • All the stores at the mall have marked down everything for the big sale.

  •  They've marked everything down at least 20%.

mix up

to be confused; put things in a different order, or the wrong order

  • Joseph was mixed up when he drove to the store on First Street. The sale was at the   Tenth Street store.

  • Julie did a card trick by mixing all the playing cards up, and telling each of us to choose one.

move over

move to the side

  • Move over, buddy! You just sat on my little brother.

  • Well, move your brother over so I can sit down.

Inseparable Phrasal Verbs  K-M

  keep at

persevere/put time and energy into something until it's finished

  • To finish planting the garden before the rains come, you have to keep at it.

keep on (followed by an  "ing" ending)

do something repeatedly

  • If you keep on teasing the cat, she will scratch you.

  • They kept on driving throughout the night without stopping to eat, so that they could arrive early in the morning.

keep up

maintain the pace

  • I can't keep up with Clara when we go jogging together. (She jogs faster than I can.)

  • He will never be able to keep up with the work load, because he's given more and more work to do every week.

be able to get correct and current information when it changes often

  • I can't keep up with the rules of the company, because the boss changes them every week.

  • Janice told me she was moving to Egypt, but someone just told me she's living in Spain. I just can't keep up!

lie down on

fail to take care of a responsibility because of laziness

  • If you're going to lie down on the job, you might as well go home.

live on

support oneself by

  • Simon's salary is only half the size of mine. I don't know what he lives on. (I don't know how he has enough to buy food and pay his bills.)

  • They're living on the money they got from the sale of the farm. (They buy food and pay bills with the money they received when they sold the farm.)

look after

take care of, tend

  • When two people marry, they promise to look after each other.

  • Morris looked after his mother until the day she died.

look back on

remember with nostalgia

  • She looked back on her single days wistfully. (remember longingly)

look down on

regard someone as inferior

  • He looks down on everyone in the office, including his boss! He won't get a raise this year, with that attitude.

look forward to

anticipate with pleasure (thoughts about something happening in the future)

  • Kent always looks forward to visiting his family.

  • I used to look forward to our annual fishing trip.

look in on

check on someone by actually seeing them

  • We can leave as soon as I look in on the baby to be sure he's sleeping.

  • We looked in on Aunt Sally at noon and she was fine, but by 5 o'clock she needed a doctor.

look into


  • If you say the new accountant is a drug addict, I must look into his background.

look like


  • Isn't it amazing to see two unrelated people who look like each other?

to seem like

  • It looks like it's going to rain.

look up to

respect for a person

  • I always looked up to my father when he was alive, because he taught me so many important things about life.

make fun of

make jokes about someone in an unkind way/insult

  • That boy makes fun of any classmate who doesn't have new athletic shoes.

make out

to "neck" ( lovers hugging/kissing/touching each other)

  • Couples like to park in dark secluded places so that they can make out without anyone seeing them.

make up for


  • Please forgive me, Lester. I want to make up for everything I did to hurt you.

make up/make up with

to get along well with a person after having had an argument/re-establish a relationship

  • Harold and Stacy made up on Monday, after that big argument they had over the weekend.

  • I hope Lana and Joyce will decide to make up with each other, in spite of the cruel things they said.

make for (very informal usage)

go toward

  • If you make for the house and I go to the garage, we should be able to catch him.

Intransitive  K-M

keep on


  • The professor's lecture was for such a long time! He kept on and on.

let up

slower or less intense

  • When the rain finally let up, we were able to see how much damage had been done.

lie down


  • If you want to rest, just  lie down for a half-hour while I wash the dishes.

look on

watch something that's happening, i.e., a fight, an accident, etc., but not get involved

  • The crowd looked on while the fire fighters struggled to put out the fire.

luck out (informal usage)

have something of good fortune occur

  • Chester really lucked out when his job interview was with his best friend's brother-in-law.

make out

progress, success

  • How did you make out on the TOEFL? Paul said he made out quite well. His score was over 800.

  • 1) How's Richard making out on his job search? 2) I don't think he's making out very well, because he's still not working.

Separable Phrasal Verbs  N-S

pass on


  • The spy passed on all the information he had gathered.

  • The spy passed all the information on that he had gathered.

pass out

distribute by personal contact

  • Some religious groups pass out flowers at airports.

  • Some religious groups pass flowers out at airports.

pass up

not be able to receive the benefit of something because you refused it

  • I had to pass up the free trip since I had other obligations at that time. 

  • I had to pass the free trip up since I had other obligations at that time. 

pay back


  • Darryl promised to pay back the money he borrowed from his father.

  • Darryl promised to pay the money back that he borrowed from his father.

pay off

pay a debt in full

  • Darryl finally paid off the loan his father had given him.

  • "It's about time you paid it off!", said his mother.

pick out


  • You can have any ring you want, dear.  Pick it out, and I'll buy it for you.

  • Is it really all right to pick out any one I want?

pick up


  • Don't pick that up. It's too heavy for you.

  • Pick up your shovel and get to work.

give someone a ride

  • Bea needs to be picked up and taken to the doctor's office.

  • Michelle will pick Bea up and take her to the doctor's office.

buy or get

  • If you are going to the store, will you pick up some milk for me?

  • He picked some milk up as he said he would, but it was goat's milk!

refresh/give or expend more energy

  • Cold lemonade on a hot day can really pick me up.

  • Pick up the pace, or you are going to lose the marathon!

play down


  • It's natural to want to play down one's faults when we're trying to impress someone.

  • It's natural to want to play one's faults down when we're trying to impress someone.

play up


  • On the other hand, we all play up our good points when we're trying to impress someone.

  • On the other hand, we all play our good points up when we're trying to impress someone.

point out


  • Cora pointed out that Doc's shoes were untied.

  • Doc thanked her for pointing it out to him.

point up


  • The fact that Henry went bankrupt just points up the fact that he shouldn't be handling the money as Treasurer of our club.

  • Henry was fired from his job at the bank, and that points it up yet again that he shouldn't be handling our money.

pull down


  • The old building was pulled down yesterday.

  • "We should have pulled it down years ago," commented the owner.

pull in a downward direction

  • Pull down the window shade so that people can't see into the house.

  • Pull the window shade down gently, or it will break.

pull out

leave or remove

  • The troops pulled out when the battle was over.

  • The general pulled the troops out when the battle was over.

pull over

drive to the side of the road

  • Pull over, because I think we have a flat tire.

  • Pull the car over.  I think we have a flat tire.

push through

cause to be accepted

  • The senators were hesitant to agree with him, but he pushed the law through.

  • The senators were hesitant to agree with him, but he was able to push through that law.

put away

place an item in the right or safe place

  • A good worker always puts his tools away.

  • A good worker always puts away his tools .

put back

return to the right place

  • Put that toy back right now!

  • Put back that toy right now!

(what could be said to a child in a toy store)

put off


  • The lazy man's credo is: "Always put off today what can be done tomorrow."

  • The lazy man's credo is: "Always put things off today that can be done tomorrow."

to cause displeasure/dislike

  • Her taste in clothes was rather flashy, and that put him off.

  • He was put off by her taste for flashy clothes.

(made him not want to be with her)

put on

 get dressed in clothes

  • Put on your coat, and let's get going!

  • Put your coat on, or you'll freeze out there!

to put [someone] on

to deceive or pretend (often by teasing or joking)

  • Hector told us he was the president of Brazil, but he was putting us on.

  • She told me she just won the lottery, but I'm sure she was just putting me on.

  • Don't put on airs!  You are no richer than any of us.

put a person out

cause inconvenience

  • He didn't mind in the least putting me out by asking for a ride to the airport. (only this word order)

  • I hope I'm not putting you out by sleeping at your house tonight. (only this word order)

put up

preserve food

  • Granny put up 47 quarts of beans this summer.

  • Aunt Tilly was bragging because she had put 100 quarts of beans up last year.

place something on a higher level, out of easy reach

  • Put that box of crackers up on the shelf so the baby doesn't get hold of it.

  • That should be put up on the shelf so the baby can't reach it.

give someone a place to sleep

  • Celia put Zack up when his wife locked him out of the house.

  • Celia puts up many homeless people in the neighborhood.

quiet down

be silent

  • Quiet down in there!  I am on the telephone.

  • Quiet it down in there!  I am on the telephone.

ride over

go by car or bicycle to where something is

  • Let's ride over to the mall and do some shopping today.

  • Let's ride the bus over to the mall and do some shopping today.

rinse off

rinse the surface of

  • If you rinse off your glasses, you can see better.

  • You have to rinse the soap off your glasses, in order to see more clearly.

rinse out

rinse the inside of

  • For the millionth time, rinse out the bathtub after you are finished bathing!

  • Remember to rinse the clothes out with water softener.

rip off

cheat/steal from

  • Beware of internet money-making schemes. They will rip you off.

  • Roy ripped off the bookstore, but the police caught him in the parking lot.

round off

change a fraction to the nearest whole number

  • The bill was $3.76, so let's round it off to $4.

  • When making cost estimates, many businesses round off the numbers.

rule out

reject, eliminate as a choice

  • Just because a solution is improbable, don't rule it out.

  • Don't rule out a solution just because it is improbable.

run down

looks for and finds

  • The tax department runs down non-payers and prosecutes them.

  • The tax department runs non-payers down and prosecutes them.

say unflattering things about

  • She's always running me down to people because I stole her boyfriend.

  • She runs down anyone who even says 'hello' to her boyfriend.

hit with a vehicle

  • Mr. Ford was run down by a drunk driver.

  • Who is the driver that ran him down?

run off

chase someone

  • A guard dog will run off trespassers.

  • A guard dog will run trespassers off.

make copies of

  • Rudy ran off copies of his poem for all his friends.

  • Rudy ran copies of his poem off for all his friends.

save up


  • When she has saved up enough money, she will take a trip.

  • When she has saved enough money up, she will take a trip.

see off

be with someone when they leave (for a trip)

  • The boss left for Ireland, and we all went to see him off. (only this word order)

see through

complete in spite of obstacles

  • The going was tough, but he saw it through.

  • A determined person can see through a tough job.

send back

return to the former place

  • Doris always sends back gifts she receives from strange men.

  • When Doris receives a gift from a strange man, she always sends it back.

send over

send to someone else

  • Aunt Teresa always sends over chicken soup when a neighbor is ill.

  • Aunt Teresa always sends chicken soup over when a neighbor is ill.

set back

a delay

  • When the factory exploded, production was set back six months.

  • When the factory blew up, it set production back six months.

 the price someone paid for  something when you think it's expensive (informal usage)

  • Nita just bought a new car. I wonder how much that set her back? (only this word order)

set up

make arrangements, plan

  • If John sets up the seminar, will you help him?

  • If John sets the seminar up, I'll send out the notices.

show off

behaving as though one is superior to other people/exhibit possessions in a boastful way

  • He constantly shows off, always pretending he is richer than he really is.

  • He constantly shows his possessions off, pretending he is richer than he really is.

show up

do a better job than

  • She can't help showing everyone else up. Her work is done much better than theirs.

  • Jamie looked upset at having been shown up at work. (someone's superior work made Jamie's work look poorly done)

shut off (same as 'turn off')

You cannot say "shut on"; only "turn on")

cause to stop working

  • Shut off the television and go to bed.

  • I can't shut the water off, and now there's a flood in the kitchen!

slow up/slow down

cause to move more slowly

  • The traffic slowed up until we couldn't drive at all.

  • The traffic slowed down to the point that we had to stop.

  • The traffic slowed the ambulance down, almost causing the patient to die.

spell out

sarcastic way to say something, and be sure that there definitely is no misunderstanding

  • Do I need to spell out what I just told you?

  • The boss told Gene to go home, and not to come back. Gene said, "I don't understand." The boss then said: "Let me spell it out for you. You're fired!

stand up

not keep a date or appointment

  • After Hilda stood Peter up the second time, he decided she wasn't the girl for him.

  • He looked very sad when he told me: "I've been stood up again."

sweep out

sweep the inside of

  • Sweep out the garage before you wash the car.

  • Sweep the garage out before you wash the car.

Inseparable Phrasal Verbs  P-S

pass on

not accept something that's offered

  • No, thank you. I will have to pass on having dessert, because I've eaten too much already.

to die

  • His sister passed on more than a month ago.

pick on


  • Warren! Stop picking on Esther.

play up to

insincerely flatter

  • Timothy plays up to every woman he meets. He's a real Don Juan.

to feel put out

to feel annoyed or angry

  • I felt put out when I waited for him for 2 hours, and he never showed. (arrived)

put up with


  • I only put up with my brother-in-law because my sister loves him.

read up on

to research

  • Before Harold tried motorcycle racing, he read up on it.

ring off

hang up the telephone

  • I'm late, so I must ring off now.  I'll call you tomorrow.

run against

compete in an election

  • In the United Kingdom, the Conservative Party runs against the Labour Party. (British spelling)

run away with


  • There's a very old nursery rhyme that goes "...And the dish ran away with the spoon."

 run for

campaign for election

  • I believe the president will run for another term.

run into (also said "bump into")

a chance meeting

  • Gee, I'm glad I ran into you. I've missed you.

  • I owe him money, and running into him was very awkward.

run off

to get away quickly

  • When Stuart heard the owl, he ran off as fast as he could. (only this word order)

  • Whenever Stuart hears any strange noise, he runs off as fast as he can.

  • The thief was running off, but the police caught him.

run out of

use the last of something

  • I have to go to the store because we've almost run out of salt.

  • Yesterday we ran out of sugar, and we had to use honey, instead.

see about

find out about/make arrangements

  • If you want a big surprise party for Al, I will see about it.

threaten to keep someone from doing something you don't like

  • You're 12 years old, and you want to go out on a date? Well, we'll just see about that.

see through (a person or a claim or statement)

the ability to recognize when a person is dishonest

  • When he said he was Donald Trump's brother, I saw through his lies immediately.

see to

arrange, supervise, tend to

  • The water pipe burst again. See to it that it's fixed immediately.

settle for

agree to accept something that wasn't your first choice

  • The restaurant had no fish, so she settled for chicken.

  • They sued the company for $1,000,000, but settled for $500,00.

settle on

make a choice/decision

  • After seeing 20 houses, they finally settled on the first one they'd seen.

slow up/slow down

reduce speed

  • Slow up here so I can see the address on the house.

  • Slow the car up so I can see the address on the house.

  • You're driving too fast! Slow the car down so I can read the sign.

  • You're driving too fast! Slow down so I can read the sign.

stand for


  • He said he stood for free trade, but he voted against it last year.

tolerate (same as 'put up with)

  • Yolanda won't stand for people breaking the rules.

stand up for


  • A good friend will stand up for you when you're in trouble.


  • The workers stood up for their right to decent health care.

stand up to


  • If you stand up to a bully, the bully will often back down.

stick to

refuse to change/honor an agreement

  • If you know you're right, stick to your belief.

  • He stuck to the terms of the agreement, and paid off the loan as he'd promised.

stick up for


  • Jeff stuck up for Bob when the traffic cop said Bob was speeding.

Intransitive Phrasal Verbs  N-S

nod off

fall asleep

  • Everyone nodded off during the clergyman's midnight sermon.

pan out


  • I started my own business, but it didn't  pan out. (it failed)

pass away (same as "pass on")


  • My aunt passed away last year.

pick up


  • Business always picks up right before school starts.

pitch in

contribute time/energy to help someone

  • When Tammy was ill, we all pitched in to clean her house.

pull in


  • Our visitors just pulled in. I want to go outside to greet them.

run away

leave quickly, escape

  • She always runs away when it's her turn to wash the dishes.

run off

leave, running

  • The sight of garlic makes a vampire run off at once.


  • The rain was very slow to run off after a storm, so the house had to be built on stilts. 

sell out

sell ownership

  • The bad economy forced him to sell out his shares in the firm.

sell all the merchandise in a store

  • The store manager told me they were all sold out of milk until next week.

settle up

pay a bill or debt

  • I will settle up with you on pay day.

show up


  • He never showed up for his business appointment.

shut up

stop talking

  • After Sara yelled at him, he shut up and wouldn't say another word.

slip up

make a mistake

  • When I called Paul "Edgar", I really slipped up.

stand by


  • You go ahead and finish your work. I'll stand by, in case you need my help.

stand out

be noticeable

  • A tall person always stands out in a crowd.

stand up

rise from a sitting position

  • It shows respect to stand up when a woman enters the room.


  • Anyone who can stand up to hardship has a strong character.

stay over

spend one night or longer with someone

  • Because of the storm, we decided to stay over at Pam's.

step aside

move to one side

  • Step aside to let the paramedics come through.

Separable Phrasal Verbs T-Z

take back


  • The hat looked awful, so she took it back to the store.

  • The hat was on sale, so it couldn't be taken back.


  • Take back what you said, or I'll never forgive you.

  • Take your words back, or you'll be sorry!

take down

write from dictation

  • A good stenographer takes down everything her boss says, without missing a word.

  • Her boss said, "Take a letter, Miss Jones". She took every word he said down.

take off

remove a piece of clothing

  • Take off those wet clothes before you catch a cold.

  • Take those wet clothes off before you catch a cold.

be absent from work

  • Benjamin took off time from work to go to the baseball game.

  • Benjamin took time off from work to go to the baseball game.

take up

begin or start a hobby

  • When Adam took up sky-diving, he stopped being afraid of heights.

  • Adam had always wanted to sky-dive, so he took it up last summer.

talk over


  • Let's talk it over before we make a decision.

  • We should talk over the details before we finalize our plans.

tell off

tell someone bluntly what he or she did wrong

  • Cynthia told me off when I picked her up late.

  • I should tell my boss off the next time she harasses me!

tick off

make someone angry

  • I really get ticked off when people call me "hun".

  • Rex ticked her off when he winked at another girl.

write a check mark next to items on a list

  • Celeste ticked off the test questions that didn't need to be studied.

  • Dora ticked every item off  that was on her shopping list, to be sure she bought everything she needed.

throw away


  • I hate to throw away good clothes. Let's give them to that poor family.

  • When will you throw that old torn sweater away?

throw out


  • Brenda needs to throw out some of the food in the refrigerator.  It is growing green fuzz.

  • Brenda needs to throw some of the food out of the refrigerator.  It is growing green fuzz.

  force someone to leave

  • When the boys on the football team start to party, they sometimes get thrown out of the club.

  • What happened to the two men who were fighting? The guard threw them out of the store.

take down

remove from a high place

  • Amelia took down the book from the shelf.

  • Amelia took the book down from the shelf.

tear down

Mock, belittle/criticize

  • Some people have to tear down everyone they come in contact with.

  • When he gave his speech, he tore everyone down, except for his girlfriend.


  • Okay men, tear the whole building down, and then clean up the mess.

  • Okay men, tear down the whole building, and then clean up the mess.

tear up

rip into pieces

  • James tore up his traffic tickets. Now he's really in trouble!

  • James said he would tear his traffic tickets up. He'll really be in trouble if he does that!

tell off


  • Just tell your boss off the next time he makes sexual comments.

  • Cindy told off her boss, and then he fired her.

tell on (slang: rat on/snitch on)

report misbehavior

  • If you don't behave, someone will tell on you.

  • I'm going to tell the teacher on you!

(rat on and snitch on are only inseparable)

think over

consider something for some period of time

  • Think over my proposal for a day or two.

  • Yes, I do need to think it over before I make such a big decision.

think up


  • If Annie can think up a good excuse for her boss, she can stay home from work tomorrow.

  • Annie's going to think a great excuse up so she can stay home from work tomorrow.

think through

consider a decision/action from start to finish

  • Nate thinks everything through carefully before acting.

  • Nate thinks through every little detail carefully before acting.

throw away


  • Americans throw away more waste than any other people.

  • Americans throw more waste away than any other people.

throw up

to remind someone (in a scolding or mocking tone of voice) of something they did wrong

  • Winston got a traffic ticket for speeding, and Sally throws it up to him constantly.
  • Jim hates it when his mother throws up every little error he ever made.

throw over

reject a person

  • Anita threw Patrick over for a bus driver.

  • "She threw over a doctor for a bus driver!" complained her mother. (She rejected a doctor, and chose a bus driver to be her boyfriend.)

tie up


  • Tie up your horses or they will stray.

  • Tie your horses up or they will stray.

tire out


  • A three-year-old can tire out a professional athlete!

  • A three-year-old can tire a professional athlete out!

touch up

repair (can also mean a woman fixing her makeup or hair)

  • The car only needs a little bit of touching up before it can be sold.

  • Marcy said she needs to touch her face up, and then she'll be ready to go.

try on

wear a garment to check the fit and how it looks

  • That coat is too tight. Didn't you try it on before you bought it?

  • Try on the coat to see if it fits.

try out

uses a machine to see if it works

  • Always try a car out before buying it.

  • We tried out the new car before we bought it.

turn around

face the opposite direction; make a radical change in things ( usually from bad to good)

  • Turn around to see a big surprise.

  • You can turn your life around if you really want to.

turn down

reduce the volume

  • Rod swears he will go deaf if the television isn't turned down.

  • Turn the TV down! It's much too loud!


  • Delores turned down a great job last week.

  • Delores turned a great job down last week.

turn in

deliver to the authorities, or someone in charge (boss, parents, teachers)

  • If we turn in the stolen money, we might get a reward.

  • Someone lost these keys, and we should turn them in.

turn into


  • The frog turned into a prince when Sleeping Beauty kissed him.

  • The witch threatened to turn me into a worm!

turn off

bore or repulse (informal)

  • Dirty fingernails really turn people off.

  • Marion gets turned off by rude behavior, so watch your manners.

stop the action of something by using a handle or switch

  • Let's turn off the front light and pretend we aren't home.

  • When I turned the vacuum cleaner off, the silence in the house was glorious.

turn on

activate by using a handle or switch

  • When Leslie turned on her microphone, the volume was much too high.

  • The next time she turned it on, the sound was much softer.

to be very interested in something, or enjoy something very much (informal)

  • Don told me that a good dance band turns him on. (only this word order)

to be turned on (only informal usage)

to feel sexually stimulated by something

  • He's turned on by the way she walks, and the perfume she's wearing.

  • She likes turning him on.

turn out


  • The factory turned out over 10,000 computers last year.

  • Paige's Bakery turns doughnuts out by the dozens and dozens!

extinguish (a light)

  • Turn out the light. I can't sleep with the light on.

  • Turn the light out . It's time to go to sleep.

turn up

increase the volume

  • I can't hear the music unless you turn it up.

  • If I turn up the volume any louder, I'll ruin the speakers.

wake up

make some one stop sleeping

  • Getting cold water poured over your head would surely wake you up.

  • Wake up, sleepyhead!  It's almost time for school.

wash off

wash the surface

  • Wash the milk off the counter before it gets sticky.

  • They washed off the road tar before they sent the car to be polished.

wash out

wash the inside

  • The garbage can needs to be washed out.

  • She hated washing the garbage cans out because of the stench.

to do a small amount of laundry

  • Wash out your jeans, they are filthy!

  • Wash your jeans out, they are filthy!

wear out/to be worn out

no longer useable

  • The tread on Eric's tires was completely worn out.

  • Tommy, you're wearing your jeans out, crawling on the ground.

to be tiring/exhausted

  • Studying all day just wears me out!

  • I am always worn out after mowing the grass.

wind up


  • Let's wind up this job and get the heck out of here.

  • Let's wind this job up and get the heck out of here.

tighten springs of a clock/watch

  • It was Joseph's job to wind up the clock each morning.

  • Joseph wound the clock up each morning.

wipe off

wipe the surface

  • Wipe off the milk that spilled on the table.

  • Wipe the table off after we're finished eating dinner.

wipe out

wipe the inside of

  • When you have cleaned the table, wipe out the inside of the kitchen closet.

  • When you have cleaned the table, wipe the kitchen closet out with pesticide.

work out

solve a problem

  • We worked out all of the problems the manufacturing department had.

  • They're trying to work their marital problems out,  but I'm not sure it's possible.

wrap up


  • I need to wrap all my business affairs up before leaving on vacation.

  • Can we wrap up this business meeting right now?

write down

record in writing

  • Every night, Amy writes everything down in her diary.

  • Every night, Amy writes down what she did that day in her diary.

write out

write every detail

  • The officer wrote out the arrest reports at the close of each work day.

  • The officer wrote the report out before he went off duty.

 write someone up

a negative report written by a supervisor about an employee

  • If the supervisor writes me up again for being late to work, I'll lose my job.

  • How many times have you been written up this year?

Inseparable Phrasal Verbs  T-W

take after

physically resemble/inherit certain qualities

  • 1) Concerning your talents for sports, who do you think you take after? 2) I take after my maternal grandmother, who won an Olympic Gold Medal.

take care of

help/provide for

  • "I will take care of you for the rest of your life," said the Prince to Cinderella.

watch your health

  • Take care of yourself, because there's lot of flu going around.

make arrangements for

  • Mort took care of the funeral arrangements.

talk back to

answer rudely

  • Never talk back to someone bigger than you are.

touch on

briefly mention

  • Last semester the professor only touched on the Civil War.

try out for


  • My nephew wants to try out for the part of Darth Vader in the school play.

watch out for

be careful of

  •  Shawn warned us to watch out for the boss, because she's in a very bad mood.

Intransitive Phrasal Verbs  T-Z

take off


  • The spaceship was ready to take off for the stars.

take over 

assume command

  • When Captain Kirk was captured, Mr. Spock took over.

throw up 


  • People who drink too much alcohol at one time usually throw up.

turn around 

face 180 degrees opposite to the direction you're facing

  • Don't turn around, but there's someone following us.

turn in

go to bed

  • It's time for me to turn in, because tomorrow will be a long day at work.

turn out


  • We hope that a lot of people turn out for the swimming competition.

turn up 

something or someone that's been lost suddenly appears

  • Have your car keys turned up yet? (Have you or anyone found them yet?) 

wait for

wait until someone or something arrives or is finished

  • 1) Why is Alan late for work? 2) He's still waiting for his clothes to dry.

wait up for

stay awake to wait for something or someone

  • Don't wait up for me. I'll be home very late.

wake up 

awaken, stop sleeping

  • Jasmine woke up when she heard a noise outside her bedroom window.

walk back 

return to a previous point

  • Let's walk back to the coffee shop, instead of driving there.

walk over 

walk to where someone/something is

  • Andrea has to walk over to the television to turn it on, because the remote control is missing.

wash out 

fail, not be up to a standard

  • 1) Did Perry graduate from the university? 2) No, he washed out because of poor grades.

watch out

be careful

  • Watch out! That dog looks vicious. 

wear off

 fade and disappear, or lose effect through use or time

  • Tattoos may fade with age, but they never wear off.

  • The medicine takes the pain away for 3 hours, and then it wears off.

wear out

become used up

  • Joyce had had those jeans so long that the knees were worn out.

work out


  • Mickey works out every chance he gets.

be successful

  • Terry is sure that his plan will work out.

wrap up (also said "bundle up")

dress warmly

  • It is going to be very cold today, so please wrap up.

zonk out

fall asleep quickly because of being very tired

  • After a day at the beach, we zonked out in the car on the drive home.

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