20 Phrasal Verbs to Improve Your English

Learning phrasal verbs can really enrich your English and help you to sound more like a native speaker. Here are 20 common phrasal verbs for you to learn and start using now!

 

1. break up (with somebody) = to end a relationship

She wants to break up with her boyfriend.

 

2. look after (somebody/something) = to care for (somebody/something)

It's hard work looking after three small children all day.

 

3. get back together = to start a relationship again after a break up

He always leaves her and then a week later they get back together.

 

4. put something off = delay, wait or hesitate to do something

I must talk to her about this. I can't put it off any longer.

 

5. put somebody off = to distract somebody

I did badly in the exam because the people talking loudly outside really put me off.

 

6. put somebody off something = cause somebody to lose interest or enjoyment in something

The food poisoning he got from a prawn really put him off seafood.

 

7. pop in = visit briefly

popped in to the shop on my way home from work as we needed some bread.

 

8. watch out = be careful

Watch out for pickpockets when travelling in big cities.

 

9. come up with something = think of something e.g. an idea or a plan

He's come up with an amazing idea for a robot which cleans your teeth for you.

 

10. set off = to start a journey

We should set off early to avoid the traffic.

 

11. pick somebody/something up = to collect

John is going to pick me up from the airport when I arrive.

 

12. drop somebody/something off = to leave somebody/something at a particular place

Would you like me to drop you off at the station?

 

13go through something = to experience a difficult or unpleasant situation

He's been going through a stressful time at work. 

 

14. look forward to something = to feel pleased or excited about something that is going to happen

I'm really looking forward to going to New York next month. 

 

15. turn up = to appear or arrive (often unexpectedly)

I only invited ten people to the party, but in the end more than twenty people turned up!

 

16. try something out = test something to discover if it works, or if you like it

I'm going to try my new running trainers out at the weekend.

 

17. give something up = to stop/quit doing something 

I'm trying to give up smoking.

 

18. come across something = to find something by chance

He came across some old love letters when he was tidying the basement.

 

19. ask somebody out = invite somebody on a date

David asked Kate out to dinner and to watch a film at the cinema.

 

20. have a lot on your plate = to be very busy or have a large amount of work to do

She's got a lot on her plate with three new projects starting next week. 

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