Phrasal Verbs Phrasal verbs are very common in English but they also cause a few problems. First, there are very, very many phrasal verbs and it can be hard to know where to start. Second, phrasal verbs often have more than one meaning. 'Take off' can mean both 'leave the ground' and 'become successful'. 'Go on' has eight meanings in the Oxford Learner's Dictionary. How can we choose which meanings to study? Third, phrasal verbs are often used only in very specific situations. They have narrow meanings and you will often see the same examples again and again. These are the situations that it's important to learn. Even though 'go on' means 'happen', we can use 'happen' in a lot more situations than we can use 'go on'. 1: PICK UP = get something or someone from a place I picked up my brother from the airport. Please pick up some bread. Would you come and pick me up from work tonight? 2: COME UP WITH = produce an idea Julie came up with a great idea. He came up with an answer to the question very quickly. Can you come up with a better solution? 3: GROW UP = become an adult I grew up in Scotland. My children are growing up too fast! When will he grow up? 4: SET UP = create / arrange I need to set up a new bank account. She's decided to set up her own company. I set up some language classes at the school. 5: COME IN / INTO = enter (the speaker is in that place) Please come in! It's great to see you. She came into the living room and sat down. Don't come in! I'm not ready yet! 7. GIVE UP = stop having or doing She has finally given up smoking. I had to give up coffee when I was ill. He gave up chocolate for a month. 8. MAKE UP = be the parts that form something (often used in the passive with 'of') Women make up 46% of the employees here. This class is made up entirely of boys. People who can speak English make up a quarter of the world's population. 9. END UP = finally do or be something, especially when you don't expect it We ended up going back home because it was raining so hard. They ended up passing the last exam, even though they failed all the other exams. Be careful! You'll end up without a job if you are rude to your boss. 10. LOOK UP = raise your eyes She looked up from her computer and asked a question. I called his name, but he didn't look up. John looked up from his book when Julie came in. 11. SIT DOWN = change from standing to sitting Do please sit down. She sat down and took out her book. The children sat down in rows and crossed their legs. 12. GET UP = change from lying or sitting to standing (more casual than 'stand up') She got up when we arrived (= she was sitting and she stood up). I don't want to get up. It's so comfortable sitting here. What are you doing on the floor? Get up! 13. GO DOWN = move to a lower place (+ to + place) She started to go down the stairs. We went down to the café and bought some coffee. Let's go down to the cellar and see if we can find those books. 14. SHOW UP = arrive at or come to an event / meeting (especially if there's something surprising) We all went to the party, but Lucy didn't show up. He showed up at the meeting two hours late. Julie was very angry. I wonder if John's going to show up today. He didn't come last time. 13. TAKE OFF = remove clothes or jewelry I took off my coat because it was very hot. She always takes off all her rings before she goes to bed. Is it okay to take off my shoes? 14. STAND UP = change from lying or sitting to standing (less casual than 'get up') Please stand up when the queen comes in. She finished her coffee, stood up, and left the restaurant. He stood up to let an old man have his seat. 15. COME DOWN (FROM) = move from a high place to a lower place She came down slowly from the roof. Do come down! You’re going to fall! They came down from the tower. 16. GO UP = increase (in price or temperature, etc.) House prices have gone up a lot in the last few months. At the beginning of our trip, it was really cold but then the temperature went up. I can’t believe how much the prices have gone up since my last visit here. 17. WAKE UP = change from sleeping to being awake What time do you usually wake up? She woke me up at 5am! Could you wake up the children, please? 18. HOLD UP = hold something high up so people can see it She held up her hand. He held up the bag and asked if anyone would like a closer look. Please hold this up for a moment. 19. TAKE UP = use a certain amount of space or time The table takes up most of the kitchen! This work will take up the whole weekend. The children take up most of my time. 20. LOOK DOWN = move your eyes down She was very shy and she looked down when she met anyone new. I looked down to see a puppy at my feet. He opened the window and looked down. 21. PUT UP = put something where it will be seen She put up lots of pictures in her new flat. Please put up this notice. The children put their drawings up on the wall. 22. BRING UP = start to talk about I wasn’t going to mention it, but Julie brought up the plans for the holidays. I want to talk to my boss about my pay but I don’t know how to bring it up. After we sat down, she brought up the problems that she’d been having at work. 23. BRING IN = bring something to a place (often a workplace) I brought in some cakes for us as a treat. Please bring in your books tomorrow. I think I left my umbrella at your flat, could you bring it in tomorrow? 24. OPEN UP = make something be available Learning English opened up many new job opportunities for him. Now I've got an Italian passport, the whole of Europe has opened up. I can travel anywhere. She learned German and the work of Goethe opened up to her. 25. CATCH UP (be or get caught up) = be involved in something, often something you don't want to be Sorry I'm late. I got caught up at work. She was caught up in the strike at the airport. Let's leave now - they're going to ask for volunteers for the party and I don't want to be caught up in that! 26. GO IN = enter (becomes 'into' with 'to') She went into the house and shut the door. Let's go in here. John went into the café. 27. BREAK DOWN = stop working Unfortunately, her car broke down on the way to the school. My washing machine has broken down - can I wash my clothes at your house? The truck broke down and blocked the whole road. 28. GET OFF = leave a train / bus / plane I need to get off the bus near the hospital. She got off the plane and took a taxi to the party. We got off at the wrong station! 29. KEEP UP = move at the same speed as Wages haven't kept up with rent prices. Do keep up! Why are you walking so slowly? She talks so fast that I can't keep up. 30. PUT DOWN = place something on a table or the floor or similar I came into my room and put down my bag on the floor. She put her glass down on the table. Please put down that box! It's too heavy for one person to carry. 31. GO OFF = go somewhere to do something Julie went off to the gym. Where's Lucy? She's gone off to work. She went off to buy a skirt.