Phrasal verbs are a key component of everyday English conversation. They can be tricky to grasp, and even more so to perfect! These versatile expressions consist of a verb combined with either a preposition or adverb, to create a new, often unique, meaning. No matter which variety of English you're learning, - be it British, American or international English - understanding and using these 25 common phrasal verbs will significantly improve your fluency!
Which phrasal verbs are worth learning?
To make this journey easier for you, I embarked on a linguistic adventure, recording every phrasal verb that crossed my path in a single day. The result? An exhaustive list of the 25 most common phrasal verbs used in everyday conversations.
English phrasal verbs I use every day!
1. Turn up (British) / Show up (American): To arrive or appear at a place. Example: I hope Mary turns up for the party tonight.
2. Take off: To remove clothing or to become airborne (for a plane). Example: The plane is about to take off, so please fasten your seatbelts.
3. Look after: To take care of someone or something. Example: Can you look after the kids while I run to the store?
4. Call off: To cancel an event or arrangement. Example: Due to bad weather, they had to call off the picnic.
5. Get along with: To have a good relationship with someone. Example: Jane always gets along with her coworkers.
6. Give up: To quit or stop doing something. Example: It's never a good idea to give up when things get tough.
7. Set up: To establish or arrange something. Example: They plan to set up a new business in town.
8. Look up: To search for information in a reference source, like a dictionary. Example: I had to look up the meaning of that word.
9. Go on: To continue or proceed. Example: The show must go on despite the technical difficulties.
10. Turn down: To reject an offer or request. Example: Unfortunately, they had to turn down the job offer.
11. Break down: To stop functioning or to have an emotional collapse. Example: The car broke down on the way to the airport.
12. Catch up: To get up to date with someone or something. Example: Let's meet for coffee and catch up on our lives.
13. Bring up: To mention a topic or raise an issue. Example: She didn't want to bring up the subject during dinner.
14. Run out of: To deplete the supply of something. Example: We've run out of milk; I'll need to buy more.
15. Put off: To postpone or delay something. Example: They had to put off the meeting until next week.
16. Pick up: To collect or acquire something. Example: Can you pick up some groceries on your way home?
17. Hang out: To spend time with friends or relax informally. Example: Let's hang out at the park this Saturday.
18. Get over: To recover from an illness or emotional distress. Example: It took her a while to get over the flu.
19. Take up: To start a new hobby or activity. Example: He decided to take up playing the guitar.
20. Turn on: To activate or start something. Example: Please turn on the lights; it's getting dark.
21. Put on: To wear clothing or accessories. Example: She loves to put on her favorite dress for special occasions.
22. Look out: To be cautious or watchful. Example: Look out for traffic when crossing the street.
23. Give in: To yield or surrender. Example: After a long negotiation, they had to give in to the demands.
24. Get by: To manage or survive with limited resources. Example: It's tough to get by on a tight budget.
25. Turn off: To switch something off or lose interest. Example: Please remember to turn off the lights when you leave the room.
These 25 common phrasal verbs are a fantastic starting point for improving your conversational English skills, Practice using these expressions in context to become more fluent and confident in your language abilities!
Join the Phrasal Verb Challenge on YouTube!
If you would like to participate in an English grammar or vocabulary challenge, join me on my YouTube channel every Sunday. I share the link to the KAHOOT CHALLENGE there!