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Phrasal Verbs

  • The phrasal verb is neither a finite verb nor a non-finite verb but a kind of compound word which is made up mostly of a finite verb and an adverb.
  • This poses a problem because the meaning of the words in combination offers no clue as to the meaning of the construction.
  • The different types of phrasal verbs include:
    • simple phrasal verbs,
    • complex phrasal verbs,
    • multiple phrasal.
Simple Phrasal Verbs
  • These consist of a verb and one participle which may be an adverb or a preposition
  • For example:
    • Drop out – withdraws
    • Drop by, in, over, round – visit
    • Drop off – diminish/deliver
    • Come after – pursue
    • Come across – find unexpectedly/by chance
    • Come off – separate, happen, occur
    • Come forward – offer/present
    • Come round – visit
    • Come through – succeed/survive
    • Come up – arise/appear
    • Come upon – chance on/attack
    • Come down – descend
    • Come over – take possession of/happen
    • Come off – descend from/result from
    • Go about – move about/busy with/mind one’s business
    • Go over – examine/rehearse/repeat
    • Go by – to pass/be guided by
    • Go through – to undergo/suffer/examine
    • Go into – investigate/join/examine thoroughly
    • Go off – explode/discharge/depart/leave
    • Go under – succumb/sink/overwhelm/conquer
    • Go ahead – proceed, make progress/advance
    • Go against – oppose/act contrary to
    • Go along – agree/carry on/escort/cooperate
    • Take off – remove/rise/move/rescue
    • Take up – accept/acquire/lift
    • Take on – handle/deal with/employ/accept
    • Take to – practice/like or conceive liking for/disappear
    • Take stock – consider/estimate
    • Take in – become pregnant/understand/absorb/reduce
    • Take after – resemble
    • Take heed – pay attention
    • Take heart – gain courage/confidence
    • Take over – assume control/accept
    • Take down – write, dismantle, pull down
    • Give in – surrender/submit/hand over/yield
    • Give rise – cause/result in
    • Give up – surrender/abandon/stop/desist
    • Give over – stop/abandon/cease opposition
    • Give birth – to bear/to originate
    • Give away – bestow as a gift/hand over/reveal
    • Give way – collapse/concede/yield/bend over
    • Give off – emit/send forth/made known
    • Give tongue – to bark/bay (hunting dog)
    • Make up – to falsify/fabricate/compose
    • Make believe – feign/pretence/unreal
    • Make off (with) – hurry away/escape
    • Make for – move in the direction of/rush
    • Make out – discern/see/understand
    • Make away (with) – carry off/steal/kill/destroy
    • Make after – pursue/chase
    • Make at – move aggressively towards
    • Make of – understand/interpret
    • Die down – lessen, subside/become less violent
    • Die hard – obstinate/strong resistance/resilience
    • Let down – disappoint/fail to help/put down
    • Let alone – to say nothing of/no to mention
    • Let loose – free/release from restraints
    • Let in (into) – allow to enter
    • Do up – fasten/wrap/tie up/clean/repair
    • Do away with – discard/throw/abolish
    • Do in – kill
    • Do without – to get along/exist without
Complex Phrasal Verbs
  • These are made up of a verb and two participles
  • For example:
    • Do away with – abolish/get rid off
    • Put up with – endure without protest/bear patiently
    • Look forward – anticipate
    • Get down to – to begin to act on/investigate to
    • Stand up to – face/confront courageously to
    • Stand up for – side with/take part of
    • Come in for – to get/be eligible to receive/acquire
Multiple Phrasal Verbs
  • These consist of a verb and more than three participle.
  • For example:
    • Put one’s house in order – to tidy up one’s personal self or business affairs
    • Feather one’s nest – to enrich oneself
    • Demand/give an eye for an eye – to punish as severe as the injury
    • Die with one’s boots on – to die while still working
    • Die in one’s boots –  to die not in bed
    • Give someone the boot – to dismiss
    • Turn the table on one’s opponent – to thwart opponent’s action
    • Turn an honest penny – to earn money honestly
    • Give a run for one’s money – to compete
    • Come to terms with – reach an agreement
    • Have the time of one’s life – to enjoy one’s life completely
    • To do time – to serve a prison sentence
    • Pull wool over one’s eye – deceive/trick
    • To smell a rat – become suspicious/suspect
    • To nip in the bud – to prevent from happening especially at the beginning stage
    • Cut of one’s nose to – to damage one’s own
    • Spit the face – interest in a bid to revenge
    • Talk with one’s tongue – to joke, to be insincere
    • Tighten one’s belt – to practice thrift/to eat less food
    • Blow one’s trumpet – to praise oneself
    • Gird one’s lions – to be on full alert/to prepare for action
    • Be generous to a fault – to be excessively generous
    • Back a wrong horse – to support a loser in a contest
    • Look a gift horse in the mouth – to accept a gift ungratefully
    • Tell the gospel truth – to tell the whole truth
    • Be on the horns of dilemma – to be faced with a choice between two unpleasant/undesirable alternatives
    • Beg the question – to avoid the real issue
    • Hang on by the eyelids – to have a very slight and insecure hold
    • Count one’s chicken before – to rely on something that is uncertain
    • Bury the hatchet – to stop quarreling
    • Take up the hatchet – to start up hostilities
    • Be out of bounds – to be restricted/not open to all
    • Eat one’s words – to deny what one had earlier said
    • Talk through one’s hat – to talk nonsense/to bluff
    • Act under/before one’s eye – in one’s presence/in front of
    • Make one tear one’s hair out – to make one feel very worried
    • Be swept off one’s feet – to be overcome by feeling/filled with enthusiasm
    • Hang in the balance – not certain
    • Have other fish to fry – have more important business to attend to
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