English Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal Verbs are idiomatic expressions, combining verbs and prepositions to make new verbs whose meaning is often not obvious from the dictionary definitions of the individual words. They are widely used in both written and spoken English, and new ones are formed all the time as they are a flexible way of creating new terms.

Phrasal Verb consists of a verb and a preposition or adverb that modifies or changes the meaning. Give up is such a verb that means stop doing something, which is very different from give. The word or words that modify a verb in this manner can also go under the name particle.

A reference page of
2,570 current English Phrasal Verbs (also called multi-word verbs) with definitions and examples is here.

Phrasal Verbs starting with A :

Account for : To explain

They had to ACCOUNT FOR all the money that had gone missing.

Ache for : Want something or someone a lot

My partner's been away for a fortnight. I am ACHING FOR her.

Act on : To take action because of something like information received

The police were ACTING ON a tip from an informer and caught the gang red-handed.

Act out :

1. Perform something with actions and gestures

They ACTED OUT the story on stage.

2. Express an emotion in your behaviour

Their anger is ACTED OUT in their antisocial behaviour.

Act up : Behave badly or strangely

My computer's ACTING UP. I think I might have a virus.

Add on : Include in a calculation

You have to ADD the VAT ON to the price they give.

Add up :

1. To make a mathematical total

We ADDED UP the bill to check it was correct.

2. Be a satisfactory explanantion for something

She explained why the work wasn't ready, but her story doesn't ADD UP.

Add up to : Have a certain result

Trains delays are getting worse and with the high fares, it all ADDS UP TO misery for the commuters.

Aim at : To target

The magazine is AIMED AT teenagers.

Allow for : Include something in a plan or calculation

You should ALLOW FOR delays when planning a journey.

Angle for : Try to get something indirectly, by hinting or suggesting

He's been ANGLING FOR an invitation, but I don't want him to come.

Answer back : To reply rudely to someone in authority

Her mother was shocked when she started ANSWERING her BACK and refusing to help.

Answer for :

1. Be held responsible for a problem

The government should be made to ANSWER FOR their failure to sort out the problem.

2. Speak on behalf of someone or from knowing them

I can ANSWER FOR my partner because I know her position on this issue.

Argue out : Argue about a problem to find a solution

If we can't ARGUE our differences OUT, we'll have to take them to court.

Ask after : Enquire about someone's health, how life is going

Jenny rang earlier and ASKED AFTER you, so I told her you were fine.

Ask around :

1. Ask a number of people for information of help

I have no idea, but I'll ASK AROUND at work and see if anyone can help.

2. Invite someone

We ASKED them AROUND for dinner.

Ask for : To provoke a negative reaction

You're ASKING FOR trouble.

Ask in : To invite somebody into your house

Jon's at the door. ASK him IN.

Ask out : To invite someone for a date

He wanted to ASK her OUT but was too shy.

Ask over : Invite

They have ASKED us OVER for drinks on Friday.

Ask round : Invite someone

We ASKED John ROUND for diner.

Auction off : Sell something in an auction

They AUCTIONED OFF their property as they were heavily in debt.
Grammar Tests| Grammar| Phrasal Verbs to HOME PAGE

Additional Info

Follow These Links!