The verb is perhaps the most important part of the sentence. A verb or compound verb asserts something about the subject of the sentence and expresses actions, events or states of being. The verb or compound verb is the critical element of the predicate of a sentence.
In each of the following sentences, the verb or compound verb is used.
back up : support
I will back up your story.
bail out : rescue
If you run into difficulties, who will bail you out?
break in : make something new fit for use
I broke in my new hiking boots.
breathe in : inhale
We breathed in the fresh air.
breathe out : exhale
I breathed out a sigh of relief.
bring back : return
She brought back her library books.
bring around : persuade
We gradually brought her around to our point of view.
bring up : raise
Bringing up children is never easy.
butter up : flatter
We buttered him up, hoping that he would agree to our proposal.
call in : ask to assist
I think it is time we called in an expert.
call off : cancel
We called off the meeting.
call up : telephone
Why don't you call him up?
cheer on : cheer, encourage
I will be there to cheer you on.
chop down : fell
They chopped down the dead tree.
clean up : tidy
The mayor asked everyone to help clean up the city streets.
fend off : repel
The goalie fended off every attack.
ferret out : find with difficulty
We managed to ferret out the information.
figure out : solve, understand
I can't figure out what happened.
fill in : complete
Please fill in this form.
fill out : complete
I filled out the form.
fill up : make full
We filled up the glasses with water.
give back : return
I gave back the bicycle I had borrowed.
give off : send out
Skunk cabbage gives off an unpleasant odor.
hand down : give to someone younger
The tradition was handed down from father to son.
hand in : give to person in authority
The students handed their assignments in to the teacher.
hand on : give to another person
I am not sorry to hand the responsibility on to you.
hand over : transfer
We had to hand the evidence over to the police.
hang up : break a telephone connection
After receiving a busy signal, I hung up the phone.
hold back : restrain, delay
He is so enthusiastic. It is hard to hold him back.
iron out : remove
I am sure we can iron out every difficulty.
knock out : make unconscious
Boxers are often knocked out.
lap up : accept eagerly
The public lapped up the story.
lay off : put out of work
The company laid off seventy workers.
leave behind : leave, not bring
I accidentally left my umbrella behind.
leave out : omit
Tell me what happened. Don't leave anything out!
let down : disappoint
We will let him down if we don't arrive on time.
live down : live so that past faults are forgotten
This will be hard to live down!
look up : find (information)
We looked up the word in a dictionary.
make up : invent
She likes to make up stories.
pass up : not take advantage
I couldn't pass up such an opportunity.
pension off : dismiss with a pension
He was pensioned off at the age of sixty.
phase in : introduce gradually
The new program will be phased in over the next six months.
phase out : cease gradually
The practice will gradually be phased out.
pick up : collect
You may pick up the papers at the office.
pin down : get a commitment
When the guest speaker is pinned down, we can set a date for the conference.
play down : de-emphasize
He played down the importance of the news.
point out : draw attention to
She pointed out the advantages of the proposal.
polish off : finish
We polished off the rest of the apple pie.
pull down : demolish
Many old buildings are pulled down to make way for new ones.
pull off : succeed
Do you think she can pull off her plan?
put away : put in proper place
It is time to put the toys away.
put back : return to original location
Please put the book back on the shelf.
put off : postpone
We cannot put off the meeting again.
reel off : recite a long list
She reeled off a long list of names.
rope in : persuade to help
We roped in everyone we could to help with the work.
rub out : erase
Be sure to rub out all the pencil marks.
rule out : remove from consideration
None of the possibilities can be ruled out yet.
scale down : reduce
Because of lack of funds, we had to scale down our plans.
sell off : dispose of by selling
We sold off all the books and furniture.
set back : delay
This could set back the project by several years.
shout down : stop from speaking by shouting
The crowd shouted down the speaker.
shrug off : dismiss as unimportant
He attempted to shrug off the mistake.
single out : select from others
You have been singled out for special attention.
size up : assess
I quickly sized up the situation.
sort out : organize
It will take some time to sort out this mess.
sound out : talk with to learn the opinion of
We attempted to sound him out.
stammer out : stammer
They stammered out their apologies.
sum up : summarize
He summed up the discussion in a few well-chosen words.
summon up : gather
I attempted to summon up my courage.
take in : absorb
We tried to take in the new information.
take out : invite to a restaurant
May I take you out for supper?
take over : assume control
They will take over at the beginning of June.
talk over : discuss
Let us talk it over before we decide.
tear up : destroy by tearing
She tore up the letter.
think over : consider
I need some time to think it over.
think up : invent
What will they think up next?
track down : search for and find
We finally tracked him down at the bookstore.
trade in : give as part payment
Why don't you trade in your old vacuum cleaner for a new one?
try on : test clothes by putting them on
I tried on the new suit, but it didn't fit me.
try out : test by using
Would you like to try out my fountain pen?
turn away : refuse admission
The event was so popular that many people had to be turned away.
turn back : reverse direction
Every fall the clocks must be turned back by one hour.
turn off : deactivate by using a switch
I turned off the radio.
turn on : activate by using a switch
Please turn on the light.
water down : dilute
The soup has been watered down.
wear out : gradually destroy by wearing or using
My jacket is wearing out, although it is only a year old.
write down : make a note
I wrote down the instructions.
write off : cancel, regard as
They were forced to write off several irretrievable debts.
write up : compose in writing
I used my notes to write up the report.