Rob Lane

By Rob Lane

In a previous article, we saw an overview of phrasal verbs outlining how to study and use them. If you have not read the introduction, you should go back and do so before reading this. In this article, we will see some of the most common phrasal verbs along with a brief explanation and example for each.

Remember that there are often a number of different possible meanings for each phrasal verbs. In the list below I have included only the most common for each verb.

Note that with each verb there are letters. ‘T’ means that the verb is transitive (takes an object) whereas ‘I’ means it is intransitive (does not take an object). ‘S’ means that a transitive verb is separable. ‘T, I’ means that the verb is transitive but not separable.

bring up (1)

mention, raise, or introduce a topic or point (T, S)

Martin brought up a very interesting point during the meeting.

bring up (2)

raise, or provide for and educate (T, S)

Parents bring up children.

bring out

release a new product, service, update, album, book, edition (T, S)

Hi-Tech Ltd is bringing out a new smartphone in July.

bring about

cause an accident, or change in a situation (T, S)

The storm brought about a power cut.

bring forward

reschedule an appointment or meeting to an earlier time (T, S)

The manager wants to bring Friday’s meeting forward to Wednesday.

call off

cancel a meeting or game (T, S)

The game was called off.

come up

questions or problems arise (T, S)

A number of unforeseen problems came up during the project.

come up with

create an idea, strategy, concept, suggestion or plan (T, I)

Caroline came up with some great suggestions for my trip to Paris.

come across

encounter a thing or person you know

I came across some old photographs when I was clearing out the attic.

come about

an accident or situation occurs

The crash came about as a result of dangerous driving conditions.

end up

result, finish or be finally

I was walking around the streets of San Polo all evening. I ended up in Jazz Club 900.

find out

discover information (T, S)

I called Paula to find out when the client was due to arrive.

figure out

resolve or understand a complex idea or problem (T, S)

After thinking about it for ages, Michael finally figured out the equation.

go over

review or check information, plans, or details (T, I)

Let’s go over the plan so everybody is clear on it.

go through

read, do, complete a task, or explain something (T, S)

After I had gone through the first two tasks, I took a short break.

go through (2)

experience a something difficult or unpleasant (T, S)

Maura is going through a difficult period at the moment.

You Should

Create example written dialogues using each of the verbs above and ask your tutor to check them. In your examples, you should experiment with changing object position and pronouns. Again, make sure before you begin that you are comfortable with the rules outlined in the introductory article.