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50 Most Common Phrasal Verbs in English

Wednesday, 28 August 2019
ballet Most Common Phrasal Verbs: My boyfriend didn't want to go to the ballet, but he finally gave in. Fitness photo created by freepik - www.freepik.com

In spoken English, about 80 percent of verbs are phrasal verbs. Have you ever wondered what the 50 most common ones are? Here is the complete list with definitions and examples!

50 Most Common Phrasal Verbs in English

Phrasal verb



ask out

invite on a date

Brian asked Judy out to dinner and a movie.

add up to


Your purchases add up to €206.89.

back up


You'll have to back up your car so that I can get out.

break down

stop functioning (vehicle, machine)

Our car broke down at the side of the highway in the snowstorm.

break up

end a relationship

The marriage broke up just a few years later.

carry on

continue an activity

For the moment they told us to carry on as usual.

carry out

complete a particular piece of work, research etc

An investigation is being carried out by the FBI.

come down with

become sick

My nephew came down with chicken pox this weekend.

come out

become known

After his death, it came out that he had lied about his age.

come up

be mentioned, especially unexpectedly

A number of interesting points came up at today’s meeting.

find out


We don't know where he lives. How can we find out?

get back


We got back from our vacation last week.

get on

step onto a vehicle

We're going to freeze out here if you don't let us get on the bus.

get up

get out of bed

I got up early today to study for my exam.

give in

reluctantly stop fighting or arguing

My boyfriend didn't want to go to the ballet, but he finally gave in.

give out

give to many people (usually at no cost)

They were giving out free perfume samples at the department store.

give up

quit a habit

I am giving up smoking as of January 1st.

go along

to agree with someone's opinion

I think I would tend to go along with what Tim was saying.

go off

stop working

The light goes off when the batteries are flat.

go out

leave home to go on a social event

We're going out for dinner tonight.

go over


Please go over your answers before you submit your test.


prevent from doing/going

I had to hold my dog back because there was a cat in the park.

hold on

wait a short time

Please hold on while I transfer you to the Sales Department.

look after

take care of

I have to look after my sick grandmother.

look back

think about something that happened in the past

When I look back, I'm filled with happiness.

look for

try to find

I'm looking for a red dress for the wedding.

look forward to

be excited about the future

I'm looking forward to the Christmas break.

look something up

search and find information in a reference book or database

We can look her phone number up on the Internet.

make something up

invent, lie about something

Josie made up a story about why we were late.

make up

forgive each other

We were angry last night, but we made up at breakfast.

pass out


It was so hot in the church that an elderly lady passed out.

pick out


I picked out three sweaters for you to try on.

pick up

go and meet someone that you have organised to take somewhere in a vehicle

We drove to the airport the next morning to pick up Mary.

point out

indicate with your finger

I'll point my boyfriend out when he runs by.

put something off


We are putting off our trip until January because of the hurricane.

put something on

put clothing/ accessories on your body

Don't forget to put on your new earrings for the party.

put up with

accept an unpleasant situation

He's so moody - I don't know why she puts up with him.

run into

meet unexpectedly

I ran into an old school-friend at the mall.

run out of

have none left

We ran out of shampoo so I had to wash my hair with soap.

set off

start a journey

We set off early the next morning.

set up

arrange, organize

Our boss set a meeting up with the president of the company.

sit down

move your body so that the lower part of it is on a seat or on the ground

I must sit down, my feet are killing me!

take after somebody

resemble a family member

I take after my mother. We are both impatient.

take off

start to fly

My plane takes off in five minutes.

take over

begin to have control of something

The company has been taken over by one of its main competitors.

turn down

decrease the volume or strength (heat, light etc)

Please turn the TV down while the guests are here.

turn off

stop the energy flow, switch off

Your mother wants you to turn the TV off and come for dinner.

turn out

happen in a particular way or to have a particular result

It turns out that he had known him when they were children.

use up

finish the supply

The kids used all of the toothpaste up so we need to buy some more.

work out


I work out at the gym three times a week.

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Last modified on Wednesday, 28 August 2019 21:01
More in this category: « Irregular Verbs