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Phrasal Verbs: Relationships, Habits, & Debate

Study phrasal verbs to speak about relationships, habits, and debate. Learning English phrasal verbs is very important for all English language learners. Phrasal verbs are used in conversation as well as in writing. Improve your English by learning the phrasal verbs in this free English lesson. Make sure to download the free pdf!

Let’s study English phrasal verbs!

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Act on

to take action

If you have a gut instinct, you should act on it.

Cut back/down on

to restrict consumption

Sally needs to cut back on butter.

Deck out

to decorate

Hugh’s apartment is decked out in chic furniture.

Die down

to slowly end

The party died down around midnight.

Do away with

to put an end to, remove

The government wants to do away with the penny.

Ease in(to)

to gradually acclimate

Don’t just start a new diet, you should ease into it.

Fall apart

to break down

My parents’ marriage fell apart when I was a toddler.

Knuckle down

to get serious

Sam needs to knuckle down and burn those calories.

Look up to

to admire 

Larry looks up to Denis.

Man up

to exert masculine power

Man up and do what you promised me!

Measure up (to)

to compare to

Oscar finds it difficult to measure up to his track star brother.

Mess around

to not be serious, to joke

When he turned 29, Jim stopped messing around and got married.

Mess up

to botch

My wife always has to cook dinner because I can mess up the simplest meals.

Nod off

to fall asleep

As the jet landed in Kyoto, I finally nodded off.

Rally around

to support

Conservatives rally around gun rights.

Stand by

to support

Tammy Wynette said you have to stand by your man.

to wait

The train is approaching the station, please stand by.

Wear out

to exhaust

I wore my shoes out. They have holes in them!

Air out

to expose to fresh air

That quilt is rank, Mark! Go air it out.

Back down

to relent

You can stand me up at the gates of hell and I won’t back down.

Back off

to stop being involved

Michelle’s ex-husband needs to back off.

Blow up

to explode, to detonate

The lit cigarette made the lawnmower blow up.

Buy into

to invest, to believe

Why do so many celebrities buy into scientology?

Cut in

to interrupt

Stephan’s online-poker habit is cutting into his work.

Dawn on

to realize

It just dawned on me that I can’t go to the Keys this weekend, I forgot that I have a wedding to attend.

Hang up

to end a phone call

When telemarketers call me, I just hang up.

Hear out

to allow someone to finish talking

If you just hear him out, we might make some cash.

Heat up

to intensify

The debate around gun control is really heating up.

Look into

to research

I don’t know much about that, but I’ll look into it.

Run out of

to use all of something

We always run out of coffee on Sunday evening.

Stand for

to represent

The “v sign” stands for peace.

Stand up to

to resist

Whatever you do, don’t stand up to the police!

Talk into

to persuade somebody to do something

Somehow, she talked me into working Saturday.

Talk out of

to persuade somebody not to do something

His family talked him out of joining the Peace Corps.

Work out

to resolve

Todd and Mary worked out their problems.

The phrasal verbs with an asterisk (*) are inseparable.When the direct object is a pronoun, it must be placed in the middle of a two-word phrasal verb. Example: Jane put them away. NOT: Jane put away them.

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I hope you learned some new phrasal verbs. Now, it’s your turn. Use the comment box below and try making sentences using one or some of these prhasal verbs.

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