30 Most Common English Phrasal Verbs with Meanings

Hello everyone,

Today we are going to talk about the 30 most common English phrasal verbs with meanings

Phrasal verbs are extremely common in the English language, yet they can be confusing for those learning English as a second language.

What is a phrasal verb?

A phrasal verb is a verb combined with a preposition or adverb that creates a new meaning that is different from the original verb.

The additional word(s) change the meaning of the original verb in a way that makes phrasal verbs idiomatic – their meanings aren’t easily deduced from the individual words that make them up.

For example, the verb “get” means to acquire or obtain something.

But when you combine it with the particle “up,” you get the phrasal verb “get up,” which means to rise from a lying or sitting position.

As you can see, the meaning is completely different from the original “get.”

Phrasal verbs are extremely common in casual, spoken English.

Even native English speakers use them constantly without realizing it.

As a non-native speaker, mastering phrasal verbs is key to sounding more natural and fluent in English.

To get you started, here are 30 of the most common English phrasal verbs explained in simple terms with examples:

1. Break down

Meaning: To separate into smaller parts, or stop functioning
Example: I need to break this project down into smaller tasks.

2. Bring up

Meaning: To start talking about a particular topic
Example: My boss brought up the issue of tardiness at the meeting.

3. Call off

Meaning: To cancel
Example: They had to call off the baseball game due to rain.

4. Carry on

Meaning: To continue
Example: Just carry on with your work while I’m gone.

5. Check out

Meaning: To investigate, or to pay for items when leaving a store
Example: Be sure to check out the museum exhibit before it ends.

6. Come across

Meaning: To find or discover by chance
Example: I came across this interesting book at the library.

7. Drop off

Meaning: To deliver someone or something briefly
Example: Can you drop me off at the mall on your way home?

8. Figure out

Meaning: To solve or understand something
Example: I can’t figure out how to solve this math problem.

9. Get along

Meaning: To have a friendly relationship
Example: My coworkers and I get along really well.

10. Get up

Meaning: To rise from a lying or sitting position
Example: What time do you get up in the morning?

11. Give up

Meaning: To quit or stop trying
Example: I’ve given up looking for that missing sock.

12. Go over

Meaning: To review or check
Example: Let’s go over the plan one more time before the meeting.

13. Hang up

Meaning: To end a telephone call
Example: She forgot to hang up after her call last night.

14. Hold on

Meaning: To wait
Example: Hold on a minute while I grab my keys.

15. Keep up

Meaning: To continue at the same pace
Example: I can’t keep up with all this new slang!

16. Look into

Meaning: To investigate
Example: The police are looking into the robbery.

17. Make up

Meaning: To invent, or to reconcile after an argument
Example: Let’s make up after our fight yesterday.

18. Pick up

Meaning: To get someone or something by vehicle, or to lift
Example: I need to pick up my dry cleaning this afternoon.

19. Point out

Meaning: To identify or indicate
Example: She pointed out a grammatical error in my essay.

20. Put off

Meaning: To postpone or delay
Example: I kept putting off my chores all weekend.

21. Run into

Meaning: To meet someone by chance
Example: I ran into an old friend at the grocery store.

22. Show up

Meaning: To become visible, or to arrive
Example: He never showed up for our lunch date.

23. Sort out

Meaning: To organize or arrange
Example: I need to sort out my finances before my next trip.

24. Take off

Meaning: To remove something, or for an aircraft to become airborne
Example: She took off her coat when she came inside.

25. Talk over

Meaning: To discuss
Example: We need to talk over the plan with our boss.

26. Try on

Meaning: To sample clothing by wearing it briefly
Example: Can I try these jeans on in the dressing room?

27. Turn down

Meaning: To reject or deny
Example: He turned down my invitation to dinner.

28. Wake up

Meaning: To rouse from sleep
Example: I need to wake up earlier for my new job.

29. Watch out

Meaning: To be cautious or careful
Example: Watch out for that pothole in the road!

30. Work out

Meaning: To exercise, or to resolve
Example: I need to work out a plan for this weekend.

While this list covers 30 of the most common phrasal verbs, there are hundreds more used frequently in English.

As you continue learning the language, make a point of studying phrasal verbs and their meanings.

Use them regularly, and they’ll start feeling more and more natural over time.

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