The most common phrasal verbs in English

by Andrea Byaruhanga
January 12, 2021
woman studying English phrasal verbs

Did you know that there are thousands of phrasal verbs in English

Well, it’s true – and you need to learn all of them.

Just kidding! 

While there are actually thousands of them, they’re not all equally common or useful.

To make it easy for you, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most used phrasal verbs in English. 

22 top English phrasal verbs

Bring up 

→ To mention something

I want to go to that party! Maybe if I bring it up when my mom is in a good mood, she’ll let me go.

To take care of a child until adulthood

 She lives in a big city now, but her parents brought her up in the countryside. 

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Calm down 

→ To stop yourself or someone else from being upset, angry or excited 

The baby has been crying all morning. I can’t calm her down!

Do over

→ To do something again 

My teacher wasn’t happy with my essay; she’s asked me to do it over. 

Dress up

→ To wear formal clothes, usually for a special occasion. 

Let’s do something fun this weekend. Why don’t we dress up and go out for a fancy dinner?

To wear special clothes or a costume to change your appearance.

My favourite holiday has always been Halloween. I love dressing up in scary costumes!

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Eat out 

→ To eat at a restaurant

We’re trying to save money this year, so we’re going to stop eating out so often. 

End up

→ To finally be in a particular place or situation

I always thought I wanted to be a doctor but I ended up being a web designer.

Figure out

→ To solve or understand something

Can you help me with my math homework? I just can’t figure it out!

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Fill out

→ To type or write information on a document or official form

If you’re interested in this job, please fill out the online application form.

Fill up

→ To become completely full; to make something completely full

Don’t fill up on snacks! We’ll be eating lunch in 20 minutes. 

Get along

→ To like and have friendly interactions with someone  

The first time I met you, we got along so well that I knew we’d be friends.

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Give back

→ To give someone something they had before

I’ll let you use my pen, but you have to give it back at the end of class. 

Give up

→ To stop doing something that you do regularly 

She gave up smoking six months ago and she says she feels much healthier now.

→ To quit doing something you’ve been trying to do 

We’ve been trying to solve this math problem for an hour – I give up!

Go over 

→ To check something carefully

I finished writing my cover letter for my job application. Can you go over it to see if I made any mistakes? 

→ To practise something in order to learn it

The talent show is on Friday. We need to go over our dance routine a few more times so it’s perfect when we perform!

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Hang out

→ To spend time in a certain place (alone or with others), relaxing or socialising

I didn’t do much this weekend; I just hung out at home watching TV with my sister. 

Hold on 

→ To wait

Hold on one minute! I just need to get my jacket, then I’ll be ready to go. 

Keep on

→ To continue doing something

If you keep on being late for work, you’re going to get fired!

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Look for

→ To search for something or someone

I’m looking for my house key – have you seen it anywhere? 

Look up 

→ To search for information in a reference book or online

I’m not sure where that store is located. I’ll look it up on Google Maps.

Pick out 

→ To choose from a group of options

When you go to the supermarket, make sure to pick out the reddest tomatoes. 

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Run out

→ To use or sell all of something so there isn’t any left.

Can you go buy some dish soap? We ran out yesterday. 

Try on 

→ To put an item of clothing on your body to see if it is the right size and if it looks good. 

I don’t like shopping for clothes online because you can’t try them on before buying them.

Work out

→ To exercise

Every January, I decide to start working out regularly to get stronger – it never lasts longer than a month! 

→ To happen in a positive way; to have a successful outcome

They were married for five years, but it didn’t work out. They were just too different.

Do you want to practise using phrasal verbs with a native-speaking teacher? Visit the Lingoda website and sign up for your free 7-day trial today!

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