When I started to post on Instagram, I made 24 phrasal verb posts, one for each letter of the alphabet except for X and Y! I tried to choose phrasal verbs that are useful or interesting. Here they are! I hope you enjoy them! (You can find me on Instagram @learnenglishwithkatie.)
= to invite someone on a date
He really liked her so he asked her out.
= to improve a skill or knowledge that you already have but perhaps haven't used recently
I'm going to do a course to brush up on my French. I learnt it at school but I can't remember much now.
= to decide not to do something because you are scared, often at the last moment
He wanted to do a parachute jump but he chickened out at the last moment.
= to leave a course before finishing it.
She dropped out of university after a year and got a job instead.
= to encourage somebody to do something dangerous or stupid.
Two boys were fighting while the other children egged them on.
= to confess, admit
At first he denied it but eventually he fessed up and told me everything.
(This is modern and very informal.)
= to become an adult
I grew up near Nottingham.
(Don’t confuse “grow up” with “grow”. “Grow” just means “get bigger”. Plants grow. Hair grows. You can grow your business. Only children grow up.)
= spend time relaxing
A lot of young people like to hang out with their friends here.
= remove small problems
They are meeting to iron out the details of the contract.
= accept eagerly
When she was offered a job in America, she jumped at the chance to work abroad.
1. = start a football match
The match kicks off at 3 pm.
2. = when trouble starts
The fight kicked off when someone made a racist comment.
look up to
= admire or respect
The boy really looks up to his big brother. He wants to be like him one day.
= speak angrily about something
He was mouthing off about his workload when his boss walked into the room!
= fall asleep
I was so tired that I nodded off in the middle of the film.
= admit or confess
Somebody broke my favourite cup but nobody owned up to it.
She passed away peacefully in her sleep.
("Pass away" sounds less direct, softer or more polite than "die" in some situations.)
= become quieter
The children quietened down when the teacher played some relaxing music.
= cheat someone by asking for too much money.
Be careful at the airport. Some taxi drivers try to rip off the tourists.
set off / set out
= begin a journey
We need to set off at about 10 o'clock if we want to arrive in time for lunch.
be taken aback
= be surprised
I was taken aback when I passed my exam! I thought I had failed!
(This phrasal verb is usually used in the passive form.)
= finish all of something
We've used up all the milk. I'm going to the shop to get some more.
He had a bath and used up all the hot water!
= relax, be lazy and do very little
We're really tired so we're just going to veg out on the sofa tonight.
= spend time in a relaxed and pleasant way when you have nothing else to do
She whiled away the hours reading her favourite book.
= fall heavily asleep from exhaustion or after drinking alcohol.
She was so tired that she zonked out on the sofa as soon as she sat down.
If you would like to know how to improve your vocabulary, you will find my "English Vocabulary Challenge" e-book helpful. Get your copy by clicking on the button.
About the blog