The 50 Most Common Phrasal Verbs
1. Go on – continue; stop saying those things; not so; I don’t believe you. (Also literal).
I wish class would finish, but my professor’s lecture just keeps going on and on and on!
Jenny: I saw Seung-min steal 40,000 won! Tim: Go on! I’ve known Seung-min for 5 years and I know he wouldn’t do such a thing.
2. Carry out – to perform a task; to perform an assignment. (Also literal.)
The next step involves staff learning complex commands to tell the machine to carry out a
sequence of tasks.
Grandma, let me help you carry out the boxes to the car.
3. Set up – to establish someone as something; to help establish; to provide something for someone to start up something
After the dictator lost control of the country a new government needed to be set up.
My father gave me some money to help me start up my new business.
4. Pick up – to clean; to learn/obtain; to get busy; to go faster
The truck picked up momentum as it rolled down the mountain.
I picked up the toys from the floor and returned them to the toy box.
It took me 3 months to learn to play that song, but my brother picked it up in 2 days!
He was an artist and his only dream was one day to go back home and paint. I’d rather die than go back out the way I was. My friend really hurt my feelings when he went back on his promise and told everyone my secret.
6. Come back –to (have) return(ed) to one’s origin/previous location; to retort; a return success
The Yankees were losing by 5 points, but they had a great come back in the last inning and beat the Indians.
I’ll wait until you come back, and then we can do it together. Whenever someone says something rude to me I can never come back with a good comeback.
7. Go out – to try out for something (usually sports); to go out of fashion; to go out with someone for entertainment; to date someone. (Also literal.)
When couples start dating they usually go out on the town and have dinner, watch a movie, or other such activities. When I was in 10th grade I wanted to play for the school soccer team so I went out for it and made the team.
I hated the mullet hair style. I am so glad that it has gone out of fashion!
8. Point out – to select or indicate someone or something (from a group).
Most of these rules, I should point out, were created to protect you. The victim pointed out the criminal from a police lineup.
9. Find out – discover; learn of; to discover facts about someone or something; to learn a fact
She will find out whether or not KNUE has accepted her as a student.
One of the best ways to learn is to find out how other people do things.
Korean health insurance covers basic dental work unlike American health insurance.
10. Come up – to happen unexpectedly. (Also literal.)
I planned on visiting you last night, but something came up and I was unable to visit.
When snorkeling I can only stay underwater for 1 minute and then I must come up for air.
11. Make up – to put makeup on oneself; to repay or redo something; to create a story or a lie from no facts at all; to compensate for
The actress was made up to look like a doll for the horror movie.
I thought I could make up for all those times I cancelled dinner with my wife by taking her on a cruise.
We made up class on Saturday because we didn’t have class on Wednesday due to the national holiday.
12. Take over –to take charge; to assume control
The competition was in 1 hour so there would have been no time for another member of the crew to try to take over the controls.
When a president dies the vice-president usually takes over as leader of the country.
13. Come out – to become; to turn out; to be presented/released to the public. (Also literal.)
If it were, I have a hunch that Fox would come out on top.
I am baking my first cake. I’ll just have to wait and see how it comes out!
14. Come on – to hurry up; to follow; to flirt aggressively
Come on, we’re waiting for you and the show starts in 3 minutes!
Come on, Matt, I insist that you go with us to the concert.
Won-mo came on to me during our major’s MT, but I have no romantic feelings for him.
15. Come in – to receive or acquire something. (Also literal.)
Don’t just stand outside in the snow; come on in and sit by the fireplace.
Much feedback from Korean citizens will come in if Namdaemun is to be rebuilt.
16. Go down – to be accepted; to happen. (Also literal.)
Joining the Army won’t go down well with Dad. You know he dislikes the military.
In-kyung: When did that go down? Dae-han: It happened last night before the store closed.
Tomorrow, for sure, I’ll go down to the rock and keep my promise to Dad.
17. Work out – to settle/solve a problem; to turn out/to happen. (Also literal.)
Because there are always right answers, I love to work out difficult math problems.
When I told the truth everything turned out for the best. I didn’t have to lie and everyone could trust me.
18. Set out – to begin a journey or course; to define/describe; to design/plan; to undertake/attempt.
She set out to start a new life in a new country.
He has failed to set out a schedule which would be quick and cheap.
19. Take up – to accept someone’s offer; to begin to deal with an issue; to shorten a skirt, dress or pants.
Jeong-min took up Jin-hwa’s offer to go to Cheju Island.
An increasingly popular way of starting a new business is to take up a franchise.
I have such short legs so I always have to have my pants taken up so they aren’t too long.
20. Get back – to return; to repay one for a bad deed; to continue communicating with someone at a later time.
Brandon pranked me last Halloween, so this year I am going to get him back.
We’ll get back to you later.
I can’t wait to get back my car that is in the shop.
21. Sit down – to encamp or besiege. (Also literal.)
Sit down and stop your noise!
The military sat down around all entry and exit points of the city.
22. Turn out – to end satisfactorily; to send someone out of somewhere; to manufacture/produce something; to be present/attend; to turn off/extinguish
You never know how they’ll turn out. Some will be good, and some will be bad.
Baek-cheol turned out some very good writing.
Even though it rained all night many fans turned out at the concert.
23. Take on – to undertake/assume; to employ; to acquire; to show great emotion.
She might also take on the role of mother, wife and teacher if she wants.
Samsung will take on an additional 1,200 employees at the Asan plant.
24. Give up – to quit; to surrender; to abandon hope
If you smoke, make every effort to give up. If you don’t then it is probable you’ll get cancer.
If after my 4th try to pass the teachers’ exam I will give up and work in another profession.
25. Get up – to arise; to ascend; to dress (as in costume).
I put on a different outfit each time I get up out of bed.
Bryan got up the nerve to ask Stephanie out for a date.
For Halloween Breanna got herself up as a witch.
26. Look up – to search for information; to become more prosperous. (Also literal.)
Sometimes when I reminisce I look up old friends on the Internet.
You can always tell the tourists from the locals, because the tourists are always looking up at the skyscrapers.
27. Carry on – to continue with something; to make a great fuss over sby or sth; to cry and become out of control about sby or sth.
The doctors said they didn’t know how I managed to carry on in such pain.
Young children often carry on when they do not get what they want, which almost always irritates the surrounding people.
28. Go up – to increase; happening; to be in the process of construction. (Also literal).
Her total tax bill could go up sharply.
Several new KNUE buildings are going up in 2007 and 2008.
I went up to the top of Namsan Tower to get a good view of Seoul.
29. Get out – to get free/away; to produce or complete.
Most inmates can’t wait until they get out of prison.
I must get this work out before the deadline comes!
30. Take out – to take someone on a date; something made to be taken away (as in food)/a restaurant that performs this service. (Also literal.)
When a man dates a woman he traditionally takes her out to the movies or a restaurant.
When I do not have enough time to cook dinner I sometimes order take out on my way home from work.
31. Come down- to drop; to descend to someone through inheritance; to attack/scold vigorously. (Also literal.)
I can’t afford the new TVs so I’ll wait for the prices to come down to a more reasonable price.
When I turned 21 my father gave me a ring that has come down from generation to generation.
When I stole a toy from store my mother came down on me harshly.
32. Put down- to write down, record; to attribute; to mercifully kill an animal.
Whenever I have to do something important I put it down on my “To Do List.”
Most loving owners put down their pets when the pet has an incurable and painful disease.
33. Put up – to provide lodging for someone; to display or show; to offer something; to build/erect something.
During Chuseok many families put up their relatives for 1 or 2 days.
When people need money they sometimes put up their valuable items for sale.
Many stores put up mannequins with their most popular clothing styles to help sales.
34. Turn up – to appear; to search for and find something; to intensify or increase; to happen/occur.
I lost my puppy yesterday and he hasn’t turned up yet.
I can’t hear the radio so I’ll need to turn up the volume.
35. Get on – to make progress; to agree or be friendly; to advance in age. (Also literal.)
Although my grandmother thinks she is young she is getting on in age.
Stop chit-chatting and get on with playing the game!
Bill and I have been friends since university so I guess we get on quite well.
36. Bring up – to mention a person or thing; to raise a child; to vomit; to (cause to) stop quickly.
Dustin still owes me 50,000 won. Next time I see him I will bring that up.
My parents died when I was a child so my grandparents brought me up.
Babies often bring up their food, but that phase soon passes.
37. Bring in – to yield as profit or income; to present (for consideration) formally; to submit. (Also literal.)
Fishermen always try to bring in a large catch.
Most part-time work does not bring in much money.
To be accepted into some clubs you must be brought in by a current member.
38. Look back – to review past events; to return in thought. (Also literal.)
As we get older we sometimes look back on our life with fond memories.
When I looked back I saw that my dog wasn’t following me anymore.
39. Look down – to regard with disdain or scorn; have contempt for. (Also literal.)
When people think they are superior to everyone often look down on others.
When I got to the top of the mountain I looked down at the village.
40. Bring back – to return; to return to consciousness.
Whenever you borrow a book from the library you must bring it back.
Sometimes when people die they are able to be brought back to life.
41. Break down – to fall apart; to have a physical or mental collapse; to itemize; to decompose.
I bought a cheap car and it keeps breaking down on me.
If people suffer too much stress they are likely to break down and cry.
42. Take off – to leave the ground and begin to fly; to become popular and successful; to begin to chase something; to take a break from something; to withdraw or remove from; to deduct.
When birds are startled they always take off as fast as possible.
When the Noraebang was introduced to Korea the concept took off very quickly.
The police took off after the bank robbers.
I am going to take Monday off from work and enjoy some time with my family.
43. Go off – to explode; to leave; to happen (as planned).
At track events a pistol goes off to signify the start of a race.
Explorers usually go off to find new lands and treasure.
The surprise party went off without any problems.
44. Bring about – to make something happen.
The politician introduced new laws that might bring about some positive change.
45. Go in – to take part in something; to make an approach, as before an attack. (Also literal.)
I went in on a bet with some friends that our teacher would cancel class.
John went in for a kiss, but Tina denied his advances.
46. Set off – to cause to be ignited/exploded; to anger someone; to begin.
When setting off fireworks you must be very careful not to get injured.
So-la set off to prove her mother wrong by showing her that she could do the work.
My brother really set me off when he said that I didn’t love my parents as much as he.
47. Put out – irritated, bothered; to extinguish; to publish; to exert/apply.
Jessica was very put out when her boyfriend forgot her birthday.
One of the firefighters’ main duties is to put out fires.
When publishers put out a new book series they often publicize by various methods.
48. Look out – to be vigilant or on guard; to afford a view (Also literal.)
Animals in the wild must keep a look out for predators.
Look out! There is a hole in the sidewalk.
I bought my apartment because it looks out on a beautiful mountain.
My puppy always looks out the window hinting to me that she wants to go outside.
49. Take back – to withdraw or cancel one’s statements; to regain ownership; to cause to remember. (Also literal.)
I know I told you we would go, but I have to take that back because I have to work.
I lent my friend my PSP, but I took it back before she went away to university.
Whenever I see children play soccer the images take me back to when I played soccer as a child.
I decided I didn’t want the DVD so I took it back to the store for a refund.
50. Hold up –to rob someone; to offer; to expose; to support; to hinder; to wait. (Also literal.)
My parents visited Canada and were held up by gunpoint.
Jin-woo is always the last one to get ready and he always asks us to hold up.
The child held up her mother as an example of a strong and loving woman.
Whenever we were stuck in a traffic jam my father would say, “What’s the hold up?”.
When politicians lie and steal the public must hold them up to criticism.