Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are mainly used in spoken English and informal texts. (The more formal a conversation or text, the less phrasal verbs are found.)

Phrasal verbs consist of a verb plus a particle (preposition, adverb). The particle can change the meaning of the verb completely, e.g.:

  • look up – consult a reference book (look a word up in a dictionary)
  • look for – seek (look for her ring)
  • look forward – anticipate with pleasure (look forward to meeting someone)

There are no rules that might explain how phrasal verbs are formed correctly - all you can do is look them up in a good dictionary and study their meanings. In our lists, you will find some frequently used phrasal verbs and their meanings.

Frequently Used Phrasal Verbs with:

Position of the Particle

The particle is placed either after the verb or after the object.

Put down the gun. / Put the gun down.

If the object is a pronoun, however, the particle has to be placed after the pronoun (object).

Put it down.