What are Phrasal Verbs in English – Definition, Meaning, Examples

Phrasal Verbs in English explained along with the basic, definition, meaning, list, and a lot of examples.

Let’s explore Phrasal verbs!

What are Phrasal Verbs – Basics & Definition?

Let’s start with basics, definition, function

Phrasal Verbs Basics

English is one of those languages that contain numerous double-edged swords. Doubled-edged, because from one angle, they make the language much more complicated, and on the other side, they introduce a new variety as well.

Phrasal verbs are one of these double-edged swords that can make your speech sound fresh but at the same time may confuse you a little bit.

phrasal verbs in English definition meaning examples-basics
Phrasal verbs in English definition meaning examples-basics

It may contain,

  • two words or sometimes
  • three words or may be sometimes
  • four words

When a Phrasal verb consists of two words,

First WordSecond WordPhrasal Verb
CallaroundCall + around = call around
MakeupMake + up = make up
writedownWrite + down = write down

When a Phrasal verb consists of three words,

First wordSecond wordThird wordPhrasal Verb
PayforsomethingPay + for + something= pay for something
TakesomethingbackTake + something + back= take something back
putupwithPut + up + with= put up with
  • So what are phrasal verbs exactly?
  • How can we define it?

This is exactly what this post is all about. Here, we will be talking about phrasal verbs, the definition, their examples, and relative uses.

Let’s take a look at them one by one.

Definition of Phrasal Verbs

To put it simply, phrasal verbs are the combination of two elements, creating an independent meaning which will be different from the two or more words used.

So what are these elements?

Primarily they need to be a verb, and the other one or two elements can be,

But why are they so important, and how they function in our everyday speech?

The Function of Phrasal verbs

Well, believe it or not, we use phrasal verbs in our everyday speech all the time, even without knowing them completely.

And not only laymen but also people who are experts of the English language prefer using these enhanced verbs on specific occasions.

  • One of the most important reasons behind using them is that the verbs combined with other grammatical elements get enhanced automatically.
  • This enhancement also tells us more about the whole expression, and more information can be conveyed. And here lies the second most important reason behind using these verbs.
  • This enhancement introduces a variety to the whole context. Some phrasal verbs can successfully replace single verbs and their usage.
  • On certain occasions, the use of phrasal verbs doesn’t only seem appropriate, but it sounds better as well. But this enhancement sometimes makes it confusing to understand which adverb to use with what verb. As I mentioned earlier, it’s a dual-edged sword.
  • Nevertheless, it still gives you a welcoming relief from using the same old single-word verbs.

Are you still confused about phrasal verbs?

Well, below, I am listing a plethora of examples as well as meaning along with an extensive basic list of phrasal verbs.

This will surely clear all the clouds of doubt you have.

Phrasal Verbs Meaning

Let’s try to understand the meaning of phrasal verbs with ‘GET’ to clear our concept.

We all know the meaning of ‘get’!

Now, this word can form many phrasal verbs like,

  • get up
  • get over
  • give up and many more!

The meaning of all the above phrasal verbs are not the same, these are different and used differently in different applications.

Phrasal verbMeaningSentence Examples
get upget out of somethingMinu got up early in the morning
get overrecover from difficulty or illnessShe got over the accident.
give upStop completely trying to workRina gave up her work finally.

Phrasal Verbs Examples

Ask somebody out

  • Meaning: Invite on a date.
  • Example: John asked Judy out to dinner and a movie after that.

Blow up

  • Meaning: Explode.
  • Example: The gas canister blew up and burned the whole place to the ground.

Bring something up

  • Meaning: Vomit.
  • Example: Due to severe indigestion, he brought up his breakfast on his way to the office.

Call around

  • Meaning: Call many different places or people.
  • Example: You need to call around a few places; otherwise, you are never going to find him.

Do away with something

  • Meaning: Discard.
  • Example: Will you please do away with your old books?

End up

  • Meaning: Eventually reach or do or decide.
  • Example: No matter where I go, wherever I end up, I will always love you.

Find out.

  • Meaning: Discover
  • Example: It’s time for us to find out where he actually lives and does for a living.

Get away

  • Meaning: Go on a vacation.
  • Example: Nothing can beat the feeling of a sudden get away when you have worked so hard all week long.
  • Example: You need to get away sometimes and get some fresh air in your lungs.

Hand something down

  • Meaning: Give something used to somebody else.
  • Example: You need to hand something down to the needy every once in a while.

Keep something up

  • Meaning: Continue at the same rate.
  • Example: No matter what, you need to keep up the good work.

Log in (or on)

  • Meaning: Sign in (to a website, database, etc.).
  • Example: Could you please log in to your Twitter account?

Make up

  • Meaning: Forgive each other.
  • Example: No matter how much we fight the last night, we always made up the next morning.

Pay for something

  • Meaning: Be punished for doing something bad
  • Example: Someday, you need to pay for all the sins you have done.

Run out

  • Meaning: Have none left.
  • Example: Have we run out of oil this month? Why are you boiling everything?

Show off

  • Meaning: An act of braggingly showing something to others.
  • Example: He has a classic tendency of always showing off.

Sleep over

  • Meaning: Stay somewhere for the night (informal).
  • Example: It’s raining heavily tonight; I guess you should sleep over here for the night.

Take something back

  • Meaning: Return an item.
  • Example: You need to take back the wrong items you sold me.

Use something up

  • Meaning: Finish the supply.
  • Example: Why use up all the resources all at once when you can save for later?

Wake up

  • Meaning: Stop sleeping.
  • Example: I have to wake up early tomorrow.

Why Do You Need to Learn Phrasal Verbs?

Some say that Phrasal verbs are very difficult to learn since you need to memorize them. But apart from this initial difficulty, these verbs are really fun to learn and use in your speech and writing.

They are like ornaments in the English language, which you can keep to yourself and use whenever you feel like introducing some variety.

  • Much like anything else, the more you practice, the better you will get.
  • So, if you need to master the phrasal verbs, you can simply take a book or download some materials from the internet, which will give you a complete list of phrasal verbs along with suitable examples to understand them better.
  • Plus, the more you read and listen to the English language; you will get to learn phrasal verbs better.
  • Next time, when you will stumble upon a phrasal verb, read that carefully and see what kind of adverbs and adjectives are used there.
  • This will help you memorize them better and understand the usage better as well.


If you have found this post helpful, do give this one a thumbs-up and share it with your peers or anyone interested in learning English as well as phrasal verbs.

Should you have any further doubts about the phrasal verbs, reach out to us today, and we will surely help you to the best of our knowledge.

Further study

Nouns that starts with A

Noun that starts with B

Noun that starts with C

What is noun

Types of noun

Collective nouns

Concrete nouns

Irregular plurals

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