Phrasal verbs

What do phrasal verbs mean? It is often possible to understand what a phrasal verb means by looking at its particle.

Try to notice patterns of meaning! Although it is not always possible to find a pattern, thinking about the meaning of the particle will help you to understand and remember the phrasal verbs you meet. Below you will see some of the meanings of the most common particles used with phrasal verbs.

Unit 1 – Verbs with UP

What does UP mean?

1, An upward movement: We left early, just as the sun was coming up.

2, An increase, an improvement: Sales have gone up in the past year.

3, Completing, ending: We used up all the eggs when we made the cake.

4, Approaching: A taxi drew up just as we were thinking of calling one.

Complete each of the sentences with the correct form of one of the verbs below and the particle UP. Use each verb once only.

Exercise 1

build    cheer    grow    liven    put    shoot    speak    stand

1. I'm not tall enough to reach. Can you … this poster for me?

2. Why are you so miserable?   … ! Things can't be that bad!

3. When the headmaster came in, most of the pupils …  but a few remained seated.

4. The party was really boring so I suggested some games to … it …

5. After a long illness, it takes some time to … your strength.

6. She's a bit deaf so you'll have to …

7. I was born in Washington but I …  in New York.

8. The weather's been so bad that the price of strawberries has …  


Exercise 2

Now do the same with these verbs:

fill    heal    hurry    lock    ring    save    seal    tidy

1. Why are you walking so slowly? We'll have to … or we'll be late.

2. You've got my number so you can … me … if you have any problems.

3. It was a deep wound so it took some time to …

4. It's a long journey so remember to … the petrol tank before you go.

5. If you're worried about things falling out of the parcel, you'd better use some strong tape to … it …

6. He was such a dangerous prisoner that they … him … in a room and put a guard outside.

7. She was finally able to buy the bicycle after she'd … enough money.

8. You'll be able to find everything if you … your room.


Exercise 3

Match one half of the dialogue on the left with the other half on the right.

1. Why are they so tired this morning?

A Well, I didn't make it, so don't expect me to clear it up!

2. Why have you set your alarm for five o'clock?

B Of course! I'll back you up. Let's go and see the manager.

3. Joe's missed a lot of lessons.

C I'm afraid not. I've used it all up.

4. Lucy's very polite, isn't she?

D Of course not. You'll have to dress up.

5. Look at the mess all over the floor!

E Yes. It'll be very hard for him to catch up.

6. Can I wear jeans this evening?

F Because I have to get up early.

7. Will you support me if I complain about the food?

G Because they stayed up late watching television.

8. Is there any milk left?

H Yes. She's been very well brought up.


Exercise 4

Now do the same with these dialogues:

1. I don't know which one is which. Do you?

A No, drink up! It's time to go.

2. Can I have an ice-cream?

B Yes. They've blown up the Central Bank.

3. I can't understand this word.

C Only if you eat up all your vegetables.

4. My French isn't very good.

D All right. And I'll wash up afterwards.

5. Have you heard about the terrorist attack?

E Why don't you go to evening classes to brush up?

6. What shall I do about this letter asking for money?

F No. It's very easy to mix them up, isn't it?

7. Shall we have another drink?

G Well look it up!

8. Would you like me to cook the meal this evening?

H I'd tear it up if I were you.


Exercise 5

Match a number with a letter. Use each item once only.

1. do up 2. fold up 3. hold up 4. keep up 5. kick up 6. stir up 7. sum up 8. turn up

A appearances although he'd lost all his money.

B the bank and steal a hundred thousand pounds.

C the volume so that we can all hear.

D the letter and put it in the envelope.

E your overcoat because it's cold.

F the situation in a few words.

G trouble for the rest of us.

H a fuss about the room being so cold.


Exercise 6

Now do the same with these sentences:

1. The caller

A broke up and we all went home.

2. A car

B froze up so she couldn't open the door.

3. The contestants

C flared up and some people were hurt.

4. The lock

D drew up and the driver got out.

5. The party

E hung up before I could ask him his name.

6. Violence

F lined up and paraded in front of the judges.

7. The windows

G piled up while I was away on holiday.

8. Work

H misted up and we couldn't see outside.


Unit 2 – Verbs with DOWN

Unit 3 – Verbs with OUT

Unit 4 – Verbs with INTO

Unit 5 – Verbs with IN

Unit 6 – Verbs with ON

Unit 7 – Verbs with OFF

Unit 8 – Verbs with OTHER PARTICLES

Unit 9 – Verbs with TWO PARTICLES



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