ask sby out

invite on a date

Brian asked Judy out to dinner and a movie.

ask around

ask many people the same question

asked around but nobody has seen my wallet.

add up to sthg


Your purchases add up to $205.32.

back sthg up


You'll have to back up your car so that I can get out.

back sby up


My wife backed me up over my decision to quit my job.

blow up


The racing car blew up after it crashed into the fence.

blow sthg up

add air

We have to blow 50 balloons up for the party.

break down

stop functioning (vehicle, machine)

Our car broke down at the side of the highway in the snowstorm.

break down

get upset

The woman broke down when the police told her that her son had died.

break sthgdown

divide into smaller parts

Our teacher broke the final project down into three separate parts.

break in

force entry to a building

Somebody broke in last night and stole our stereo.

break into sthg

enter forcibly

The firemen had to break into the room to rescue the children.

break sthg in

wear sthg a few times so that it doesn't look/feel new

I need to break these shoes in before we run next week.

break in


The TV station broke in to report the news of the president's death.

break up

end a relationship

My boyfriend and I broke up before I moved to America.

break up

start laughing (informal)

The kids just broke up as soon as the clown started talking.

break out


The prisoners broke out of jail when the guards weren't looking.

break out insthg

develop a skin condition

broke out in a rash after our camping trip.

bring sbydown

make unhappy

This sad music is bringing me down.

bring sby up

raise a child

My grandparents brought me up after my parents died.

bring sthg up

start talking about a subject

My mother walks out of the room when my father brings up sports.

bring sthg up


He drank so much that he brought his dinner up in the toilet.

call around

phone many different places/people

We called around but we weren't able to find the car part we needed.

call sby back

return a phone call

called the company back but the offices were closed for the weekend.

call sthg off


Jason called the wedding off because he wasn't in love with his fiancé.

call on sby

ask for an answer or opinion

The professor called on me for question 1.

call on sby

visit sby

We called on you last night but you weren't home.

call sby up


Give me your phone number and I will call you up when we are in town.

calm down

relax after being angry

You are still mad. You need to calm down before you drive the car.

not care forsby/ sthg

not like (formal)

I don't care for his behaviour.

catch up

get to the same point as sby else

You'll have to run faster than that if you want to catch up with Marty.

check in

arrive and register at a hotel or airport

We will get the hotel keys when we check in.

check out

leave a hotel

You have to check out of the hotel before 11:00 AM.

check sby/ sthg out

look at carefully, investigate

The company checks out all new employees.

check out sby/ sthg

look at (informal)

Check out the crazy hair on that guy!

cheer up

become happier

She cheered up when she heard the good news.

cheer sby up

make happier

I brought you some flowers to cheer you up.

chip in


If everyone chips in we can get the kitchen painted by noon.

clean sthg up

tidy, clean

Please clean up your bedroom before you go outside.

come acrosssthg

find unexpectedly

came across these old photos when I was tidying the closet.

come apart


The top and bottom come apart if you pull hard enough.

come down with sthg

become sick

My nephew came down with chicken pox this weekend.

come forward

volunteer for a task or to give evidence

The woman came forward with her husband's finger prints.

come from some place

originate in

The art of origami comes from Asia.

count on sby/ sthg

rely on

I am counting on you to make dinner while I am out.

cross sthg out

draw a line through

Please cross out your old address and write your new one.

cut back onsthg

consume less

My doctor wants me to cut back on sweets and fatty foods.

cut sthg down

make sthg fall to the ground

We had to cut the old tree in our yard down after the storm.

cut in


Your father cut in while I was dancing with your uncle.

cut in

pull in too closely in front of another vehicle

The bus driver got angry when that car cut in.

cut in

start operating (of an engine or electrical device)

The air conditioner cuts in when the temperature gets to 22°C.

cut sthg off

remove with sthg sharp

The doctors cut off his leg because it was severely injured.

cut sthg off

stop providing

The phone company cut off our phone because we didn't pay the bill.

cut sby off

take out of a will

My grandparents cut my father off when he remarried.

cut sthg out

remove part of sthg (usually with scissors and paper)

cut this ad out of the newspaper.

do sby/ sthgover

beat up, ransack (BrE, informal)

He's lucky to be alive. His shop was done over by a street gang.

do sthg over

do again (AmE)

My teacher wants me to do my essay over because she doesn't like my topic.

do away withsthg


It's time to do away with all of these old tax records.

do sthg up

fasten, close

Do your coat up before you go outside. It's snowing!

dress up

wear nice clothing

It's a fancy restaurant so we have to dress up.

drop back

move back in a position/group

Andrea dropped back to third place when she fell off her bike.

drop in/ by/ over

come without an appointment

I might drop in/by/over for tea sometime this week.

drop sby/ sthgoff

take sby/ sthg somewhere and leave them/it there

I have to drop my sister off at work before I come over.

drop out

quit a class, school etc

dropped out of Science because it was too difficult.

eat out

eat at a restaurant

I don't feel like cooking tonight. Let's eat out.

end up

eventually reach/do/decide

We ended up renting a movie instead of going to the theatre.

fall apart

break into pieces

My new dress fell apart in the washing machine.

fall down

fall to the ground

The picture that you hung up last night fell down this morning.

fall out

separate from an interior

The money must have fallen out of my pocket.

fall out

(of hair, teeth) become loose and unattached

His hair started to fall out when he was only 35.

figure sthg out

understand, find the answer

I need to figure out how to fit the piano and the bookshelf in this room.

fill sthg in

to write information in blanks, as on a form (BrE)

Please fill in the form with your name, address, and phone number.

fill sthg out

to write information in blanks, as on a form (AmE)

The form must be filled out in capital letters.

fill sthg up

fill to the top

I always fill the water jug up when it is empty.

find out


We don't know where he lives. How can we find out?

find sthg out


We tried to keep the time of the party a secret, but Samantha found it out.

get sthgacross/ over

communicate, make understandable

I tried to get my point across/over to the judge but she wouldn't listen.

get along/on

like each other

I was surprised how well my new girlfriend and my sister got along/on.

get around

have mobility

My grandfather can get around fine in his new wheelchair.

get away

go on a vacation

We worked so hard this year that we had to get away for a week.

get away withsthg

do without being noticed or punished

Jason always gets away with cheating in his maths tests.

get back


We got back from our vacation last week.

get sthg back

receive sthg you had before

Liz finally got her Science notes back from my room-mate.

get back atsby

retaliate, take revenge

My sister got back at me for stealing her shoes. She stole my favourite hat.

get back intosthg

become interested in sthg again

I finally got back into my novel and finished it.

get on sthg

step onto a vehicle

We're going to freeze out here if you don't let us get on the bus.

get over sthg

recover from an illness, loss, difficulty

I just got over the flu and now my sister has it.

get over sthg

overcome a problem

The company will have to close if it can't get over the new regulations.

get round tosthg

finally find time to do (AmE: get around to sthg)

I don't know when I am going to get round to writing the thank you cards.

get together

meet (usually for social reasons)

Let's get together for a BBQ this weekend.

get up

get out of bed

got up early today to study for my exam.

get up


You should get up and give the elderly man your seat.

give sby away

reveal hidden information about sby

His wife gave him away to the police.

give sby away

take the bride to the altar

My father gave me away at my wedding.

give sthg away

ruin a secret

My little sister gave the surprise party away by accident.

give sthg away

give sthg to sby for free

The library was giving away old books on Friday.

give sthg back

return a borrowed item

I have to give these skates back to Franz before his hockey game.

give in

reluctantly stop fighting or arguing

My boyfriend didn't want to go to the ballet, but he finally gave in.

give sthg out

give to many people (usually at no cost)

They were giving out free perfume samples at the department store.

give sthg up

quit a habit

I am giving up smoking as of January 1st.

give up

stop trying

My maths homework was too difficult so I gave up.

go after sby

follow sby

My brother tried to go after the thief in his car.

go after sthg

try to achieve sthg

went after my dream and now I am a published writer.

go against sby

compete, oppose

We are going against the best soccer team in the city tonight.

go ahead

start, proceed

Please go ahead and eat before the food gets cold.

go back

return to a place

I have to go back home and get my lunch.

go out

leave home to go on a social event

We're going out for dinner tonight.

go out withsby


Jesse has been going out with Luke since they met last winter.

go over sthg


Please go over your answers before you submit your test.

go over

visit sby nearby

I haven't seen Tina for a long time. I think I'll go over for an hour or two.

go withoutsthg

suffer lack or deprivation

When I was young, we went without winter boots.

grow apart

stop being friends over time

My best friend and I grew apart after she changed schools.

grow back


My roses grew back this summer.

grow into sthg

grow big enough to fit

This bike is too big for him now, but he should grow into it by next year.

grow out ofsthg

get too big for

Elizabeth needs a new pair of shoes because she has grown out of her old ones.

grow up

become an adult

When Jack grows up he wants to be a fireman.

hand sthgdown

give sthg used to sby else

handed my old comic books down to my little cousin.

hand sthg in


I have to hand in my essay by Friday.

hand sthg out

to distribute to a group of people

We will hand out the invitations at the door.

hand sthg over

give (usually unwillingly)

The police asked the man to hand over his wallet and his weapons.

hang in

stay positive (informal)

Hang in there. I'm sure you'll find a job very soon.

hang on

wait a short time (informal)

Hang on while I grab my coat and shoes!

hang out

spend time relaxing (informal)

Instead of going to the party we are just going to hang out at my place.

hang up

end a phone call

He didn't say goodbye before he hung up.

hold sby/ sthgback

prevent from doing/going

I had to hold my dog back because there was a cat in the park.

hold sthg back

hide an emotion

Jamie held back his tears at his grandfather's funeral.

hold on

wait a short time

Please hold on while I transfer you to the Sales Department.

hold onto sby/ sthg

hold firmly using your hands or arms

Hold onto your hat because it's very windy outside.

hold sby/ sthgup


A man in a black mask held the bank up this morning.

keep on doingsthg

continue doing

Keep on stirring until the liquid comes to a boil.

keep sthg fromsby

not tell

We kept our relationship from our parents for two years.

keep sby/ sthgout

stop from entering

Try to keep the wet dog out of the living room.

keep sthg up

continue at the same rate

If you keep those results up you will get into a great college.

let sby down

fail to support or help, disappoint

I need you to be on time. Don't let me down this time.

let sby in

allow to enter

Can you let the cat in before you go to school?

log in (or on)

sign in (to a website, database etc)

I can't log in to Facebook because I've forgotten my password.

log out (or off)

sign out (of a website, database etc)

If you don't log off somebody could get into your account.

look after sby/ sthg

take care of

I have to look after my sick grandmother.

look down onsby

think less of, consider inferior

Ever since we stole that chocolate bar your dad has looked down on me.

look for sby/ sthg

try to find

I'm looking for a red dress for the wedding.

look forward to sthg

be excited about the future

I'm looking forward to the Christmas break.

look into sthg


We are going to look into the price of snowboards today.

look out

be careful, vigilant, and take notice

Look out! That car's going to hit you!

look out forsby/ sthg

be especially vigilant for

Don't forget to look out for snakes on the hiking trail.

look sthg over

check, examine

Can you look over my essay for spelling mistakes?

look sthg up

search and find information in a reference book or database

We can look her phone number up on the Internet.

look up to sby

have a lot of respect for

My little sister has always looked up to me.

make sthg up

invent, lie about sthg

Josie made up a story about why we were late.

make up

forgive each other

We were angry last night, but we made up at breakfast.

make sby up

apply cosmetics to

My sisters made me up for my graduation party.

mix sthg up

confuse two or more things

mixed up the twins' names again!

pass away


His uncle passed away last night after a long illness.

pass out


It was so hot in the church that an elderly lady passed out.

pass sthg out

give the same thing to many people

The professor passed the textbooks out before class.

pass sthg up

decline (usually sthg good)

passed up the job because I am afraid of change.

pay sby back

return owed money

Thanks for buying my ticket. I'll pay you back on Friday.

pay for sthg

be punished for doing sthg bad

That bully will pay for being mean to my little brother.

pick sthg out


picked out three sweaters for you to try on.

point sby/ sthgout

indicate with your finger

I'll point my boyfriend out when he runs by.

put sthg down

put what you are holding on a surface or floor

You can put the groceries down on the kitchen counter.

put sby down

insult, make sby feel stupid

The students put the substitute teacher down because his pants were too short.

put sthg off


We are putting off our trip until January because of the hurricane.

put sthg out


The neighbours put the fire out before the firemen arrived.

put sthgtogether


I have to put the crib together before the baby arrives.

put up withsby/ sthg


I don't think I can put up with three small children in the car.

put sthg on

put clothing/ accessories on your body

Don't forget to put on your new earrings for the party.

run into sby/ sthg

meet unexpectedly

ran into an old school-friend at the mall.

run over sby/ sthg

drive a vehicle over a person or thing

I accidentally ran over your bicycle in the driveway.

run over/ through sthg

rehearse, review

Let's run over/through these lines one more time before the show.

run away

leave unexpectedly, escape

The child ran away from home and has been missing for three days.

run out

have none left

We ran out of shampoo so I had to wash my hair with soap.

send sthg back

return (usually by mail)

My letter got sent back to me because I used the wrong stamp.

set sthg up

arrange, organize

Our boss set a meeting up with the president of the company.

set sby up

trick, trap

The police set up the car thief by using a hidden camera.

shop around

compare prices

I want to shop around a little before I decide on these boots.

show off

act extra special for people watching (usually boastfully)

He always shows off on his skateboard

sleep over

stay somewhere for the night (informal)

You should sleep over tonight if the weather is too bad to drive home.

sort sthg out

organize, resolve a problem

We need to sort the bills out before the first of the month.

stick to sthg

continue doing sthg, limit yourself to one particular thing

You will lose weight if you stick to the diet.

switch sthg off

stop the energy flow, turn off

The light's too bright. Could you switch it off.

switch sthg on

start the energy flow, turn on

We heard the news as soon as we switched on the car radio.

take after sby

resemble a family member

take after my mother. We are both impatient.

take sthgapart

purposely break into pieces

He took the car brakes apart and found the problem.

take sthg back

return an item

I have to take our new TV back because it doesn't work.

take off

start to fly

My plane takes off in five minutes.

take sthg off

remove sthg (usually clothing)

Take off your socks and shoes and come in the lake!

take sthg out

remove from a place or thing

Can you take the garbage out to the street for me?

take sby out

pay for sby to go somewhere with you

My grandparents took us out for dinner and a movie.

tear sthg up

rip into pieces

tore up my ex-boyfriend's letters and gave them back to him.

think back

remember (often + to, sometimes + on)

When I think back on my youth, I wish I had studied harder.

think sthg over


I'll have to think this job offer over before I make my final decision.

throw sthgaway

dispose of

We threw our old furniture away when we won the lottery.

turn sthgdown

decrease the volume or strength (heat, light etc)

Please turn the TV down while the guests are here.

turn sthgdown


turned the job down because I don't want to move.

turn sthg off

stop the energy flow, switch off

Your mother wants you to turn the TV off and come for dinner.

turn sthg on

start the energy, switch on

It's too dark in here. Let's turn some lights on.

turn sthg up

increase the volume or strength (heat, light etc)

Can you turn the music up? This is my favourite song.

turn up

appear suddenly

Our cat turned up after we put posters up all over the neighbourhood.

try sthg on

sample clothing

I'm going to try these jeans on, but I don't think they will fit.

try sthg out


I am going to try this new brand of detergent out.

use sthg up

finish the supply

The kids used all of the toothpaste up so we need to buy some more.

wake up

stop sleeping

We have to wake up early for work on Monday.

warm sby/ sthgup

increase the temperature

You can warm your feet up in front of the fireplace.

warm up

prepare body for exercise

I always warm up by doing sit-ups before I go for a run.

wear off

fade away

Most of my make-up wore off before I got to the party.

work out


work out at the gym three times a week.

work out

be successful

Our plan worked out fine.

work sthg out

make a calculation

We have to work out the total cost before we buy the house.