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     An idiom has a meaning you can't figure out from the individual words. Knowing the words “hot” and “potato” won't help you understand the idiom “hot potato” if you've never heard of it before.

     phrasal verb is a verb made up of a (base) verb and one or more particles, which together create a new meaning.

     For example, the verb "pick" and the particle "up" combine to form the phrasal verb "pick up," which means "to lift or take up."

     An idiom is a phrase or expression that has a figurative meaning different from the literal meaning of the individual words.

     For example, the idiom "kick the bucket" means to die. Both are used in spoken and written English, but idioms are often more specific to a particular culture or region and may be more difficult for speakers from other cultures to understand. Given below are some commonly used phrasal verbs:

     Break down means to stop working or malfunction

     Look into means to investigate or research

     Put off means to postpone or delay

     Calm down means to relax after being angry over something

     Eat out means to eat food outside, like in a restaurant

     Give off means to release something in the form of a smell

     Boil down to means to be summarized to

     Clamp down on means to act strictly or harshly to prevent something from happening

     Die down means to become less strong or lose effect

     Stick up for means to defend

     The ball is in your court means it's now your turn to take action

     Bite the bullet means to face a difficult situation with courage

     Cost an arm and a leg means to be very expensive

     Beat around the bush means to avoid saying what you mean

     Break the ice means to start the conversation

     To have two left feet used to describe a person who can’t dance properly

     To play it by ear used to tell to deal with a situation as it develops

     To drive someone up the wall means to make someone want to leave the conversation or a situation because they can’t tolerate it anymore

     To skate on thin ice means to be in a risky situation

     To move the goalposts meaning to change the rules or norms of a particular situation midway

     Phrasal verbs are very common in English, especially in more informal contexts. They are made up of a verb and a particle or, sometimes, two particles. The particle often changes the meaning of the verb.

called Sita to see how she was. (call = to telephone)

They've called off the meeting. (call off = to cancel)

     In terms of word order, there are two main types of phrasal verbs: separable and inseparable.


     With separable phrasal verbs, the verb and particle can be apart or together.

     They've called the meeting off.
They've called off the meeting.

     However, separable phrasal verbs must be separated when you use a personal pronoun.

     The meeting? They've called it off.

     Here are some common separable phrasal verbs:

     I didn't want to bring the situation up at the meeting.
(bring up = start talking about a particular subject)

     Please can you fill this form in?
(fill in = write information in a form or document)

     I'll pick you up from the station at 8 p.m.
(pick up = collect someone in a car or other vehicle to take them somewhere)

     She turned the job down because she didn't want to move to Glasgow.
(turn down = to not accept an offer)


     Some phrasal verbs cannot be separated.

     Who looks after the baby when you're at work?

     Even when there is a personal pronoun, the verb and particle remain together.

     Who looks after her when you're at work?

     Here are some common non-separable phrasal verbs:

     came across your email when I was clearing my inbox.
(come across = to find something by chance)

     The caterpillar turned into a beautiful butterfly.
(turn into = become)

     It was quite a major operation. It took months to get over it and feel normal again.
(get over = recover from something)

     We are aware of the problem and we are looking into it.
(look into = investigate)

     Some multi-word verbs are inseparable simply because they don't take an object.

     get up at 7 a.m.


     Phrasal verbs with two particles are also inseparable. Even if you use a personal pronoun, you put it after the particles.

     Who came up with that idea?
(come up with = think of an idea or plan)

     Let's get rid of these old magazines to make more space.
(get rid of = remove or become free of something that you don't want)

     I didn't really get on with my stepbrother when I was a teenager.
(get on with = like and be friendly towards someone)

     Can you hear that noise all the time? I don't know how you put up with it.
(put up with = tolerate something difficult or annoying)

     The concert's on Friday. I'm really looking forward to it.
(look forward to = be happy and excited about something that is going to happen)




his boss.



well with


This table is completely broken. Let’s





at 6 p.m.


you can


Sita called to ask if




a desert

Whole area

If climate change continuous, this

to get



I am heartbroken. How long will it take

When my parents are on holiday, I



the cat





The invitation to their wedding. I     


     He gets on really well with his boss.

     This table is completely broken. Let's get rid of it.

     Sita called to ask if you can pick her up at 6 p.m.

     If climate change continues, this whole area could turn into a desert.

     I am heartbroken. How long will it take to get over this?

     When my parents are on holiday, I look after the cat.

     The invitation to their wedding, I politely turned it down.


Works Cited

Abdi, Neya. “10 Common Phrasal Verbs You'll Likely Hear In The Workplace.” Talaera Blog, 7 January 2022, Accessed 26 September 2023.

“Idioms and Phrasal Verbs.” Oxford School of English Delhi, 18 February 2023, Accessed 26 September 2023.

Moore, Kirk. “Phrasal verbs | LearnEnglish.” British Council, Accessed 26 September 2023.


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