10 Common Phrasal Verbs with “Pick” – Meanings and Example Sentences (Audio)

Pick up

to lift and hold something; to get someone or something; to clean or organize after someone has made a mess; to resume something after a break

  I have to pick up my sister from school.

Help me pick up the trash!

We will pick up our conversation after lunch.

Pick out

If you pick out someone or something, you choose them from among a group of people or things, or recognize something or someone in a group.

  We need to pick out an outfit for the birthday party.

  Help me pick out the prettiest flowers for the event.

It took me 30 minutes to pick out the book that I like.

Pick at

to eat only a small amount of food because you are not hungry

The woman sat down and picked at her food in a bored fashion.

Don’t pick at your breakfast, Mike. Finish it quickly.

Annie picked at a small dish but she wasn’t really hungry.

Pick on

to choose someone or something; to repeatedly treat someone unfairly or unkindly

Why do they always pick on me for hard tasks?

The boy got picked on by the other boys because of his disability.

He used to be picked on by his stepfather.

Pick off

to shoot someone or something one by one by aiming at them carefully from a distance

The boys were picking off each other in a game.

They were about to pick off the birds in the bush.

The hunter picked off the rabbits one by one.

Pick up on

to talk again about something that others have mentioned; to notice something

I’d like to pick up on the second point that you mentioned.

He failed to pick up on his teacher’s questions.

They’re best friends. They can pick up on each other’s bad moods.

Pick apart

to find flaws in something by careful examination

He picked apart my argument.

Be prepared or your speech will be picked apart.

Henry was picking apart his opponent’s argument.

Pick over

to carefully examine and choose the one you want

I need to pick over the appropriate clothes for the party tonight.

There are many options. You have to pick them over.

Tom is picking over his favorite ice cream.

Pick through

to search carefully to find something

Mary was picking through the ruins to look for her old family photo.

He’s such a messy boy. He picks through his pile of clothes every day to find his favorite socks.

I spent the whole morning picking through this pile of books, searching for my diary.

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