Other common phrasal verbs – Meanings and Example Sentences (Audio)

Try on

to put on a piece of clothing to see how it looks and whether it fits

  Try on this dress to see if it fits you.

I need to try on these shoes before I buy them.

She’s in the fitting room trying on some clothing.

Think over

to consider a problem or decision carefully. If you think something over, you consider it carefully before making a decision.

  I need to think over the job offer.

   Please think over your decision to marry him.

Always think it over before you speak.

Sit down

to move from a standing position to a sitting position

You can sit down at the last table.

She likes to sit down next to him.

Sit down on the bed and rest a while.

Dress up

to wear nice clothing; to wear formal clothing for an event or to wear a special costume  

It’s important to dress up professionally for an interview.

 I will dress up as Cinderella for tomorrow’s Halloween party.

She always dresses up like a princess for school.

Tire out

to make someone feel very tired. If something tires you out, it makes you exhausted.

Tired out: to feel weary, exhausted; to feel drained from stress or overworking

Every time I look after her kids, they tire me out.

All that exercise really tired me out.

He looks so tired out after taking a 5-hour-long exam.

Hang up

to end a phone call; if you hang up, or you hang up the phone, you end a phone call. If you hang up on someone to whom you are speaking on the phone, you end the phone call suddenly and unexpectedly; to put clothing on a hook or hanger

My mom always hangs up my clothing for me.

The women hung up their coats and sat down.

She hung up on him because she was mad.

Count on/to depend on

to rely on someone; to wait for someone to help you or take care of a situation

 I can always count on you to cheer me up.

 I can’t count on him to help me because he is very irresponsible.

Don’t depend on other people’s money; always be financially independent.

Point out

to show an idea; to let people know about an error or mistake; to show a different perspective

Thank you for pointing out my mistakes.

You need to point out what he did wrong.

Don’t ever point out someone’s mistakes in public. 

 Figure out

to understand or solve something. If you figure out a solution to a problem or the reason for something, you solve it or understand it.

He spent five hours figuring out how to operate this machine.

I want to figure out how to solve the Rubik’s Cube.

I couldn’t figure out what the teacher was talking about.

Wake up

to rise from sleeping or unconsciousness

Wake up! Rise and shine!

She usually wakes up at 6 am every day.

Don’t wake him up. It’s still early.

Hurry up

to be as quick as possible

Hurry up and get dressed! We are late for class.

Tell the kids to hurry up and take a bath!

Hurry up and finish eating so we can go shopping. 

Lie down

the opposite of “to get up”; to move into a position in which your body is flat, usually to sleep or rest

 I like to lie down on the grass at the park.

 Lie down on the sofa and rest for a while.

She lies down on her favorite chair to read a book.

Talk over

to fail to do something as quickly as required

We were getting behind in our work.

Jenny got behind on the payments for her apartment.

She’s such a slow learner. She’s always getting behind on her work.

Break down

broken; a machine that suddenly stops working; to divide into parts to be analyzed

My car broke down this morning, so I couldn’t go to work.

Let me break down the summary of the documents and make it clear for you.

The ship broke down, so everybody is stuck on the island.

Cross out

to draw a line through a mistake when you are writing

If you made a mistake in your writing, just cross it out.

She crossed out his name on the board.

Cross out the incorrect answers and write the correct ones next to them.

Come across/to run across

to encounter; to meet or find somebody/something by chance

I came across a book that I was looking for.

He came across a recruitment ad when he was reading the newspaper this afternoon.

They came across many challenges before winning the final competition.

Stay up

to be awake

I will stay up until midnight to finish my homework.

Why are you staying up so late?

Don’t stay up too late; it’s not good for your health.

Rely on (upon)

to depend on someone or something

I can always rely on my brother to help me with math.

Don’t rely on me because I can’t help you.

Try not to rely too much on the calculator.

Show up

to appear; to be somewhere

Will you show up at work tomorrow?

Vincent hasn’t shown up for school over the past few weeks.

I want him to show up at my birthday party.

Find out

to search for the truth; to learn by studying; to seek information about something. We often use this phrase to gain knowledge of something, or to obtain knowledge about someone’s activities, especially dishonest ones.

I want to find out the truth.

You need to find out who took your money.

The investigators want to find out the thief’s true identity.

Drop out of

to quit

Lilly dropped out of school when she was 16.

There are billionaires who dropped out of high school.

My mom would never let me drop out of the competition.

Drop by/in

to stop by; to make a quick visit

I’m just dropping by to say hi.

Drop by and have lunch with me.

I might drop by her house today.

Believe in

to have faith in something; to trust someone

Do you believe in fairy tales?

I believe in love.

You must always believe in yourself.

Cheer up

to try to be happy; to do something funny to make someone happy

I want to cheer her up.

It’s nice to cheer up someone when they’re sad.

She likes to cheer up people.

Fade away

when something becomes blurry; when memories become unclear

Memories will eventually fade away.

The ink on the paper will fade away after a year.

I don’t want our memories to fade away.

Sell out

to sell all of something so that nothing remains

This product is sold out.

All the supply is sold out today.

I want to sell out all my properties and move away.

Save up

to put money aside; to not spend money

I need to save up for a trip.

He is saving up to buy a house.

Parents always save up for their kids.

Check out

to pay for services before leaving; to look at something

Remember to check out and leave a tip before you leave.

Let’s go check out the new fashion stores.

Do you want to check out the food at that restaurant?

Show off

to be pretentious about one’s status or abilities

He likes to show off his dancing skills.

She always shows off her luxurious lifestyle.

Truly intelligent people never show off.

Work out

to train the body by physical exercise; to develop in a successful way; to find the answer to something

We should work out to keep fit and stay healthy.

That method didn’t work out.

It’s time to work out the solutions to that problem.

Call off

to cancel something

Please, can I call off the deal?

They’ve called off the meeting.

The football match was called off because of the heavy rain.

Mess up

to spoil something or do something badly; to make something dirty or untidy

She messed up her hair after the fight.

The fact that you messed up really affects the whole project.

Don’t mess things up. You have to pay back for what you’ve done to me.

Narrow down

to reduce the number of possibilities or choices

We’ve narrowed down the topic to make it easier for the presenters.

The list of candidates was narrowed down yesterday.

After the meeting, we’d like to narrow down the target market.

Rip off

to cheat somebody by making them pay too much, by selling them something of poor quality, etc.

Local car drivers are ripping off the tourists.

He’s been ripped off by the flower seller.

Be careful; you may get ripped off.

Lay off

to stop using or doing something; to end someone’s employment, especially temporarily

You should lay off smoking for health reasons.

Many workers have been laid off.

She has to lay off the medication for another health check.

Follow up

to add to something you have just done by doing something else

The lawyer must follow up on this case.

They’ve had serious complaints from customers, but they never followed up on them.

Following up the presentation, I have a question related to your business strategy.

Rule out

to state that something is not possible or that somebody/something is not suitable

His suggestion has been ruled out, as it isn’t applicable.

The possibility that the woman had been kidnapped was ruled out.

The doctor has ruled out the possibility that he has cancer.

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