Top 10 Phrasal Verbs to Know for Speaking English

Hello awesome English Learners! I’m here with Part Two of the Top 10 Phrasal Verbs to know for speaking English. At the end, we’ll have a quiz to test what you’ve learned today about phrasal verbs. Phrasal verbs are key to understanding everyday life with native English speakers.

What is a phrasal verb?

A phrasal verb is a regular verb with a preposition added to it. That combination creates a new meaning that is different from the base verb alone. Most of the time, you can guess the general meaning of the phrasal verb if you know the general meaning of the preposition.

For example, the phrasal verb “turn on” means something similar to “start.”

Turn on the subtitles in English.

“On” is like “start,” so we can assume that “turn on” means “start” or “power up” a device.

Phrasal Verbs are Casual

When I was in Spain, my friend and I went to a lot of restaurants where the waiters spoke English. My friend would order in English, but the waiters couldn’t understand her because she was using phrasal verbs! For example:

Could we top off our meal with some dessert and coffee?
This Spanish wine is really growing on me.

I had to translate my friend’s native English into classroom English, without phrasal verbs:

Could we complete our meal with some dessert and coffee?
She is enjoying the wine.

10 More Phrasal Verbs

Let’s “jump into” the Top 10 Phrasal Verbs that you need to know for fluent English, Part 2.

  1. “pick out” – to select or choose

Should we pick out a color to paint the wall?

  1. “get around” to doing something – to make time for something that isn’t a high priority

When I have time, I’ll get around to painting this wall.

  1. “make up” for something – to replace or to do something that you should have done before

I’m so sorry I forgot about your birthday! I promise I’ll make it up to you.

  1. “put down”

Meaning 1 – to make a disparaging comment
Meaning 2 – to put a deposit down on an investment

Don’t gossip, it’s not good manners to put other people down.
How much money would you like to put down on your new home?

  1. “break up”

Meaning 1 – divide tasks or an item into smaller pieces
Meaning 2 – to end a relationship

Let’s break up this loaf of bread into many different pieces.

  1. “grow up” to mature or to grow older – only for humans

Your child is growing up so quickly!

  1. “catch up” – to do work that should have been done earlier

Oh, I’m so busy! I really need to catch up on my work.
I’m so tired, I really need to catch up on my sleep.

  1. “kick off”

Meaning 1 – to begin or start
Meaning 2 – to remove someone

Let’s kick off this meeting.
This team member is not doing his work. Let’s kick him off the team.

  1. “go on”

Meaning 1 –  to encourage someone to continue
Meaning 2 – someone is talking a little too much

Go on, you can do it!
That person is just going on and on and on.

  1. To “cave in” – you hold yourself to a high standard but then yield to pressure

I want to diet, but I caved in and I ate some ice cream.

All 10 of these phrasal verbs I’m sharing with you are very common and very useful for you.

Ready for a Quiz?

Now, let’s test your knowledge to see how well you can remember all these phrasal verbs!
Fill in the blank with the phrasal verb that would replace the regular verb.

  1. Let’s ___________________ a new professional outfit for your interview. (select)
  2. I’m so busy! I really need to ________________ work. (do something you already should have done)
  3.  On a reality TV show called Survivor, they would ________ people ____________the island. (ask to leave)
  4. When can you _______________ helping me paint my house? (have time for)
  5. I am so sorry I forgot about your work anniversary! I promise you I’ll _____________ to you. (make an effort to do something I owed you)
  6. Sometimes you’re watching a video on YouTube and the presenter just _____________ about nothing. (talk a lot)
  7. When you’re on a diet, you have good intentions but sometimes you just ____________ and eat something that is not really on the diet. (concede to pressure and do something you didn’t plan to)
  8. If you plan on purchasing a property in the United States, it is common to __________ 20%. (deposit)
  9. Let’s ___________ our work into things we are going to do before lunch and after lunch. (divide)
  10.  Your child is ___________ so quickly! (maturing)
Let’s see how you did!
  1. Let’s PICK OUT a new professional outfit for you for your interview. (select)
  2. I’m so busy! I really need to CATCH UP ON work. (do something you already should have done)
  3. On a reality TV show called Survivor. they would KICK people OFF the island. (ask to leave)
  4. When can you GET AROUND TO help me paint my house? (have time for)
  5. I’m so sorry I forgot your work anniversary! I promise I’ll MAKE IT UP to you. (make an effort to do something I owed you)
  6. Sometimes you’re watching a video on YouTube and the presenter just GOES ON AND ON about nothing. (talk a lot)
  7. When you’re on a diet, you have good intentions but sometimes you just CAVE IN and eat something that is not really on the diet. (concede to pressure and do something you didn’t plan to)
  8. If you plan on purchasing a property in the United States, it is common to PUT DOWN 20%. (deposit)
  9. Let’s BREAK UP our work into things we are going to do before lunch and after lunch. (divide)
  10. Your child is GROWING UP so quickly! (maturing)

How did you do? If you’d like to learn even more phrasal verbs, check out this post about 10 common phrasal verbs with the word “look!”

If you want to challenge yourself I highly recommend making your own examples in the comments below. That is a great way for you to start using these new phrasal verbs. Have an amazing day, and sending you lots of love from Go Natural English.