Phrasal Verb

A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and a preposition or an adverb or both.

Therefore, a phrasal verb consists of a verb and one or two words such as on, in, up, out, with, off, down, about, away, after, etc.

Examples: bring up, give up, look after, turn down, pass away, put off, set off, call off, break into, break down, get up, hold on, bring about, step down, sort out, looking forward to, look down on, put up with.

A phrasal verb has a meaning which is different from the original meaning of the verb. Read the following examples. The meaning of each phrasal verb is given in front of the sentence.

  • He was brought up by her aunt. (bring up: to raise a child).
  • The patient passed way.             (pass away: to die).
  • He is trying to give up smoking.  (give up: to quit)
  • She looks after her children.       (look after: to take care of).
  • She turned down his proposal.   (turn down: to reject).
  • They set off for Paris.     (set off: to start a journey).
  • The game was called off due to bad weather. (call off: to end or cancel).
  • He gets up at 7 AM.        (get up: to rise from bed).
  • Never look down on poor people. (look down on: to consider someone inferior).
  • We will not put up with his annoying behaviour. (put of with: to tolerate unpleasant things)
  • I am looking forward to a response from you. (look forward to: to wait with pleasure).
  • The servants carried out the orders of their owner. (carry out: to do what you are asked to do).
  • They were trying to sort out the issue.   (sort out: to manage, solve or organize).
  • Constant stress brought about negative changes in his behaviour. (bring about: to cause)

Some more examples of phrasal verbs (along with their meanings) are as follows:

  • Break down (stop functioning).
  • Break into (to enter some place forcibly).
  • Put off (to postpone).
  • Put out (to extinguish fire).
  • Put on (to wear something)
  • Pass out (to faint).
  • Run out (to be short of something).
  • Show off (to behave in a boastful manner).
  • Take off (begin to fly).
  • Step down (to leave or resign from an official position)

  Phrasal verbs have the following types:

  • Transitive and Intransitive Phrasal Verb
  • Separable and Non-separable Phrasal Verb

  A transitive phrasal verb requires an object in the sentence. Without an abject, it cannot give a complete meaning. see the following examples where blue word is the object.


  • She looks after the child.
  • Please switch on the fan.
  • They will sort out the problem.

  An intransitive phrasal verb does not require an object in the sentence. It can make a complete sense even without an object for it in the sentence.


  • The patient passed away.
  • When do you get up?
  • The children are growing up.
  • The thief ran away.

  A separable phrasal verb is a phrasal verb whose words (verbs and preposition) can be separated to be used at different places in a sentence. They can be used in a joined-form as well as separated-form.


  • He switched on the fan.
  • He switched the fan on.
  • I will pick up you from the bus-stop.
  • I will pick you up from the bus-stop.
  • The people requested to cut down the prices.
  • The people requested to cut the prices down.

  A non-separable phrasal verb is a phrasal verb whose words (verbs and preposition) cannot be separated to be used in different places in a sentence. They always remain together.


  • She looks after her children.
  • The patient passed away.
  • He is trying to give up smoking.

All intransitive phrasal verbs are inseparable. But some transitive phrasal verbs are separable and some of them are inseparable.