Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are formed by combining a verb with a particle. The particle that is used to form a phrasal verb can be either a preposition or an adverb. These combinations create an entirely new meaning which is different than the meaning of either word used by itself.

Phrasal verbs can sometimes be separable. If a phrasal verb is separable and is used with a noun then the noun can either follow or come between the verb and the particle.

Put the book down.

Put down the book

If a separable phrasal verb is used with a pronoun, the pronoun always comes between the verb and the particle.

Correct: Put it down.

Incorrect: Put down it.

If the phrasal verb is nonseparable then the noun and pronoun always come after the particle.

Correct: I ran into John at the supermarket.

Incorrect: I ran John into at the supermarket.

Below is a list of some common phrasal verbs along with an explination of their meaning.

You will also find many phrasal verbs used in English at this link.

There is also a list of some of the most common phrasal verbs at here.

back up There are many idiomatic meanings: in transportation, to reverse direction; in computer or legal language, to create a second copy of an electronic file or disk or create a second proof of a story.
call back To call means to contact, usually orally. To call back means to return or repeat a call, usually a telephone call.
call off To call off means to cancel something, such as a party, a or a meeting.
drop by To drop means to let go, but to drop by means to pay an informal visit.
get off To get means to obtain. But to get off usually means to exit a means of transportation-an elevator, a bicycle, a bus, or the like. There are other slang meanings as well.
pass away To pass usually means to go by. But to pass away means to die, and in some areas of the country the simple word pass also means to die.
pass out To pass out means to faint - frequently from exhaustion, drinking too much alcohol, or illness.