List 14 - Phrasal Verbs




Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence

make away with

To steal.

I saw in a store a kid made away with a bar of chocolate.

make for

To move towards somewhere.

We quickly made for the river bank when our boat started to leak. 


To produce a particular result.

Knowing the same language makes for better communication.

make into

To change something so that it becomes something else.

They made trash into adorable ornaments.

make of

To influence the formation or development of.

Your life is what you make of it.  

To ask someone for their opinion.

His last word before he died was about poison; what do you make of it?

make off

To leave hurriedly.

The robbers made off when the alarm sounded. 

To take something away illegally.

Police arrested a pickpocket who made off with ten wallets.

make out

To understand.

She whispered in my ear, but I could not make out what it was. 

To see, hear or recognize with difficulty.

I couldn’t make out the sign through the fog. 

To write out.

He made out a cheque in payment of the fees. 

To portray someone in a particular way

Why do they make him out to be a religious person when he is not?

make over

To transfer the ownership of something to someone else.

He made over his entire estate to his only child. 

To restore to a good state.

The family bought the old crumbling mansion and made it over into an imposing one.

make towards

To go in the direction of something.

She made towards the exit when she had made all her purchases.

make up

To set something in order.

The maid made up their bedroom when they were out. 

To invent something such as a story, excuse, etc. so as to deceive.

It’s pretty obvious she made up that story about being attacked. 

To put something together.

We made up a list of the tasks that are to be tackled in order of priority. 

To make good the amount that falls short of what is required.

He saved as much as he could for the car, and his dad made up the deficit. 

To replace.

They are making up for lost time by working overtime. 

To apply make-up.

Each morning, she takes considerable time to make up before leaving for work. 

To form a part of a whole.

Tips made up a large portion of his income. 

To restore friendly relations after a quarrel)

The two neighbours mutually agreed to make up with a handshake.

make up for

To compensate.

No amount of money could make up for the loss of her husband.

make up to

To do something that is to one’s advantage.

Jack made up to Jill in hopes of keeping her as his girlfriend.

mark down

To reduce the price of something.

The store attracts a big crowd as most items on sale have been marked down.

mark off

To use a mark to indicate an item has been dealt with.

She marked off all the items she had bought. 

To use something to separate an area

Police marked off the crime scene with tape. 

mark out

To draw lines to indicate something.

They have marked out the area for vehicles to park.

mark up

To increase the price of something.

Flour is likely to be marked up as there will soon be a shortfall in supply.  

mete to

To give punishment.

His family felt that the sentence meted out to him was unjustly harsh.

mix up

To fail to distinguish between two or more persons or things.

I called the wrong number when I mixed your telephone number up with another. 

To disarrange a group of things by putting them in the wrong order.

Someone mixed those cards up when they should arrange the titles on the cards in alphabetical order.

mop up

To clean a surface by soaking up the liquid.

The milk spilled across the floor, and who is to mop it up?

move away

To go to a different place to live.

The children moved away as soon as they got married.

move in

To begin to occupy a new house.

We moved in as soon as it was ready for occupation.

move in on

To go closer to a place in order to attack or seize control of it.

The police have located the gang’s hideout and are moving in on them.

move on

To get going.

We have already been here a couple of days; let’s move on to our next destination. 

To leave a place

I pulled over but a traffic policeman waved to me to move on.

move out

To cease to live in a house.

We decided to move out when the landlord increased the rent again.

move over

To change from one position to another so that more space is available.

Let’s move over and let him sit down.

nibble away at

To make or become gradually less.

All these tidbits are nibbling away at the money we brought along with us.

nod off

To doze off unintentionally.

He often nods off while watching television.

occur to

To come to one’s mind.

It never occurred to me that you really believe the world is flat.

open into

To lead to a particular place

Like a hotel, each room in the mansion opens into the corridor.









open up

To begin firing.

In the army barracks, a soldier went berserk and opened up with a machine gun. 

To start business.

Every morning the stallholders in the new market open up well before dawn. 

To speak readily.

After much persuasion, she finally opened up and revealed the truth about what happened that day. 

To perform a surgical operation.

The surgeons opened the patient up and discovered what they had been suspecting all along. 

To convert land to a new purpose, especially by constructing buildings.

The developer opened up the land for a housing estate.





Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence

pass around/round

To give something to everyone in a group.

Please take a form and pass the others around.


To offer something to everyone in a group.

Please pass these drinks round.

pass away

To die.

Grandpa passed away peacefully in his sleep.

pass by

To move past.

The small child watched open-mouthed the parade passing by. 

To move past someone and not be recognized.

I passed by her without being noticed by her. 

To go past someone or something

We often sat on the river bank and looked at the barges passing by.

pass down

To hand something down from older people to younger ones.

The centuries-old tradition still passes down from generation to generation.

pass for

To regard something as true.

His mother-in-law in mini-skirt could easily pass for a teenager.

pass off

To falsely represent oneself as someone else.

There is no reason for me to pass myself off as anyone else. 

To happen in a satisfactory way.

The protest match against alleged vote rigging passed off peacefully. 

To deliberately cause someone to believe something that is not true or genuine.

He was under investigation for passing off fakes as authentic documents.

pass on

To infect someone.

You passed your cough on to me. See, I’m coughing now. 

To let someone else bear the cost of something.

The restaurant owners threatened to pass the proposed increase in the service tax on to the consumers. 

To die. 

It’s exactly a year that he passed on. 

To pass something from one person to another

He was not present, so no one passed on the message about the urgent meeting to him.

pass out

To briefly lose consciousness.

During a heavy drinking session, he suddenly passed out. 

To give out something.

He passed out the application forms to those who put up their hands. 

To successfully compete a training, especially in the armed forces.

She was the only woman who passed out from one of the top police colleges in the country.

pass over

To be ignored or left out.

Jane threatened to resign when she was passed over for promotion. 

To avoid mentioning something

Certain facts were passed over, thus making the report misleading.

pass up

To reject.

His parents thought he should accept it as the opportunity to work overseas is too good to pass up. 

To refuse to accept.

He passed up a chance for promotion out of fear of new responsibilities.

pay back

To revenge oneself.

I’ll pay him back one of these days for what he did to me. 

To repay someone.

Can I now pay you back half of the amount I owe you?

pay for

To be punished.

Let’s hope he will pay dearly for his evil deeds.

pay in

To put money into an account.

I will pay this cheque in for you.

pay into

To put money into an account.

I will pay this cheque into your account.

pay off

To bribe someone to keep quiet, especially about something that is illegal or dishonest.

He wanted to pay me off substantially to keep quiet about something illegal he had done. 

To produce a good outcome.

Our persistence really paid off as we got this thing done successfully. 

To make full settlement of one’s debt.

We paid off the washing machine in four installments.

pay out

To give out money. 

A huge sum of money was paid out to the jackpot winner. 

To spend

I don’t know how much I have to pay out to fix the leak in the roof.

pay up

To make a payment although not readily or eagerly.

I was told to pay up by Monday or had my car repossessed.

pick at

To eat in small amounts, displaying no desire to satisfy one’s hunger or need for food.

The patient picked at her breakfast.

pick off

To shoot someone or something one by one from a distance.

We picked the moving toy ducks off one by one at the fun fair, and won some prizes.

pick on

To repeatedly choose the same person for unfair treatment.

I don’t think she likes me; she’s always picking on me.

pick out

To easily recognize someone in a group.

Anyone of us can pick out Rose’s father from the crowd because he is exceptionally tall.

pick over

To examine item by item, choosing the ones one wants.

We picked over the apples before buying them.  

pick up

To lift.

We picked the broken pieces up off the floor.

To collect.

As we walked along the beach, we picked up empty sea shelves.

To take on passengers or goods.

Finally, the bus arrived to pick up commuters.  

To get or bring back something from somewhere.

The mechanic called to ask me to pick up my car.

To buy.

The father picked up some items of food from a grocer’s shop.

To buy something cheaply.

She picked up some discounted dresses in the sale.

To learn through practice.

We could pick up French more quickly when we lived in France.

To detain someone.

He was picked up as a suspect from his home by the police.

To accept to pay, especially a restaurant bill for food and drinks.

The kind uncle offered to pick up the tab.

To catch an illness.

He picked up an unknown disease while on an overseas holiday.  

To increase or improve.

We waited until the wind picked up before setting sail. 

To improve.

Sales are expected to pick up at the end of the year.

To detect.

One of the hounds had picked up the scent of a fox.

pitch in

To join in taking on a task or an activity.

Bob pitched in to help complete the project before the deadline. 

To provide help or support.

Some employers pitched in with financial help to get the training scheme going.

pitch into

To make physical or verbal attack against someone.

He would pitch into anyone who commented that he was uncooperative.

pitch up

To turn up.

By the time he pitched up, the evening was drawing to a close.

plan on

To decide on something and arrange it in advance.

She plans on allowing only invited guests at her party. 

To prepare for a future event.

They had not planned on having such bad weather.

plan out

To make thorough preparation.

We have already planned out the schedule for a week’s outing to the seaside resort.

play along

To act so as to make it appear that you are cooperating when in fact you are not.

He played along with her suggestion for the time being.

play around

To make small movements with something in the hand/s.

He was playing around with a pencil when he talked to me. 

To enter into a casual sexual relationship with a woman

She heard a rumour that her boss was playing around with his secretary.

play at

To play the role of someone.

Some of the children love to play at cowboys and Red Indians.

play back

To replay something that has been recorded.

She played back the tape-recorder to listen to her voice with a view to improving it.

play down

To minimize the true importance of something.

The accused’s lawyers played down the seriousness of his offence.

play off

To play in a tie, the winner of which goes to the next stage of the competition.

The two teams are playing off for a place in the Premier League. 

To give your support to a person or group to oppose another in a dispute so as to gain an advantage or benefit for yourself.

The children are playing off one parent against the other.

play on

To exploit someone’s way of thinking or feeling in order to benefit oneself.

He’s always playing on his friends’ generosity to get free treats.

play up

To give undue prominence to something.

A pro-government newspaper played up the internal squabble of the main opposition party.

play up to

To please someone for their support.

Many politicians are expert at playing up to the voters to gain their votes.

play with

To move something about with no useful purpose.

He unconsciously played with his pen while talking to us.

point out

To inform someone of something.

The leader pointed out the things we should and shouldn’t do while jungle trekking. 

To make someone notice a person.

He pointed his teacher out to his parents.

point to

To reach a particular conclusion based on fact which is likely to be true.

Available evidence points to pilot error as the cause of the crash.

point up

To draw attention to something.

The report pointed up the definite weaknesses in the security arrangements.

polish off

To consume food or drink quickly. 

David could easily polish off seven different types of fruit at one sitting. 

To defeat.

As expected, the underdog was polished off in straight sets. 

To kill.

His family believed he was polished off by a hit man engaged by his ex-wife.

polish up

To improve on a skill.

We intend to polish up our English in order to know her better. 

To make smooth and shiny by rubbing

You need to polish up your boots.