List 14 - Phrasal Verbs


Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence


To violently pull something into pieces.

The vultures tore the carcass apart.

tear apart

To split.

The civil war threatens to tear the country apart.


To upset terribly.

It tore her apart to see so many child victims of terminal diseases in a single ward.

tear at

To pull or attack violently.

The puppies tore at the slipper.

tear away

To leave or remove oneself unwillingly.

Once he’s on the video game, it’s hard to tear him away from it.

tear down

To demolish.

Several houses were torn down to make way for the new highway.

tear into

To criticize strongly.

I said she might be wrong, and she tore into me.

tear off

To remove one’s clothes hurriedly.

I wasted no time in tearing my clothes off to take a shower.

tear up

To rip into pieces.

She tore up the letter after reading it.

tell against

To be a cause of a failure.

He longed to be a basketball player, but his lack of height told against him.

tell apart

To recognize or identify as different.

It is difficult to tell the twin girls apart.

tell off

To express disapproval of someone.

John ran for a bus but bumped against a woman who told him off.

tell on

To have a noticeably bad effect on someone.

Her constant worrying is beginning to tell on her face.

To inform on another person to the authority, especially the police.

Are you not worried that he will tell on you?

think back

To bring back the memory of something that happened in the past.

When he thinks back, he feels very lucky that he fell overboard but was not drowned.

think of

To have an opinion of someone.

She doesn’t think very highly of her new daughter-in-law.

To have an opinion of something.

What did you think of the film?

To come up with a new idea or plan.

I have just thought of a way to make easy money.

To remember something.

I recall correctly; she lives at number 11, but I can’t think of the street.

To have thoughtfulness towards others.

He often thinks of others, not only of himself.

think out

To mentally and carefully plan something.

Jack was the one who thought out the whole operation.

think over

To think carefully about something.

Jillian prefers to think it over before deciding on his proposal.

think through

To consider carefully.

Facing the choice of an overseas assignment or losing his job, George needed some time to think it through.

think up

To invent something.

It was Paul who thought up the idea of a jumble sale to raise more money.

throw away

To get rid of something that is useless.

He is not throwing away those ten pairs of worn out shoes yet.

To fail to make use of an opportunity, advantage, etc.

He chose to be a backpacker and threw away a chance to go to a university.

throw in

To add something with no additional charge to something else that is purchased.

We decided to buy the big desk with a table lamp thrown in.

To add something while something else is progressing.

All eyes were drawn to the one who threw in a careless remark while the conversation was proceeding.

throw off

To rid oneself of something.

If only you could throw off all your negative thoughts, you wouldn’t feel the way you do.

To quickly remove a piece of clothing.

Each day on arriving home, this couch potato uncle of his throws off his jacket and sits down to watch television.

To produce something in large amount.

Can the bright moon throw off enough light for reading?

To get rid of.

It was only after two weeks that grandma threw off her cold.

To break free from someone or something that following you.

She threw the stalker off by blending into the crowd.

throw open

To make something more accessible.

The race was thrown open to more competitors when the age limit of participants was lowered.

throw out

To get rid of something that is unwanted.

Dad refused to throw out the old books and magazines that cluttered the lounge.

To dismiss.

The court threw out the case due to lack of evidence.

To expel.

The student was thrown out of school for unacceptable behavior.

To discharge.

The treatment plant is throwing out raw sewage directly into the river.

throw over

To abandon someone.

She promised to never throw him over, but she broke the promise after one year.

throw together

To make something quickly without planning or preparation.

A sudden rainfall caused them not to dine out, but to throw something together for dinner.

To be brought into a relationship by chance.

Jack and Jill believed fate threw them together when as strangers they sat beside each other and began a relationship.

throw up

To vomit.

Bob, as usual, threw up after he had overeaten.

To abandon or give up.

Halfway through her election campaign, she threw up her candidacy.

To produce.

The introduction of the new regulations is likely to throw up much controversy.

tie down

To restrict someone’s freedom.

They were tied down by having to work twelve hours a day.

tie in

To connect one thing with another.

It was a disaster when the two events didn’t tie in when they were supposed to.

tie in with

To bring different things into a relationship.

The concert will tie in with the festival of dance taking place the same weekend.  

tie up

To fasten.

Someone tied all the flowers up in one big bunch.

To delay or block the progress of something.

The accident tied up traffic for hours.

To make money not readily accessible by putting it in property, bond, share, etc.

Most of her cash is tied up in real estate investments.

To restrain someone by binding their hands and feet or binding them to something.

The burglars tied him up before ransacking the house.

To keep someone busy so that they are unavailable to do anything else.

He was tied up in a meeting when I called.


Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence

touch at

To call briefly at a port.

Our ship touched at Cape Town for a few hours.

touch down

To come or bring down to the ground.

The big crowd cheered when the spacecraft touched down safely

touch in

To mark slightly with a brush, pencil, colour, etc.

His painting is almost finished; he’s touching in some small details to improve on it.

touch off

To cause something to explode.

The build-up of gas touched off a series of small explosions.

To cause an action or a process to begin.

The book touched off a storm of controversy.

touch on

To deal briefly with someone or something else when speaking or writing.

In his lecture on the subject, he touched on the writer.

touch up

To make minor improvements.

She touched up her face before meeting him.

try for

To make an attempt at achieving something.

They tried very hard for an equalizing goal in the second half.

try on

To put on an item of clothing to see if it fits or suits.

She tried it on, but it didn’t fit her.

try out

To undergo a competitive qualifying test.

They tried her out for the supporting role in the comedy film.

To test to see if you like it.

When you are at the seaside resort, don’t forget to try out the seafood dishes.

turn against

To disagree with or become hostile to someone or something.

His supporters turned against him when he defected to the opposition party.

turn around

To transform an unsuccessful business into a successful one.

A new general manager was appointed to turn around the ailing company.

turn away

To refuse entry to someone.

They turned a group of visitors away as it was closing time.

To force someone to go somewhere else.

The slow service of the restaurant turned away potential customers.

To move your face so that you are not looking at the same thing.

When I saw the blood at the accident scene, I turned away.

turn back

To go back in the direction, one has come from.

We had better turn back as the sea is getting too rough for sailing in a small boat.

turn down

To reject.

She turned down his proposal for the tenth time.

To lower the volume, heat, etc.

How many times do I have to tell you to turn down the radio?

turn in

To hand something over to someone.

Someone turned my lost passport in to the police.

To go to bed.

It’s rather late; it’s time we turned in.

To inform on.

A gang member turned the leader in to the police.

To make a return.

This is the first quarter that the new company is expected to turn in a profit.

To hand in.

He was forced to turn in his letter of resignation, failing which he would be sacked.

turn into

To change something into something else.

There was loud applause when the magician turned a carrot into a rabbit.

To transform a place.

The fishing village has been turned into a seaside resort.

turn off

To repel or make repelled.

His arrogance really turned her off.

To leave one road and enter another.

We turned off the highway and went down a bumpy road to reach our destination.

To stop something from operating.

When you turn off the tap, you do it clockwise.

turn on

To excite or become excited, especially sexually.

Girls with long hair really turn me on.

To cause something to begin operating.

It’s nearly dark already; why are you still not turning on your car light?

To attack someone.

Why turn on him when he has nothing to do with it?

turn out

To discover something previously unknown, or unexpectedly.

It turned out that the butler was the one who committed the murder.

To assemble as for a public event.

An estimated ten thousand people turned out for the fireworks display.

To be found out.

The burglar who stole the diamond turned out to be the police inspector.

To take part or to attend.

The district has the highest number of people in the country turning out to vote.

To produce something through a manufacturing process.

With the new machine, they are able to turn out 500 packets per hour.

To result in or have a particular outcome.

Initially, none of us believed his story which turned out to be true.

turn over

To transfer someone or something to someone else.

The abandoned baby was turned over to the welfare department.

To make an amount of money in a given period.

We think his new business is turning over at least a few thousand dollars a month.

To switch to another television station or channel.

If you are not watching, we are turning over to the other channel.

To think about something.

He couldn’t get to sleep as he kept turning the thought over in his mind.

turn to

To seek help from something.

She turned to drugs to get over her depression.

To look for a page in a book.

If you turn to page 123, you will find the next page missing.

To go to someone for advice.

She turned to counseling for her depression.

turn up

To appear suddenly or unexpectedly.

A woman who was reported missing a few weeks ago turned up at the press office.

To find something.

The police combed the entire area but turned up no clues to the murder.

To be present publicly; to arrive.

Less than half of the invited guests turned up for the event.

To occur unexpectedly.

He missed the appointment as something that required his urgent attention turned up.

To increase the level of something such as heat, sound, light, etc.

Don’t turn up the volume on the television; I want to take a nap.