Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence

identify with

To consider oneself as equivalent to someone else.

He identified very much with the main character in the film.

improve on

To produce something better than.

The second edition greatly improves on the first one.

inform against

To disclose incriminating information to an authority.

A member informs against the other members of the armed gang.

inform on

To reveal incriminating information about someone.

He was summarily arrested when his comrades informed on him.

infringe on

To encroach on someone or something.

Discussing a politician’s divorce is tantamount to infringing on his personal life.

inquire after

To ask about the state of health of someone.

Amy is deeply concerned about you; she’s always inquiring after your health and well-being.

inquire into

To investigate or gather information.

The police are inquiring into his relationship with the terrorist group.  

inquire of

To ask for information.

The reporters inquired of the party leader when he would resign for his part in the bribery scandal.

interfere with

To prevent something from working effectively.

Lack of confidence has seriously interfered with his performance at school.

To sexually molest.

A teacher was arrested for interfering with his young charges.

invest in

To spend for future benefit.

The company invests heavily in research and development.

To acquire something useful.

Their old leaking house makes them feel the need to invest in a new one.

invest with

To provide with power or authority.

The party constitution invested the party leader with the power to approve candidates for election. 

To endow someone or something with a particular quality or characteristic.

He was invested with great charisma which few leaders in his country have had.

issue forth

To flow or come out from something.

The relatives could hear the groans issuing forth from the dying patient. 

To come out

From a long distance, we could see smoke issuing from a lone cottage chimney.


To raise.

The storekeepers wouldn’t dare jack up prices because of a new supermarket nearby. 

 jack up

To increase.

This is the third time in two years the landlord has jacked up the rents. 


To use a jack to lift a heavy object off the ground

We had to jack up the car to replace its punctured tyre/tire.

join in

To become a member of a group involved in an activity.

They were clearing the beach and we joined in.

join up

To become a member of one of the armed forces.

The three sisters thought the army was the right choice for them, and they joined up.

To unite with other people to do something.

We joined up with a vigilante group to patrol the neighbourhood.

join with

To come or bring together for a common purpose; to unite.

They are asking anyone to join with them in their campaign for racial equality.

jot down

To write something hastily.

I jotted her telephone number down on my palm.

jump at

To accept eagerly.

He jumped at the chance to join the trip to the Niagara Falls. 

To act quickly as a reaction to something.

She jumped at the bargain on offer. 

To make a verbal attack.

The supervisor jumped at me for making the same mistake again.

jump in

To interrupt someone.

That was not the first time he jumped in when I was still talking.

jump on

To express disapproval of.

Her mother never failed to jump on her whenever she was home late.

jump out at

To appear highly noticeable.

We felt the luminous billboard really jumped out at us especially when we pass by it in the dark.

keep at

To persist.

We kept at it until we completed it ahead of schedule. 


To force someone to persist

To complete the work on time, the employer kept the foreign workers at it until late at night.

keep away

To avoid going to a place.

You should keep away from that fast-flowing river. 

To prevent someone from seeing someone else

The villagers kept their children away from outsiders who happened to be there.

keep back

To not tell everything.

I think she is keeping something back that she does not want us to know. 

To not use all.

We can’t use all our savings to buy the car; we have to keep some back for emergency use.

keep down

To stop oneself from vomiting.

Last night, I overate and couldn’t keep my food down. 

To prevent something from growing.

Something has to be done to keep global population down. 

To bring under control.

We are now in a library; please keep your voice down.

keep from

To not tell about something.

He has only two months to live, so should we keep him from knowing? 

To stop oneself from doing something

Some spectators couldn’t keep from booing loudly at the referee for not giving a free kick.

keep in with

To maintain friendly contact with someone that could prove beneficial in the future.

He is keeping in with his former business mentor who he believes could one day help in steering his new business to success.

keep off

To not touch something.

Keep your hands off my pizza. 

To refrain from doing or eating something that is harmful to one’s health.

His doctor advised him to keep off excessive smoking in order to stay healthy. 

To stay away from a particular area.

Why is he walking on the grass when the notice in front of him says ‘keep off the grass’?

keep on

To carry on doing or saying the same thing.

She keeps harping on the one little mistake I made. 

To retain the employment of an employee.

I was informed that they might not keep me on in the new year as the company will be downsizing.

keep out

To stop someone or something from being in a place.

She should keep the baby monkey out instead of sleeping with it. 

To tell people to stay away

At the construction site, there’s a big sign that read ‘keep out’.

keep out of

To not get involved.

It’s not our business, so we had better keep out of it.

keep to

To stick to a subject.

Why do you beat about the bush? Keep to what you want to say. 

To maintain a secret.

Keep what I just told you to yourself, or I will never tell you anything again. 

To stay in a particular area, etc. 

Keep to this street for the time being, or we will get lost again. 

To adhere to.

If we keep to our plan, nothing will go wrong. 

To not talk to or mix with other people

If you keep to yourself all the time, you won’t know anybody or have any friend.

keep up

To keep someone awake.

The furious barking of the neighbour’s dog kept me up the whole night. 

To continue to pay off.

It’s really tough to keep up the monthly payments for the house.   

To continue doing something.

The boss likes to tell me to keep up the good work, but I have not got an increment for two years.

To prevent a high level from falling

The factory is maintaining double shifts to keep up the volume of production.

keep up with

To be equal with someone else’s success or lifestyle.

She’s always trying to keep up with her siblings. 

To be as good as someone else.

He knows he has to work very hard to keep up with the rest of the class. 

To keep abreast of

We only watch the news on television to keep up with what’s goes on in the outside world.

knock around/about

To treat with violence.

This big bully would knock the smaller kids about. 

To travel through different places.

I too would like to knock around the different countries on the Continent. 

To discuss or think carefully about something.

We have been meeting to knock around the idea of starting our own business. 

To be lying somewhere that is not exactly known.

After we bought a new lock, we found the one we were looking for knocking about in the storeroom.

knock back

To swallow a drink quickly.

He knocked back his drink in one go and ordered another one.

To cost a lot.

 We are getting a second-hand car; a new one will knock us back a large sum of money.

knock down

To hit with a vehicle.

The speeding car knocked down a villager’s goat. 

To demolish.

The old building was knocked down to make way for a block of apartments 

To reduce price.

She bought a new dress which was knocked down to nearly half of its original price.

knock off

To stop working or doing something.

My dad can’t knock off work at the same time every day. 

To reduce price by an amount.

The seller knocked off thirty dollars because of a slight dent. 

To steal or imitate.

He knocked off someone else’s invention and claimed it as his own.

knock out

To defeat an opponent in sports.

The underdog knocked out his opponent in the last round. 

To become unconscious.

The tourist was knocked out by a coconut that dropped on his head. 

To cause something to be not working.

The storm knocked out the power lines.

knock over

To be hit by a vehicle.

His dog got knocked over by a car as it ran across the street.

knock together

To assemble.

He knocked together a birdhouse with whatever he could find in the storeroom.

knock up

To wake someone up by knocking at the door.

He doesn’t own an alarm clock, but depends on the landlady to knock him up in the morning.