Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence

lie around

To fill a place with an untidy collection of things. 

With all these things lying around in the garage, we just can’t find anything. 


To pass time lying down while not doing anything.

Let’s take a week off and lie around on some secluded beach.

lie about

To leave things not in their proper places.

I shouldn’t have left my keys lying about; now I can’t find them.  

lie behind

To be the real cause although it is not immediately obvious.

No one knew what lay behind their sudden change of decision.

lie back

To change from sitting to lying position.

He lay back in the barber’s chair for a shave.

lie down

To take a sleeping or resting position.

He was told to lie down for the doctor to examine him.

lie in

To remain in bed later than usual. 

I wish I could lie in and did not have to get up so early. 

To reside or be found.

The real cause of the problem lies in the poor construction of the bridge.

lie with

To regard something as being caused by someone else.

The fault lay not with her but with her manager. 

To be decided by.

The choice as to which schools the children should attend lies with their parents.

listen for

To attentively listen for something.

John must listen for her signal before he can respond.

listen in

To watch or listen to a television or radio broadcast.

When the fighting broke out, I listened in to the daily news.

listen in on

To secretly listen to a conversation.

She’s always listening in on her sister’s conversations on the phone.

listen in to

To listen to a broadcast.

They listened in to the news as soon as the fighting broke out.  

listen out for

To listen to something that is anticipated.

Each time there’s an announcement, we listened out for the flight number.  

live in

To reside in the place where one is employed.

He called the police as his butler who lived in suddenly disappeared.

live off

To depend as a source of support.

He regarded living off the welfare as beneath his dignity.

live off (the land)

To depend as a source of food.

Most of the residents in the remote area live off their land.

live on

To continue to exist.

The pain of losing her husband still lives on. 

To continue to exist

The memory of that five-day ordeal at the hands of the hijackers lives on in my mind.

live out

To live the rest of one’s life in a way that one chooses.

He escaped from prison and lived out his life as a free man. 

To not live in the place where one is employed.

The three household servants we employed agreed to live out. 

To spend one’s life in a particular way

His release from prison makes it possible for him to live out a life that he has imagined.  

live through

To experience something dangerous or difficult.

She had lived through the terrifying experience as a hostage held for two months.

live up to

To fulfil what is desired, promised or expected.

She is certainly living up to her reputation as an incorrigible flirt.

live with

To tolerate or endure.

He was often seized by a sudden attack of cramp, which he had learned to live with.

lock away

To lock something in a safe place.

They lost their valuables which were not locked away in a burglary.

lock in

To keep someone in a building or room by locking the door.

She locked her children in and went to a nearby grocery store.

lock onto

By tracking an enemy target after locating it by radar.

Our naval ship locked onto a vessel that had intruded into our waters.

lock out

To not allow someone entry to a place by locking the door.

This is the second time I’ve locked myself out.

lock up

To lock all doors and windows.

As usual, we have to lock up before we leave the office.

To imprison someone

The police recaptured the escaped prisoner and locked him up in the maximum-security prison.

look after

To take care of.

Who is going to look after our dogs, cats and gold fish when we go on vacation? 

To take care of

He left his job to look after his sick wife.

look ahead

To be aware of and prepare for a future event.

We can look ahead to owning a new car if we start saving now.

look around/round:  

To search.

We have been looking around for a toilet. 

To survey goods in a casual way

Let’s look round the antique shops for old coins.

look at

To direct one’s gaze on someone or something.

The officer looked at my passport, and then my smiling face and waved me through.

look back/ (never) looked back

To recall.

Each time I look back at that fateful day, I realize I could have done more to help her. 

To continue to be successful.

After his new business received its first big order, he never looked back.

look back on

To remember a past event.

When I look back on those moments, I realize how unlucky I was.

look down on

To regard someone as of lesser importance.

She looked down on anyone who was a school dropout.

look for

To search for someone or something.

Police are looking for a man with a heavily tattooed face.

look forward to

To anticipate eagerly.

I look forward to seeing my next horror movie.

look in on

To make a short visit.

Every other day we look in on grandpa to see if he needs anything.

look into

To inquire into or investigate.

There was a proposal that management look into the high turnover of staff.

look on/upon

To watch without getting involved 

Only one person helped him, the others just looked on. 

To watch without getting involved 

A large crowd looked on as the two cocks fought bravely. 

To regard in a certain way

We are beginning to look upon him as a close friend.

look out

To search for.

We looked out the attic but couldn’t find the old coffee pot.

look out for

To keep careful watch for possible danger or difficulties.

Look out for pickpocket while you are there. 

To take care.

They promised to look out for each other on the expedition.

look over

To inspect hastily.

I looked the shorts over and decided to buy two pairs.

look through

To look for something among other things.

Police looked through his house and found blood stains.  

To search untidily for something.

We looked through all the drawers, but still couldn’t find the document.

look to

To depend on someone to provide something that is expected, promised or hope for.

They are cheering and looking to the last runner to win the relay.

look up

To improve.

He expects his business to look up in the new year. 

To search for and find a piece of information.

I enjoy enormously looking words up in the dictionary. 

To visit.

I never fail to look her up whenever I am in the vicinity.

look up to

To have considerable respect or admiration for someone.

He is the kind of man most people look up to.