Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence

set about

To begin to deal with something.

We set about cleaning up the whole house after the flood.


To start to do something in a determined way.

The police set about gathering evidence in the house where the murder took place.


To attack someone.

The gang set about him with their punches.

set against

To offset something against another.

The increases in our salaries have to be set against the rising cost of living.

To cause someone to be in conflict with another.

The dispute over inheritance has set sibling against sibling.

set apart

To display a quality that separates someone from other people.

It is her diligence in her studies that sets her apart from her siblings.

set aside

To reserve something for a particular purpose.

Every month we set aside a portion of our salaries for the purchase of a house.

To reserve something for a particular purpose.

We set aside an hour each day to do the yoga together.

To declare invalid.

The High Court set aside his conviction.

To reconcile.

We are going to persuade the two sides to set aside their differences.

set back

To delay the progress of something.

The raining season will set back the completion of the building project.

To cost considerably.

The house renovation has set us back quite a bit.

set by

To keep something for future use.

We must set money by in case it is urgently needed sometime in the future.

set down

To record in writing.

I woke up and set down in detail the dream I just had.

To let somebody get out of a vehicle.

The taxi driver set us down at a wrong cinema.

set forth

To begin a journey.

Together, they set forth for an unknown destination.

To express in writing.

She set forth her ideas of controlling human mind in her latest book.

set in

To begin to happen and seem likely to continue.

Global warming has set in and with it more problems will arise.

set off

To cause (bomb) to explode.

A police spokesman said the bomb was set off using a remote control.

To cause (alarm) to go off.

To ensure maximum security, any little noise can set off the alarm.

To begin a journey.

The family is setting off for the Far East.

To cause to happen.

An angry argument between rival fans set off a violent disturbance.

set on

To use an animal or get someone to attack someone else.

He has vicious dogs ready to be set on those who trespass on his property.

set on/upon

To be violently attacked.

He was set upon while walking home alone.

set out

To start a journey.

The brothers set out on a journey across central Asia.

To intend to do something.

Police investigations revealed she deliberately set out to murder her husband’s lover.

To undertake to do something.

They set out as a group to uncover the truth about the haunted castle.

To arrange and display for sale, exhibition, etc.

Every evening along the street, the traders set out their wares for sale.

To aim or attempt to do something.

He set out to break the world’s record of becoming the oldest bullfighter.

To specify precisely about something.

The document set out clear guidelines on the use of chemicals in food production.

set to

To begin doing something in a vigorous and determined way.

We set to and completed the work well before the deadline.

set up

To establish a business, organization, institution, etc.

Jack and Jill have set up a business selling rabbit food.

To establish.

They set up an investment fund to provide money for their retirement.

To be provided with enough money to last one's lifetime.

Owning highly successful businesses has set the father and son up for life.

To give someone the health or energy needed to do something.

A good sleep has set him up for the day of long-distance driving.

To make someone who is innocent seem guilty.

He claimed he was set up when customs officers discovered some drug in his bag.

To lay claim to being a particular person.

He sets himself up as a leading authority on termites.

To erect something.

Following the escape of a prisoner, police set up road blocks round the surrounding area.

To organize and implement something.

The company is setting up a new system of stock control in the new year.

settle down

To start to live a steady life.

She hopes to settle down before the age of 30, and have a family.

To start to live a steady life.

He felt he wasn’t yet ready to settle down.

To become composed.

She settled down for a quiet doze on the sofa.

To adapt.

It didn’t take her long to settle down in her new office environment.

settle for

To accept something that is less than the exact thing that you want.

The dress of her favourite colour is out of stock, and she settled for a blue one.

To accept less than what you really want.

They were prepared to settle for a draw, knowing that their opponent was very difficult to play against.

settle in/into

To become used to a place.

The kids settled happily into their new school.

settle on

To decide or agree on something.

They have not settled on the date for their marriage.

To transfer money or property to someone.

He drew up a will to settle a yearly sum on each of his children.

settle up

To pay money owed or due.

Let’s settle up and leave this bar for supper.

shoot down

To kill or injure someone by firing a gun at them.

The rebels shot down a few villagers who they claimed were government agents.

To bring down something by shooting it.

Our antiaircraft gun shot down six enemy aircraft.

To strongly oppose.

The proposal was unanimously shot down in the meeting.

shoot for

To strive for a goal.

The team is training hard as it shoots for a place in the final stage.

shoot off

To run quickly away.

The rival gang members stopped the fight and shot off when informed that the police were approaching.

shoot out

To shoot at each other.

The bank guards and the armed robbers shot it out in front of the bank.

shoot up

To increase sharply.

Prices of most kinds of baby food have shot up.

To grow quickly in size, height, etc.

Their children have shot up and are now taller than their parents.

To be full of bullet holes.

That the house was severely shot up was clearly evident as its walls were heavily riddled with bullet holes.

To introduce a drug into the body with a hypodermic syringe.

They would often gather together in the abandoned house to shoot up.