Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence


To make or become slower.

The police roadblock had slowed down traffic to a big snarl-up.

slow down

To reduce speed of a vehicle.

I think you should slow down when you approach a bend.


To reduce one’s speed.

We had to slow down as the path began to zigzag steeply uphill.

snap off

To turn off a light.

She stopped reading, snapped off the light and closed her eyes to sleep.

snap on

To turn on a light.

She snapped on the light when she entered the bedroom.

snap out of

To get out of a bad mood.

It’s unlike you to be so irritable; I wish you would snap out of it.

snap up

To quickly acquire something because it is cheap or in short supply.

Hordes of customers snapped up the bargains that were on offer.

speak of

To indicate something exists.

His belief that the law did not apply to him spoke of arrogance.

To indicate something is real.

I have to take this lowly job as I have no paper qualifications – none to speak of.

speak out

To voice protest about an issue.

The students spoke out against fraud and mismanagement in the university.

speak to

To talk to someone who has committed a wrong.

The supervisor wants to speak to the two workers who fought in the canteen.

speak up

To speak loudly.

You are asking me to speak up when I am shouting into the phone.

To speak loudly.

Those at the back will have to speak up.

To speak without fear.

If you feel so strongly about it, you can speak up at the next meeting.

stamp out

To forcibly put an end to something.

The new government is determined to stamp out corruption.

To put out.

He stamped out the dying flame.

stand against

To be a candidate in an election.

The daughter will be standing against her mother in the parliamentary election.

stand around

To stand somewhere and do nothing.

The crowd just stood around waiting for the ambulance to arrive.

stand aside

To give up one’s position

He decided to stand aside and let a younger person take over. 

stand by

To be ready for action if needed.

There is only one ambulance standing by at this moment.

To maintain one’s attitude towards an issue.

She stood by what she said and would not retract her statement.

To not get involved.

How could the world stand by and let this country go through a prolonged civil war?

To remain loyal to or supportive of someone.

Family members and friends stood by him throughout his trial.

To support and defend.

The collective decision has been made and every member has to stand by it.

stand down

To leave the witness box.

The witness stood down after giving oral testimony about the murder.

To resign.

He stepped down as Managing Director in favour of his eldest son.

stand for

To accept someone or something unpleasant with patience.

He is not going to stand for her personal insults much longer.

To represent.

Many people know ‘IOU’ stands for ‘I owe you’.

To publicly support a particular cause or policy.

We have yet to know what the newly-formed party stands for.

stand in

To act as a substitute.

His two assistants stand in for him when he’s on a foreign assignment.

stand out

To be easily noticeable.

Your dyed orange hair will certainly make you stand out in any crowd.

To be clearly better or the best.

Among the applicants, Julia stood out from the rest as the most qualified.

stand out against

To continue opposing or supporting something.

The local people are standing out against the dumping of toxic waste.

stand up

To stand on one’s feet.

He looks taller if he stands up straight.

To stay valid.

The defence believed the charges were fabricated and would not stand up in court.

stand up for

To do something in defence of

You should stand up for your rights as citizens of this country.

stand up to

To strongly defend against.

He wouldn’t dare stand up to his female boss even though he knew he was right.

To remain undamaged or unaffected by.

Can the boat that we built stand up to every weather condition at sea?

start off

To begin doing something.

His father started him off as a management trainee in his company.

To begin by doing something.

He started it off by giving a brief account of how he became a public speaker.

To set forth.

We have to start off early in order to arrive there before dusk.

start on

To begin to deal with something.

The first coat of paint has thoroughly dried; we can now start on the top coat.

start on at

To talk in a critical way.

She started on at me for not helping but only helping to eat.

start out

To begin one’s working life.

He started out as a lance corporal but now he is a sergeant.

start over

To redo from the beginning.

Your summary is full of mistakes; I’ll start over with you.

To set up something.

I think we have to start up a different business; this one is failing.

start up

To organize something.

The residents are starting up a vigilante group to patrol the neighbourhood.

To become operational.

We had to call in the serviceman as the machine wouldn’t start up this morning.