Phrasal Verb


Example Sentence

use up

To finish the whole of something.

Someone has used up all my disks.

vouch for

To give personal guarantee of the truth or accuracy of something.

His proposers vouched for his honesty and capability.

wait around

To idle somewhere while waiting for something to happen.

A group of stargazers waited around for the sky to clear; instead, black clouds spread across the sky.

wait behind

To remain somewhere after other people have left.

We waited behind to help clean up after the farewell party broke up.

wait for

To look forward to something.

They waited in vain for the rain to stop.

To look forward to someone.

The fans waited all morning at the airport for the television star to arrive.

wait on

To serve food and drink at a place (e.g. restaurant) where people pay to eat and/or drink.

She waits on customers with utmost courtesy and patience.

wait out

To wait for something to end.

We had drinks and light meals at a café while waiting out the stormy weather.

wait up

To stay up while expecting someone or something to happen.

Sean waits up for her every night.

wash away

To remove by using water.

The police believed the blood stains were washed away by the murderer.

wash down

To make something easier to swallow by drinking water.

I don’t need a lot of water to wash these two tiny pills down.

To wash something with water from top to bottom.

The two of us washed down the spiral staircase this morning.

wash off

To remove something from a surface by cleaning with water.

These stubborn dark stains will not wash off.

wash out

To cause an event to be cancelled or interrupted because of rain.

The match was completely washed out by the unexpected weather.

To remove by washing.

I used the new detergent, but the curry stain wouldn’t wash out.

wash up

To wash after a meal, the items used in serving and eating of the meal.

As we are in a hurry to go, let’s help her wash up the dishes.

To wash one’s hands and face.

The children were told to wash up before they sat down for dinner.

To bring something up on to the shore.

This is not the first time that a carcass of a whale is washed up the beach.

watch for

To look out for something.

Watch for the sign that points down to the lane leading to the waterfall.

watch out for

To be careful of something.

While there, you had better watch out for pickpocket.  

watch over

To guard or take care of someone or something.

The woman is watching over her very sick husband in the ward.

work against

To harm one’s chances of success.

Your inability to speak well is likely to work against you when you enter politics.

work at

To make great efforts to achieve something.

I am not very good at writing short stories, but I am working at it.

work into

To blend.

You have to work the cocoa into the eggs.

work off

To get rid of something by doing something else.

He always uses swearing words whenever he tries to work off his anxiety.

To get rid of something by doing something else that is energetic or requires effort.

She took up cycling to work off her excess pounds.

work on

To repair or restore something.

We spent weeks working on the defaced sculpture.

To improve on something.

The participants work on their stamina by doing aerobic exercises.

To persuade.

He has been working on his dad to give him the money for a bicycle.

work out

To plan in detail.

The burglars have worked out a way to sneak into the whisky warehouse.

To calculate.

We have to work out the cost of living in the city before we think of working there.

To amount to a total.

How did the repair bill work out to such a huge amount?

To do physical exercise.

She works out one hour aerobics twice a week.

To solve something.

The researchers still haven’t worked out what caused this new disease.

To develop in a good way.

We hope this new business of ours will work out well successfully.

To understand the reasons for someone’s behavior.

We couldn’t work out why he reacted in that way.

To become successful.

It all worked out in the end in spite of all the difficulties.

work up

To develop a physical state through an activity or effort.

I certainly worked up a big appetite after a marathon jog.

To rouse the strong feeling of someone.

Being strongly suspicious of her husband, she has worked herself up into extreme jealousy.

work up to

To gradually prepare oneself for something difficult.

He hasn’t the courage to dive from the top diving board, but he is working up to it.

write back

To reply to a letter.

I’ve written her ten letters in the past weeks, but she has not written back.

write down

To put down in writing.

You don’t have a good memory, so you’d better write down whenever you need to.

To reduce the value, price, etc. of something such as items of stock or goods

The value of the machinery was significantly written down in the latest estimation.

write in

To write to express an opinion or request for information.

Hundreds of viewers wrote in to complain after the show.  

write into

To include something in a document.

The other party was disputing about something that was not written into the contract.

write off

To fail to recover a debt and cancel it as a bad debt.

The bank was forced to write off some of the loans when the borrowers couldn’t be found.

To acknowledge an asset has no value.

They had to write off some of the machinery after they were destroyed in the fire.

To be damaged beyond repair.

His car badly damaged in an accident had to be written off.

To regard someone or something as not going to be successful.

You shouldn’t write yourself off as a good writer so quickly.

write out

To express in writing.

He couldn’t speak due to a bad sore throat, so he wrote it out instead.

To give information (on a document).

She wrote out a cheque for fifty pounds.

write up

To give an account of something in writing.

Every one of us had to write up a report on our individual findings for the meeting.

yield to

To submit to pressure or demands.

The victim’s family yielded to the kidnappers’ demand despite the huge ransom.