Phrasal Verb

Definition: Phrasal verbs are idiomatic expressions, combining verbs and prepositions to make new verbs whose meaning is often not obvious from the dictionary definitions of the individual words. A phrasal verb is also called verb-particle construction, verb phrase, multi-word verb, or compound verb.

For example:

  • "give up" is a phrasal verb that means "stop doing" something, which is very different from "give".
  • look up consult a reference book.
    * Look a word up in a dictionary
  • look for seek
    * Look for her ring
  • look forward anticipate with pleasure
    * Look forward to meeting someone

There are no rules that might explain how phrasal verbs are formed correctly, all you can do is look them up in a good dictionary and study their meanings.


  • Turn down: refuse
    * I thought I could borrow some money from Joe, but when I asked, he turned me down.
  • Pick up: refresh; revitalize.
    * He was feeling a little tired, so he drank a glass of orange juice. It picked him up enough to finish his work.
  • Look up to: respect
    * Everyone looks up to Joyce because she always makes time to help others.

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