American English Phrasal Verb Boost - Part 1

Welcome to the American English Phrasal Verb Boost – Part 1. Let’s go over 47 common phrasal verbs with you!

When I talk to English language learners about some of their biggest struggles when it comes to learning English, phrasal verbs are always at the top of the list, so I thought you know what, let’s do some videos and this email series!

I think that phrasal verbs are hard, because they don’t necessarily make sense. You have to memorize them, and there’s over ten thousand of them. That’s crazy right? Don’t worry though! You don’t have to learn all ten thousand of them and little by little you will learn these phrasal verbs and how to use them properly.

First of all, what is a phrasal verb?

phrasal verb diagram

A phrasal verb is a phrase, made up of a verb, and then one or two more words, either a preposition or an adverb.

Let’s start going over some examples.


Ask for

It means request something.

Example: I’m going to ask for a raise at work.

Back down

to withdraw your position in a fight or argument. 

Example: When John wouldn’t back down from his fight on the playground at school, we had to call the principal.

Believe in

It means to feel confident about someone or something

Example: Anna has always believed in herself, and that is why she has been able to succeed in life.

Brush up

It means to practice and review your knowledge or a skill that you haven’t used in a while. 

Example: Levi was going to play guitar for the concert next week, but he felt like he needed to brush up first.

Bump into

When you meet people by accident, or unexpectedly.

Example: Mary bumped into Randy at the grocery store the other day, bump into.

Burn out

When you are so tired of doing something, that you’re left without any more motivation to do that thing.

Example: After working 12-hour days for two months, John felt so burnt out.

Butt in

to interrupt a conversation or activity.

Example: I was trying to talk to my sister on the phone, but my husband kept butting in to our conversation.

Call off

To cancel an event.

Example: Due to coronavirus, Jed had to call off his trip to Africa, call off.

Catch on

To understand or realize something.

Example: After practicing the alphabet with my daughter 10 times, she was finally starting to catch on.

Chicken out

To refrain from doing something because of fear.

Example: Josie wanted to ride the roller coaster, but at the last minute she chickened out.

Clean out

which means to clean out or clear the inside of something.

Example: Every week Helen cleaned out her fridge and freezer.

Come across

the other way people perceive something or someone.

Example: the store clerk came across as very friendly to us.

Come through

When someone or something unexpectedly arrives.

Example: I was hoping dawn would come through for me and help me with my video project.

Count on

It means to rely on someone for support when you need it most.

Example: I knew that when all else failed, I could always count on my parents for their support.

Cover up

To use something to conceal something else.

Example: Ivory broke the vase, but was
lying to try to cover it up.

Crack down

To take more action than usual against wrongdoing.

Example: After his last guest smoked weed in the Airbnb, Calvin decided to crack down on his policies. (That’s a true story.)

Deal with

When you do everything you must do
to solve a problem.

Example: After breaking into the house, the teens had to deal with the consequences.

Do away with

To dispose of something.

Example: The company decided to do away with free snacks, because people were taking advantage of them.

Doze off

To go to sleep unintentionally.

Example: The movie was so boring that Luca dozed off halfway through.

Fall apart

when something breaks all at once.

Example: Jana felt like her life was falling apart after
she lost her job, her boyfriend broke up with her, and she got sick all in the same week.

Feel up to

When you don’t have the energy to do something,
or you have the energy to do something.

Example: Do you guys feel up to playing soccer with us tonight?

Fill up

to completely fill something

Example: Dad filled up the car with gas so we were ready for a road trip.

Flip out

To become mad or lose control.

Example: After the car cut her off on the freeway, Lila started to flip out.

Be sure to do the exercises that accompany this video, to just practice these phrasal verbs over and over, even making your own examples. I hope that you find this video very useful. Stay tuned for part two tomorrow!

Keep learning with my Phrasal Verb Workshop!

Join my Phrasal Verb Workshop!

Use this Special 10% off coupon code just for you!:


Sign up for my English Success E-mails + 10% coupon!
7 days to language success


FREE! 7 days to Language Success E-book