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10 Useful English Business Phrasal Verbs

Let’s look at useful 10 business phrasal verbs!

If you work in the business world in the USA or around those who speak American English, you will more than likely hear these often.


1. Draw up — If someone “draws up” an agreement, a contract, etc it means to actually write the document.

Examples: I will draw up an agreement and email it to you later today.

Jax drew up the contract to present to his boss. (notice drew up is past tense in this case)


2. Burn out — If someone burns out that means they are completely stressed out and exhausted. They aren’t performing well at work anymore.

Examples: Damien finally took his vacation days because he was on the edge of burn out.

If you don’t take a break, you will burn out.


3. Zero in on — it means to focus on something closely.

Examples: In today’s meeting we will zero in on the budget.

Sally zeroed in on the marketing strategy during yesterday’s meeting.


4. Lay off — if an employee is laid off, that means that they have lost their job, but it’s not their fault, it’s usually because of budgeting cuts or the company trying to reduce their number of employees.

Examples: Tina got laid off after working 3 years for the company.

The company needs to lay off 2 employees because of recent budget cuts.


5. Call off — means to cancel.

Today’s meeting got called off because our boss was out of town.

We have to call off the company picnic due to rain.


6. Fill in — for means to do somebody’s job for a short period of time.

Examples: Victor is going to be out of town next week, so Sally can you please fill in for him?

I had to fill in for my boss yesterday because he was sick.


7. Take over — means to take control of something

Examples: From now on Calvin is going to take over the graphic’s department.

I will take over the secretary position.


8. Close down — means to stop operating.

Examples: The company closed down last year because of covid.

If our numbers aren’t up next quarter, we will have to close down the factory.


9. Slack off — means to do something with less effort than you should-you’re not doing the best job.

Examples: Tim slacked off yesterday and wasn’t able to complete his tasks.

There will be no slacking off in the work place if you want to keep your job.


10. Run by — to run something by someone means that you want to tell them your idea, usually for approval.

Examples: It’s a good idea but you better run it by your boss.

I will draw up a proposal and run it by you later today.


The best way to remember phrasal verbs is by writing your own examples and then practicing them! How did you do? Were these new to you?

Thanks for learning with me!

~ Camille


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Camille Hanson

Hi friends! I'm Camille. I create engaging American English content for ESL people around the world. When I am not creating videos, books or blogs, you will probably find me in a cafe somewhere around the world, studying my next target language or at home cooking up food for my family of five. Stick around, read some posts and learn some English with me :) Tchau, ciao! ~Camille
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