Lesson 23
Learning the phrasal verbs

The first reason why you might understand all the words in a sentence and yet not understand its meaning is called “phrasal verbs”.

What are phrasal verbs?

Phrasal verbs are formed by a verb + preposition or adverbial particle.

A preposition is a word that affects a noun (thing) and an adverbial particle is a word that affects a verb. 

You’ll understand better with an example.

Suppose I’m on the ground floor (bajo) and I say to someone who is upstairs (arriba):

  • Please, bring down the chairs. Por favor, baja las sillas.

In this case, "down" is a preposition that affects the noun "chairs" indicating the direction where you have to take the chairs. 

However, when "down" is an adverbial particle, the same combination of words has a completely different meaning. It means “abatir”, “hundir”. (American phrasal verb)

  • Do not say that to him. You'll bring him down. No le digas eso, le hundirás.

Note: In this case we don’t have a noun, thus "down" is an adverbial particle that affects the verb "bring" (bring)


How do you know what the meaning of "bring down" is in each case?

This is precisely why it is difficult to learn the phrasal verbs. You have to learn the contextual meaning.

I will give one more example to illustrate this difficulty.

The word "make" means "hacer" (especially in the sense of "fabricar" o "hacer con las manos").

Now if we add "up", the meaning changes completely.

The word "make up" not only means "maquillaje" but also "inventar” y “reconciliarse”.

Obviously, if you have not learned the other meanings of "make up" it is impossible for you to be able to infer them from the context. You just have to know them.


When is the preposition or adverbial particle separable and when not?

This is not an easy question to answer because you first need to have a few concepts clear in order to understand how and when phrasal verbs are separable or inseparable.

But even if you understand these concepts, you are most likely to forget them at the time of speaking so they won’t be of much use.

Therefore, my advice is that you learn the phrasal verbs just by listening to them and forget about the rules.

In any case, for all of you who want an explanation, here it is.

  1. Phrasal verbs can be transitive or intransitive
  1. Intransitive phrasal verbs (the ones that cannot take an object) are inseparable.
  2. Transitive phrasal verbs can be either separable or inseparable.


Example of a transitive phrasal verb that is separable.

Close down: cerrar un negocio permanentemente

  • They closed down the business.
  • They closed the business (object) down.

When transitive phrasal verbs are separable the object can be placed between the verb and the preposition or after the preposition.

Verb - object - preposition
Verb - preposition - object

Example of a transitive phrasal verb that is inseparable.

Account for: Dar una explicación

  • I think he can account for the broken window. Creo que él puede explicar porqué se rompió la ventana.
  • I think he can account the broken window for.


  1. As I mentioned before, separable transitive phrasal verbs can take objects after the preposition or in between the verb and the preposition. However, when the object is a pronoun (him, her, it, them, etc.) it must always go in between the verb and the preposition.


  • I’ll turn off the radio. Apagaré la radio.
    • I’ll turn the radio off.
    • Please, pick up that paper. Por favor, recoge ese papel.
    • I’ll pick her up. La recogeré. Note: “her” is the pronoun.
    • I’ll pick up her.

    Phrasal verbs and their equivalent formal verbs

    Many “Phrasal verbs" have an equivalent formal verb. For example, the formal equivalent verb of the "phrasal verb" "make up" is "to invent". This is because phrasal verbs mostly denote an informal setting.

    Here are some examples of phrasal verbs and their equivalent formal verbs.

    Phrasal verb

    Formal verb


    Blow up


    They blew up the building with dynamite. Hicieron explotar el edificio con dinamita.

    Call off


    They called off the meeting because the president had to solve an urgent matter. Ellos cancelaron la reunión porque el presidente tenía un asunto urgente que resolver.

    Drop off


    I’ll drop off the boxes tomorrow. Entregaré las cajas mañana.

    Hand out


    Please, hand out the brochure. Por favor, distribuye el folleto.

    As you can see, formal verbs are much easier to remember than phrasal verbs because they usually have a latin origin. Unfortunately, phrasal verbs are much more common in spoken English than formal verbs. Therefore, you need to learn them to become fluent.


    How to learn phrasal verbs

    You cannot learn phrasal verbs by simply reading a list.

    In order to really get their meaning, you’ll have to listen to them many times in different contexts, say them aloud and use them in conversations whenever you can.

    In view of this, I have prepared a list of common phrasal verbs and a list of recommended activities that you can do to start learning them.

    One important tip before you start: Don’t get overwhelmed by trying to learn many phrasal verbs at once. Just take 2 or 3 of them from the list and try to learn them in a week, for example.


    Common Phrasal verbs

    Phrasal verb






    Add up

    æd ʌp

    Ad ap

    Tener sentido

    Her version of the story doesn’t add up. Su versión de la historia no tiene sentido.

    Add up to

    æd ʌp tuː

    Ap ap tu

    Sumar, igual a

    Everthing you bought adds up to 100 euros. Todo lo que compraste suma 100 euros.

    Account for

    əˈkaʊnt fɔː

    Ákaunt for

    Dar una explicación

    We hope you can account for the missing documents. Esperamos que puedas explicarnos (que ocurrió) con los documentos extraviados.

    Allow for

    əˈlaʊ fɔː

    Alau for

    Contemplar, admitir

    You have to allow for some changes if you want to succeed. Tienes que admitir ciertos cambios si quieres triunfar.

    Agree with

    əˈɡriː wɪð


    Estar de acuerdo

    I don’t agree with what he says. No estoy de acuerdo con lo que él dice.

    Apply for

    əˈplaɪ fɔː

    Aplai for


    He applied for a scholarship. Él solicitó una beca.

    Ask for

    ɑːsk fɔː

    Ask for


    Why don’t you ask for it? ¿Por qué no lo pides?

    Ask someone out

    ɑːsk ˈsʌmwʌn aʊt

    Ask samwuan aut

    Invitar a salir (para iniciar una relación sentimental)

    He asked me out for dinner. Él me invitó a cenar.

    Ask someone over

    ɑːsk ˈsʌmwʌn ˈəʊvə

    Ask samwuan over

    Invitar a alguien a casa

    I want to ask the Johnson’s over for dinner. Quiero invitar a cenar (a casa) a los Johnson.

    Back down

    ˈbæk daʊn

    Bak daun

    Echarse para atrás en una decisión (generalmente porque genera controversia), claudicar

    Society must not back down in the fight against terrorism. La sociedad no debe claudicar en la lucha contra el terrorismo.

    Back off (from)

    ˈbæk ɒf frɒm

    Bak of

    Retirarse, evitar

    Learn to back off from negative people. Aprende a evitar a la gente negativa.

    Back out (of/from/into)

    ˈbæk aʊt əv frəm ˈɪntə

    Bak aut

    Echarse para atrás (generalmente porque se cambia de opinión) eludir

    He backed out of his responsibility as a father. Él eludió su responsabilidad como padre.

    Back something up

    ˈbæk ˈsʌmθɪŋ ʌp

    Bak ap


    Back up your car please, you can’t enter this street. Por favor, retroceda (con el coche), no puede entrar en esta calle.

    Back someone up on/over

    ˈbæk ˈsʌmwʌn ʌp ɒn ˈəʊvə |

    Bak ap on/ over


    My parents didn’t back me up on my decision to leave the school. Mis padres no apoyaron en mi decisión de dejar la escuela.

    Be back

    bi ˈbæk |

    Bi bak


    Do you know when he will be back? ¿Sabes cuándo (él) volverá?

    Be about to

    bi əˈbaʊt tuː |

    Bi abaut tu

    Estar a punto de

    I’m about to leave, so I’ll call you later. Estoy a punto de marcharme así que te llamaré más tarde.

    Be away (from)

    bi əˈweɪ frɒm

    Bi owuei from

    Estar lejos (de)

    He’ll be away from home a couple of months. Estará lejos de casa un par de meses.

    Be out of

    bi aʊt ɒv

    Bi aut of

    Quedarse sin algo

    We are out of petrol/gas. We must go to the nearest petrol station/gas station. Nos quedamos sin gasolina. Debemos ir a la gasolinera más próxima.

    Be over

    bi ˈəʊvə

    Bi over


    This will be over soon. Esto acabará pronto.

    Be up to

    bi ʌp tuː

    Bi ap tu

    Estar haciendo, estar involucrado en

    What are you up to? ¿Qué estás haciendo?

    Be up to someone

    bi ʌp tuː

    Bi ap tu

    Depender de alguien

    If you want to stay or go, that’s up to you. Si quieres quedarte o marcharte, eso depende de ti.

    Bear down on

    beər daʊn ɒn

    ber daun on

    Tomar estrictas medidas contra algo

    The Government is bearing down on paedophiles. El Gobierno está tomando estrictas medidas contra los pederastas.

    Bear on

    beər ɒn

    ber on

    Tener que ver con

    The documents we found might bear on the project she is doing. Los documentos que encontramos puede que guarden relación con el proyecto que ella está haciendo.

    Bear up

    beər ʌp

    ber ap

    Sobrellevar, ir tirando

    She is bearing up well despite the criticism of the press. Ella lo está llevando bien a pesar de las críticas de la prensa.

    Bear with

    beər wɪð

    ber wuiz

    Ser paciente, soportar

    You’ll have to bear with her until she finds new friends. Tendrás que soportarla hasta que encuentre nuevos amigos.

    Blow in

    bləʊ ɪn

    Blou in

    Visitar inesperadamente

    He blew in last Saturday and we had to prepare a quick dinner for him. Él se presentó de visita inesperadamente el pasado sábado y tuvimos que prepararle una cena rápida.

    Blow over

    bləʊ ˈəʊvə

    Blou over

    Pasar sin crear problemas

    Don’t worry, all her complaints will blow over in a couple of weeks. No te preocupes, todas sus quejas desaparecerán sin consecuencias en un par de semanas.

    Blow up

    bləʊ ʌp

    Blou ap


    They blew up the building with dynamite. Hicieron estallar el edificio con dinamita.

    Blow up

    bləʊ ʌp

    Blou ap

    Enfadarse repentinamente

    He blew up when I told him that I couldn’t get his shoes. Él se enfadó repentinamente cuando le dije que no pude comprar sus zapatos.

    Break down

    breɪk daʊn

    Breik daun


    We must break down those numbers to find out why we’re losing money. Debemos deglosar esos números para saber porqué perdemos dinero.

    Break down

    breɪk daʊn

    Breik daun

    Romperse, averiarse una máquina

    My car broke down when I was driving home yesterday. Mi coche se averió ayer cuando iba conduciendo a casa.

    Break down (in tears)

    breɪk daʊn ɪn ˈtɪəz

    Breik daun in tierss

    Venirse abajo, hundirse emocionalmente, llorar desconsoladamente.

    She broke down in tears when they told her that her friend had died. Ella se vino abajo (lloró desconsoladamente) cuando le dijeron que su amigo había muerto.

    Break in

    breɪk ɪn

    Breik in

    Entrar a robar en un lugar

    The thieves broke in while they were away. Los ladrones entraron a robar cuando ellos estaban fuera.

    Break into

    breɪk ˈɪntə

    Brein intu

    Entrar a robar una casa

    They broke into the neighbor’s yesterday. Entraron a robar a los vecinos ayer.

    Break up

    breɪk ʌp

    Breik ap

    Acabar una relación afectiva

    They broke up after they had a big argument. Acabaron su relación después de tener una gran discusión.

    Bring down (Amer. English)

    brɪŋ daʊn

    Bring daun

    Hundir emocionalmente

    Don’t bring him down telling him all kind of sad stories. No le hundas contándole todo tipo de historias tristes.

    Bring up

    brɪŋ ʌp

    Bring ap

    Criar(se), crecer

    He was brought up in New York. Él creció en Nueva York.

    Bring up (a topic)

    brɪŋ ʌp ə ˈtɒpɪk

    Bring ap

    Sacar un tema en una conversación

    He brought up the same old story in our last meeting. Sacó la misma vieja historia en nuestra última reunión.

    Brush up

    brʌʃ ʌp

    Brash ap

    Ponerse al día, repasar, documentarse

    You must brush up your English if you want to go to England. Debes ponerte al día con tu inglés si quieres ir a Inglaterra.

    Burn down

    bɜːn daʊn

    Ver daun

    Destruir prendiendo fuego

    The terrorists burned down the building. Los terroristas destruyeron el edificio quemándolo.

    Buy out

    baɪ aʊt

    bai aut

    Comprar las acciones de una empresa, o las acciones que la otra persona tiene en una empresa

    I’ll buy him out and start a new line of business. Le compraré todas sus acciones y empezaré una nueva línea de negocio.

    Call back

    kɔːl ˈbæk

    Kol bak

    Devolver una llamada, volver a llamar

    I called him back on Thursday but he wasn’t in the office. Lo llamé de vuelta el jueves pero no esaba en la oficina.

    Call off

    kɔːl ɒf

    Kol of


    They called off the meeting because the president was ill. Suspendieron la reunión porque el presidente estaba enfermo.

    Calm down

    kɑːm daʊn

    Kalm daun

    Tranquilizarse, calmarse

    Calm down! Everything is okay. ¡Cálmate! Todo está bien.

    Care for

    keə fɔː

    Ker for


    You’ll have to care for him while I’m away. Tendrás que cuidar de él mientras estoy fuera.

    Care for

    keə fɔː

    Ker for

    Importar, gustar

    I don’t care for expensive clothes. No me gusta la ropa cara.

    Carry on

    ˈkæri ɒn

    Kari on


    I must carry on with my work if I want to finish before 5 o’clock. Debo continuar con mi trabajo si quiero terminar antes de las 5.

    Carry out

    ˈkæri aʊt

    Kari aut

    Completar una acción, llevar a cabo una acción

    He carried out my instructions and the result was perfect. Él llevó a cabo mis instrucciones y el resultado fue perfecto.

    Catch up with

    kætʃ ʌp wɪð

    Katch ap wuiz

    Ponerse al día

    You need to catch up on your homework. Necesitas ponerte al día con los deberes.

    Check in

    tʃek ɪn

    Chek in

    Ingresar en un hospital, entrar en un hotel, hacer la facturación en el aeropuerto

    Yes, the patient checked in on Saturday and he is now in room 236. Sí, el paciente ingresó (en el hospital) el sábado y está ahora en la habitación 236.

    Cheer up

    tʃɪər ʌp

    Chir ap


    They cheered her up telling her jokes. Ellos la animaron contándole chistes.

    Clear out

    klɪər aʊt

    Klir aut

    Evacuar un lugar, salir de un lugar

    Before the hurricane got to Florida, we had to clear out the building. Antes de que viniese el huracán a Florida tuvimos que evacuar el edificio.

    Close down

    kləʊz daʊn

    klouss daun

    Cierre permanente (negocio, local)

    They had to close down because they went broke. Tuvieron que cerrar (para siempre) porque quebraron.

    Come about

    kʌm əˈbaʊt

    Kam abaut

    Ocurrir, pasar

    How did it come about? ¿Cómo ocurrió?

    Come across

    kʌm əˈkrɒs

    Kam akros

    Encontrarse accidentalmente

    They came across a river and they stopped to drink water. Se encontraron accidentalmente con un río y pararon para beber agua.

    Come along

    kʌm əˈlɒŋ

    Kam along


    Please, come along. Por favor, acompañanos.

    Come by

    kʌm baɪ

    Kam bai


    Why don’t you come by? ¿Por qué no nos visitas?

    Come out

    kʌm aʊt

    Kam aut

    Resultar, salir

    How did the meeting come out? ¿Cómo salió la reunión?

    Come over

    kʌm ˈəʊvə

    Kam over

    Visitar a alguien en su casa

    They came over last weekend. Ellos nos visitaron (en nuestra casa) el pasado fin de semana.

    Come up with

    kʌm ʌp wɪð

    Kam ap wuiz

    Ocurrirsele a alguien una idea o plan

    She came up with the greatest idea yesterday. Ayer se le ocurrió a ella una idea genial.

    Disagree with

    ˌdɪsəˈɡriː wɪð

    Disagri wuiz

    Sentar mal la comida

    Sea food disagrees with me. Me sienta mal el marisco.

    Do away with

    də əˈweɪ wɪð

    Do owuei wuiz


    Death penality has been done away with in many Western countries. La pena de muerte ha sido abolida en muchos países occidentales.

    Do without

    də wɪðˈaʊt

    Du wizaut

    Prescindir de

    I don’t know if I can do without my phone. No sé si puedo prescindir de mi teléfono.

    Doze off

    dəʊz ɒf

    Douss ap

    Echar una cabezadita, quedarse frito

    He always dozes off after lunch. Él siempre se queda frito después de la comida.

    Dress up

    dres ʌp

    Dres ap

    Vestir elegantemente

    You need to dress up for the party. Debes vestirte elegantemente para la fiesta.

    Drop out (of)

    drɒp aʊt ɒv

    Drop aut

    Dejar una actividad organizada o la escuela

    He dropped out of school in his last year. Él dejó el colegio en su último año.

    Eat out

    iːt aʊt

    It aut

    Comer fuera de casa

    We are eating out this Friday. Este viernes comemos fuera.

    Fall behind (in)

    fɔːl bɪˈhaɪnd ɪn

    Fol bihaind

    Ir retrasado

    If you don’t finish the project today, we will fall behind. Si no acabas el proyecto hoy, iremos retrasados.

    Figure out

    ˈfɪɡə aʊt

    Resolver, entender

    I can’t figure out why he did that. No puedo entender porqué hizo eso.

    Fill in

    fɪl ɪn

    Fil in

    Completar un formulario

    Please, fill in this document. Por favor, rellene este documento.

    Fill out

    fɪl aʊt

    Fil aut

    Completar un formulario

    You need to fill out this application. Necesitas cumplimentar esta solicitud.

    Find out

    faɪnd aʊt

    Faind aut


    How did they find out it wasn’t true? ¿Cómo descubrieron que no era verdad?

    Get along (with) (Amer)

    ˈɡet əˈlɒŋ wɪð

    Get along wuiz

    Llevarse bien con

    Mary and Paul don’t get along. Mary y Paul no se llevan bien.

    Get by (on)

    ˈɡet baɪ ɒn

    Get bai on

    Sobrevivir sin tener las cosas que necesitas o quieres

    I don’t know how she is getting by with so little money. No sé cómo sobrevive con tan poco dinero.

    Get off

    ˈɡet ɒf

    Get of

    Bajarse de transporte público: tren, autobus

    You must get off at the next stop. Debes bajarte en la próxima estación.

    Get on with

    ˈɡet ɒn wɪð

    Get on wuiz

    Llevarse bien con

    I don’t get on with my sister. No me llevo bien con mi hermana.

    Get on with

    ˈɡet ɒn wɪð

    Get on wuiz

    Apañarse con algo

    How are you getting on with your new job? ¿Qué tal llevas tu nuevo trabajo?

    Get on

    ˈɡet ɒn

    Get on

    Subirse a transporte público, tren, autobús, subirse a un caballo, moto

    Get on the bus, please. Súbete al autobús por favor.

    Get over

    ˈɡet ˈəʊvə

    Get over


    She got over the flu very fast. Ella se recuperó de la gripe muy rápido.

    Give away

    ɡɪv əˈweɪ

    Giv owuei

    Donar, regalar

    They are giving away a television on that show. En ese show regalan una televisión.

    Give in

    ɡɪv ɪn

    Giv in


    When his children ask him something he always gives in at the last moment. Cuando sus hijos le piden algo siempre cede en el último momento.

    Give up

    ɡɪv ʌp

    Renunciar a hacer algo

    He is never going to give up. Él nunca va a renunciar

    Go off

    ɡəʊ ɒf

    Gou of


    The bomb went off at 2.15. La bomba explotó a las 2.15.

    Go on

    ɡəʊ ɒn

    Gou on


    Let’s go on with the reading. Continuemos leyendo.

    Go out

    ɡəʊ aʊt

    Gou aut

    Salir dentro de la misma ciudad

    We are going out tomorrow evening. Saldremos (por la ciudad) mañana por la noche.

    Go away

    ɡəʊ əˈweɪ

    Gou owuei

    Salir a otra ciudad

    Are you going away next weekend? ¿Saldreis (fuera de la ciudad) el próximo fin de semana?

    Grow up

    ɡrəʊ ʌp

    Grou ap

    Crecer, criarse o madurar una persona (no usar con objetos o plantas)

    I grew up in New York. Yo me crié en Nueva York.

    Hand back

    hænd ˈbæk

    Hand bak

    Devolver (generalmente un papel)

    I must hand back these documents to my client. Debo devolver estos documentos a mi cliente.

    Hand in

    hænd ɪn

    Hand in

    Presentar, entregar una cosa

    The papers must be handed in by Friday. Los trabajos deben entregarse el viernes.

    Hand out

    hænd aʊt

    Hand aut

    Distribuir, pasar un documento/papel a un grupo de personas

    I’m going to hand out an application to all of you. Os voy a pasar una solicitud a cada uno de vosotros.

    Hang around

    hæŋ əˈraʊnd

    Hang araund

    Estar o ir a un sitio a divertirse

    Where are we going to hang around tomorrow? ¿Dónde vamos a ir a divertirnos mañana?

    Hang up

    hæŋ ʌp

    Hang ap

    Colgar el teléfono

    She hung up just when I was going to pick the phone. Ella colgó justo cuando yo iba a coger el teléfono.

    Hit on

    hɪt ɒn

    Hut on

    Descubrir por accidente

    Suddenly, I hit on how we could get out of where we were. Repentinamente, descubrí cómo podíamos salir de donde estabámos.

    Hit on

    hɪt ɒn

    Hit on

    Ligar (generalmente en un bar)

    That man is trying to hit on all the women he sees at the bar. Ese hombre está intentado ligar con todas las mujeres que ve en el bar.

    Hold on

    həʊld ɒn

    hould on

    Esperar (generalmente al teléfono)

    Please, hold on. I’ll try to put you through. Por favor, espere. Le intentaré pasar.

    Keep away

    kiːp əˈweɪ

    Kip owuei

    Prohibir la entrada

    Keep away from that door. No se puede entrar por esa puerta.

    Keep on + gerund

    kiːp ɒn

    Kip on


    We have to keep on working on this project. Tenemos que continuar trabajando en este proyecto.

    Keep up

    kiːp ʌp

    Kip ap


    Keep up the good work. Continúa con el buen trabajo.

    Lay off

    leɪ ɒf

    Lei of

    Despedir de forma colectiva

    They laid off half of the staff last month. Despidieron a la mitad del personal el mes pasado.

    Let down

    let daʊn

    Let daun


    Please, don’t let me down. Por favor, no me decepciones.

    Look after

    lʊk ˈɑːftə

    Luk after


    I have to look after my neighbour’s plants. Tengo que cuidar las plantas de mi vecino.

    Look for

    lʊk fɔː

    Luk for


    I’m looking for a new house. Estoy buscando una nueva casa.

    Look forward to

    lʊk ˈfɔːwəd tuː

    Luk forwuard tu

    Esperar algo con ilusión

    I’m looking forward to going on holiday. Espero con ilusión ir de vacaciones.

    Look into

    lʊk ˈɪntə

    Luk intu


    He is going to look into this matter. Él va a investigar este tema.

    Look up (in)

    lʊk ʌp ɪn

    Luk ap

    Buscar en un diccionario o libro

    I must look up all these words in the dictionary. Debo buscar en el diccionario todas estas palabras.

    Make up

    ˈmeɪk ʌp

    Meik ap

    Inventar historias

    Stop making up stories. Deja de inventar historias.

    Make up

    ˈmeɪk ʌp

    Meik ap


    They made up after they broke up. Se reconciliaron después de romper.

    Mix up

    mɪks ʌp

    Miks ap


    I got all mixed up with the numbers. Me confundí totalmente con los números.

    Occur to

    əˈkɜː tuː

    Oker tu


    It didn’t occur to me that that was the reason. No se me ocurrió que esa era la razón.

    Pass away

    pɑːs əˈweɪ

    Pas owuei


    He passed away yesterday. Él murió ayer.

    Pass out

    pɑːs aʊt

    Pas aut


    She was tired and she passed out after standing up too long. Ella estaba cansada y se desmayó después de estar de pie demasiado tiempo.

    Pass on

    pɑːs ɒn

    Pas on


    The man passed on after a very long illness. El hombre murió después de una larga enfermedad.

    Pay back

    peɪ ˈbæk

    Pei bak

    Devolver un préstamo de dinero

    When are you going to pay me back my money? ¿Cuándo me vas a devolver mi dinero?

    Pay off

    peɪ ɒf

    Pei of

    Completar el pago de un crédito/deuda

    I’ll pay off my credit next month. Terminaré de pagar mi crédito el próximo mes.

    Pick up

    pɪk ʌp

    Pik ap

    Recoger algo o a alguien

    Please, pick up that paper. Por favor, recoge ese papel.

    Play down

    pleɪ daʊn

    Plei daun

    Reducir la importancia de algo

    The Government played down the crisis for too long. El Gobierno redujo la importancia de la crisis por demasiado tiempo.

    Pull in

    pʊl ɪn

    Pul in

    Aparcar un vehículo

    The car pulled in on the street. El coche aparcó en la calle.

    Pull out

    pʊl aʊt

    Pul aut

    Iniciar la marcha un vehículo (tren, bus)

    The train pulled out at 5 o’clock. El tren salió a las 5.

    Pull over

    pʊl ˈəʊvə

    Pul over

    Parar un vehículo en una curva o al lado del camino- Parar la policía un vehículo

    Please, pull over said the policeman. Por favor, pare su vehículo.

    Put back

    ˈpʊt ˈbæk

    Put bak

    Poner una cosa en su lugar

    She put the book back on the table. Ella puso otra vez el libro sobre la mesa.

    Put on

    ˈpʊt ɒn

    Put on

    Ponerse ropa

    I’ll put on my coat before I go out. Me pondré el abrigo antes de salir.

    Put out

    ˈpʊt aʊt

    Put on

    Extinguir un fuego

    The firemen put out the fire in two hours. Los bomberos apagaron el fuego en dos horas.

    Rule out

    ruːl aʊt

    Rul aut


    I haven’t ruled out any possibilities. No he descartado ninguna posibilidad.

    Run across

    rʌn əˈkrɒs

    Ran akros

    Encontrar a alguien/algo casualmente

    I ran across my cousin at the cinema. Me encontré con mi primo en el cine.

    Run away (from)

    rʌn əˈweɪ frɒm

    Ran owuei


    He ran away from his family because they didn’t treat him well. Él escapó de su familia porque no le trataban bien.

    Run into

    rʌn ˈɪntə

    Ran intu

    Encontrar a alguien casualmente

    I ran into my friend in the supermarket. Me encontré con mi amigo en el supermercado.

    Run down

    rʌn daʊn

    Ran daun


    The dog was run down by a truck. El perro fue atropellada por el camión.

    Run down

    rʌn daʊn

    Ran daun


    I have to run down those numbers to find out where the problem is. Tengo que rastrear esos números para encontrar dónde está el problema.

    Run over

    rʌn ˈəʊvə

    Ran over


    Be careful when you cross that road, you could get run over. Cuidado cuando cruces ese camino, podrían atropellarte.

    Run out of

    rʌn aʊt

    Quedarse sin

    I ran out of eggs. Me quedé sin huevos.

    See to (something)

    ˈsiː tə ˈ

    Si tu

    Asegurarse de que algo se cumple

    I’ll see to it so that you get home on time. Me ocuparé de eso para que pueda llegar a tiempo en casa.

    Set up

    set ʌp

    Set ap


    We have to set up this computer again. Debemos instalar este ordenador nuevamente.

    Set up

    set ʌp

    Set ap

    Fijar una reunión, cita

    We have to set up a meeting with the new partner. Debemos fijar una reunión con un nuevo socio.

    Set up

    set ʌp

    Set ap

    Acusar falsamente de un crimen

    He was set up by his friend. Su amigo le acusó falsamente.

    Set up

    set ʌp

    Set ap

    Arreglar el inicio de una relación/emparejar

    My mother is trying to set me up with Mary. Mi madré está intentando enrollarme con Mary.

    Show up

    ʃəʊ ʌp

    Shou ap


    He didn’t show up yesterday. No se presentó ayer.

    Show off

    ʃəʊ ɒf

    Shou of


    He is always showing off about his job. Siempre está alardeando sobre su trabajo.

    Stick to

    stɪk tuː

    Stik tu

    Continuar intentando algo

    You must stick to this method if you want to succeed. Debes continuar con este método si quieres tener éxito.

    Take after

    teɪk ˈɑːftə

    Teik after

    Parecerse a un familiar

    Who does he take after? ¿A quién se parece él?

    Take something away

    teɪk ˈ əˈweɪ

    Teik owuei

    Sacar, desprender, quitar

    Please, take away those books from the table. Por favor, quita esos libros de la mesa.

    Take back

    teɪk ˈbæk

    Teik bak


    If you don’t take that back I’ll be very upset. Si no te retractas sobre eso me sentiré muy disgustado.

    Take off

    teɪk ɒf

    Teik of


    The plane took off on time. El avión despegó a la hora.

    Take off

    teɪk ɒf

    Teik of

    Quitarse ropa

    Take off your hat before you go in. Quítate el sombrero antes de entrar.

    Talk someone into

    ˈtɔːk ˈɪntə

    Tok intu

    Convencer a alguien para que haga algo

    She talked me into doing this course. Ella me convenció para que hiciera este curso.

    Talk someone out

    ˈtɔːk ˈ aʊt

    Tok aut

    Convencer a alguien para que no haga algo

    I have to talk him out of going out with that girl. Tengo que convencerlo de que no salga con esa niñar.

    Tear down

    ˈtɪə daʊn

    Tir daun


    They tore down my book because they said it was not well written. Destruyeron mi libro porque dijeron que no estaba bien escrito.

    Tell off

    tel ɒf

    Tel of


    Her mother told her off because she was late for dinner. Su madre la regañó por llegó tarde para cenar.

    Think over

    ˈθɪŋk ˈəʊvə

    Zink over

    Meditar sobre

    I have to think it over before making that decision. Tengo que meditarlo antes de tomar esa decisión.

    Throw away

    ˈθrəʊ əˈweɪ

    Zrou owuei

    Tirar, desprenderse

    I’ll throw away the newspapers. Tiraré los periódicos.

    Throw out

    ˈθrəʊ aʊt

    Zrou aut

    Tirar, desprenderse

    Did you throw out all those boxes? ¿Tiraste todas esas cajas?

    Throw up

    ˈθrəʊ ʌp

    Zrou ap


    He threw up after getting drunk. Vomitó después de emborracharse.

    Try out

    traɪ aʊt

    Trai aut

    Probar, testar un producto

    They tried out the new car yesterday. Probaron el nuevo coche ayer.

    Try on

    traɪ ɒn

    Trai on

    Probarse ropa

    Why don’t you try on this dress? ¿Por qué no te pruebas este vestido?

    Turn on

    tɜːn ɒn

    Tern on


    That music turns her on. Esa música la excita.

    Turn on

    tɜːn ɒn

    Tern on


    Please, turn on the radio. Por favor, enciende la radio.

    Turn off

    tɜːn ɒf

    Tern of


    Please, turn off the television. Por favor, apaga la televisión.

    Turn out

    tɜːn aʊt

    Tern aut


    How did the meeting turn out? ¿Cómo salió la reunión?

    Turn down

    tɜːn daʊn

    Tern daun


    My offer was turned down by the company. Mi oferta fue rechazada por la empresa.

    Turn down

    tɜːn daʊn

    Tern daun

    Bajar el volumen

    He turned down the television because we couldn’t hear the phone. Él bajó el volumen de la televisión porque no podíamos oir el teléfono.

    Turn up

    tɜːn ʌp

    Tern ap

    Subir el volumen

    Can you please turn up the radio?¿Puedes subir el volumen de la radio?

    Use up

    ˈjuːz ʌp

    Yus ap

    Utilizar hasta el final, agotar

    I used up all the flour so we must buy it again. Utilicé toda la harina así que debemos comprarla nuevamente.

    Watch out

    wɒtʃ aʊt

    Wuatch aut

    Tener cuidado

    You’d better watch out with that dog. Más vale que tengas cuidado con ese perro.

    Wear out

    weər aʊt

    Wuear aut

    Gastado, usado, ropa, agotar a una persona

    My coat is totally worn out. Mi abrigo está totalmente gastado.

    Wind up

    waɪnd ʌp

    Wuaind ap

    Dar cuerda a un reloj

    Only old clocks need to be wound up. Solo se necesita dar cuerda a los relojes antiguos.

    To be/get wound up

    tə bi /ɡet wu:nd ʌp

    Tu bi/get wund ap

    Estar nervioso

    He got all wound up when he heard she was coming to the party. Él se puso muy nervioso cuando supo que ella venía a la fiesta.

    Wind up

    waɪnd ʌp

    Wuaind ap


    If you continue spending your money that way, you’ll wind up being very poor. Si continuas gastando tu dinero así acabarás siendo muy pobre.

    Work out

    ˈwɜːk aʊt

    Wuork aut

    Resolver algo

    Let me try to work that out and I’ll get back to you as soon as possible. Déjame intentar resolver eso y me volveré a poner en contacto contigo cuanto antes.

    Work out

    ˈwɜːk aʊt

    Wuork aut

    Hacer ejercicio

    To lose weight you need to eat less and work out. Para perder peso necesitas comer menos y hacer ejercicio.

    Write down

    ˈraɪt daʊn

    Rait daun


    I’ll write down her name otherwise I’ll forget it. Apuntaré su nombre si no lo olvidaré.


    Recommended activities to learn phrasal verbs


    1. Download an app

    The great advantage of apps is that you can take the phrasal verbs anywhere where you can bring your phone so you don’t need to be home to study them. You can be learning phrasal verbs while you’re waiting for the bus, in a queue or walking.

    With this fantastic app http://elblogdelingles.blogspot.com.es/2013/10/aprende-los-phrasal-verbs-con-un.html from Cambridge you can learn at least 96 "phrasal verbs" in a very entertaining way.


    In addition, please check the Phrasal verbs machine also from Cambridge.

    http://www.thephrasalverbsmachine.org/ Both apps are free.

    1. Make up silly stories with them

    This is my favourite technique as it turns out to be one of the most effective ones. Since the vast majority of people have greater ability to retain images than words or sounds, if you imagine silly stories with the phrasal verbs you want to learn, you’ll be able to remember them better. Here is a list of phrasal verbs that you can learn with absurd stories.



    You can make up your own stories using the list as a source of inspiration.


    1. Listen to them

    Without the sound, whatever you learn is of no use so you must learn how to pronounce phrasal verbs.


    Consequently, if you are studying a list of phrasal verbs without sound, try to listen to it in www.fromtexttospeech.com (for sentences)  and Howjsay (for words) http://www.howjsay.com/.


    1. Draw them

    In order to draw a phrasal verb you have to previously visualize it in your head.

    Suppose I want to draw "bring up" (raise a particular topic in a conversation), I have to imagine, for example, a meeting at which a person mentions a topic that surprises others.

    Therefore, I must draw a table with people around looking very surprised when someone is saying something strange. Then you’ll have to add a speech bubble with the phrasal verb "bring up".

    • You can get a notebook and a pencil and start drawing or you can draw online using a program like this http://sketchtoy.com/


    And for inspiration check these sites:

    • Here you have phrasal verbs with pictures to keep inspiring you. http://www.linguahouse.com/es/learning-english/english-phrasal-verbs/

    1. Watch videos

    Many teachers teach phrasal verbs on Youtube. The advantage of learning with videos is that you get the explanation and the sound at the same time. That makes it easier to remember them.

    Here is a complete course on phrasal verbs in Spanish. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ep98gKkwHs&list=UUJRkKFWydp9MVWLaLjM4gQA

    Here is the second part of the course. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HY8p032dWrA

    More videos:

    You can continue checking “Youtube” regularly to find more explanations.


    1. Say them aloud many times

    Choose a sentence with a phrasal verb, paste it on IVONA , listen to it a couple of time and then say it aloud until you learn it by heart (de memoria).


    1. Translate sentences with phrasal verbs

    You can look for sample sentences on this site https://www.englishclub.com/vocabulary/phrasal-verbs-list.htm and then translate them using wordreference and Linguee.


    1. Play with them

    Playing games is one of the most fun and effective ways to learn anything. This is especially true in the case of phrasal verbs that are difficult to memorise. Therefore, I encourage you to learn them using games.

    1. Create songs with them

    For those who like music and singing, singing phrasal verbs can be a very effective way of learning them. By the way, it is surprising the amount of phrasal verbs that appear in the songs.

    Tip: Find the type of music you like so that it is easier to learn them.


    1. Teach them

    According to the experts in learning, this is undoubtedly the most effective method.

    I've mentioned this activity at the very end because you first have to gain some experience learning them.

    Once you've learned at least 10 phrasal verbs well (meaning that you know how to pronounce them and use them in a sentence correctly), you can teach them to a friend, classmate or family member.

    Here's a page that tells you how to teach phrasal verbs: http://busyteacher.org/8138-how-to-teach-phrasal-verbs.html


    Translate the following sentences using phrasal verbs:

    1. Él dejó de estudiar (colegio) a los 15 años porque tenía que trabajar.
    2. Ella me convenció para que comprara este coche.
    3. Yo me puso muy nervioso cuando le vi venir (a él).
    4. El pobre perro fue atropellado por un camión.
    5. ¿Cómo se te ocurrió esa idea?
    6. Yo hago ejercicio dos veces por semana
    7. Por favor, apunta estos nombres en tu cuaderno
    8. Ellos van a probar el nuevo coche
    9. Ellos cancelaron la reunión ayer
    10. He descartado esa posibilidad



    1. He dropped out of school when he was 15 because he had to work.
    2. She talked me into buying this car
    3. I got all wound up when I saw him coming
    4. The poor dog was run over/down by a truck/lorry
    5. How did you come up with that idea?
    6. I work out two times a week
    7. Please, write down these names in your notebook
    8. They are going to try out the new car.
    9. They called off the meeting yesterday
    10. I have ruled out that possibility.


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