Below is a list of some common phrasal verbs used in business. The verbs with an asterisk (*) are separable (the verb can be split by its object).
|to ask around
|to ask many people the same question
|I need a good real estate agent. Could you ask around and see if anyone knows one?
|to back * up
|Thanks for backing me up in the meeting.
|to call * back
|to return a phone call
|We have a bad connection. I’ll call you back in a few minutes.
|to call * off
|Management is going to call the meeting off because so many people are out sick today.
|to check in
|to arrive and register at a hotel or airport
|We checked in around 5 p.m. and then got something to eat.
|to check in (with someone)
|to talk with someone to ensure things are going okay
|As a manager, I feel it’s important to check in with everyone on my team at least once a day.
|to check out
|to leave a hotel
|We checked out a few hours late and had to pay an extra fee.
|to check * out
|to look at carefully, investigate
|I’m not sure why the copier isn’t working. I’ll check it out.
|to chip/pitch in
|We should be able to finish quickly if everyone pitches in.
|to come across
|to find unexpectedly
|I was reading last night and I came across a couple of phrasal verbs I had never seen before.
|to count on
|to rely on
|We have a great team. I can count on everyone to do their best.
|to cut back on
|to consume less
|It’s a tough economy. We’re trying to cut back on unnecessary expenses.
|to cut in
|Can I cut in and say something, please?
|to do * over
|to do again
|I can’t believe I closed the document without saving. Now I’m going to have to do the whole thing over.
|to do away with
|to discard; to put an end to
|They did away with bonuses last year because their profits were so low.
|to drop * off
|to take someone/something somewhere and leave them/it there
|My car was in the shop, so Kevin dropped me off at my house.
|to drop/stop by
|to come without an appointment; to visit briefly
|John dropped by my office to talk about last month’s sales figures.
|to end up
|to eventually reach, do, or decide
|At first I thought I wanted to be an accountant. Then, I studied finance. I ended up getting my degree in management, though.
|to figure * out
|to understand; to find the answer
|I can’t figure out why the printer isn’t working. I’ve tried everything, and it still won’t work.
|to fill * out
|to write information in blanks
|Please fill out these forms and bring them on your first day of work.
|to find out
|to gain knowledge about something
|I just found out how to forward my email from one account to another.
|to get * back
|to receive something that you had before
|It’s a secure area, so you have to leave your cell phone with the guard. You’ll get it back when you exit the building.
|to get back at
|to retaliate; to take revenge on someone
|He might get back at you for asking him so many tough questions during his presentation.
|to get in
|1. to enter
2. to arrive
|1. Get in the car. I’ll give you a ride.
2. I worked late last night and didn’t get in until after 9 p.m.
|to get over
|I was upset that I didn’t get the promotion, but I got over it after a while.
|to get together
|to gather, assemble
|This weekend I’m going to get together with some friends from college.
|to get up
|1. to get out of bed
2. to stand
|1. I get up late on the weekends because I have to get up really early during the week.
2. He got up and walked to the podium to give his speech.
|to give in
|to reluctantly stop fighting or arguing
|Management didn’t want to give in to the union’s demands, but in the end they had no choice.
|to give * up
|to quit a habit or quit doing a certain activity
|I gave up checking Facebook at work. I’m trying to be more productive.
|to give up
|to stop trying
|Just because we failed the first time doesn’t mean we should give up. We just need a new approach.
|to go after
|1. to follow someone
2. to try to achieve something
|1. Pam will give her talk first, and Scott will go after her.
2. If we got their business, they would be our biggest client. I’m really going to go after the account.
|to go against
|to compete; oppose
|We’re going against three or four other contractors. Be sure to bid low.
|to go over
|I want to go over last month’s numbers with you.
|to hand * in
|to submit (a report, a paper, etc)
|I forgot to hand in my expense reports. Now I won’t get reimbursed until next month.
|to hand * out
|to distribute the same thing to a group of people
|I’ll start explaining the changes while Jason hands out a copy of the new policy.
|to hang/hold on
|to wait for a short time (informal)
|Could you hang on for a second? I’ll be right there.
|to keep * up
|to continue doing something
|You’re doing a fantastic job. Keep it up!
|to let * down
|to disappoint; to not help or support
|Our suppliers promised us we’d have the shipment yesterday. We still haven’t received our order. They really let us down.
|to let * in
|to allow to enter
|I forgot my badge again. Hopefully someone else is in the office and can let me in.
|to look * over
|to check; examine
|Could you look over this report to make sure there are no mistakes?
|to look forward to
|to be excited about something in the future
|I’m looking forward to the three-day weekend.
|to look into
|We’re looking into ways to cut costs.
|to look out for
|to be careful, vigilant, and take notice
|You must always look out for new business opportunities.
|to look up to
|to have a lot of respect for someone
|I look up to Madeline. She has been with the company for many years and is extremely knowledgeable.
|to make * up
|1. to invent (a story, lie, excuse, reason, etc.)
2. to compensate for something
|1. I don’t believe their story. I think they made it up.
2. I didn’t get anything accomplished yesterday. I’m going to have to work extra hard today to make up for it.
|to make up
|to resolve an argument or quarrel
|Are they still fighting about that? I thought they had made up a while ago?
|to mix * up
|to confuse two or more things
|I always mix their names up. Which one is Bob, and which one is Brad?
|to not care for
|to not like (formal)
|I don’t care for team building activities. I think they are a waste of time.
|to pass * out
|to give the same thing to many people
|Carly is passing out a schedule of today’s events.
|to pass * up
|to decline (usually something good)
|Don’t pass up on this great opportunity. Place your order today.
|to put * off
|I haven’t done my taxes yet. I’ve been putting it off for a long time.
|to put * together
|How long will it take to put together a proposal?
|to run into
|to encounter someone unexpectedly
|I ran into Stacey from Accounting in the supermarket yesterday.
|to send * back
|The product was defective. We’re sending it back.
|to set * up
|to arrange; organize
|I’ll set up the conference call and send you the invite.
|to shop around
|to compare prices
|We should bid low on this one. They always shop around.
|to sort * out
|to organize or resolve a problem
|There was some confusion with the schedule. No one is sure who is on call this weekend. We’re calling a meeting to sort it out.
|to take * back
|1. to return an item
2. to retract a statement
|1. This product isn’t what I expected. I’m going to take it back to the store.
2. I didn’t mean it. I take it back.
|to think * over
|Honestly, I don’t know what I’m going to do. The job offer is great, but I’m not sure I want to leave my current position. I’ll have to think it over.
|to try * out
|to test or use something experimentally
|We’re going to try it out for a few weeks and let you know what we think. If we like it, we’ll place an order.
|to turn * down
|1. to decrease the volume or strength of something (volume, heat, etc.)
2. to reject an offer
|1. Could you turn your music down so I can take this call?
2. They turned down our proposal.
|to use * up
|to finish the supply
|I can’t believe it’s only May and I’ve already used up all my sick days.