Phrasal Verb Phrasal Verb Meaning Example Sentence
accede to To agree to do something She would not accede to parental pressure to get married.
account for To provide explanation for. Increasing disappearance of icebergs in the Arctic is accounted for by global warming.
agree to To consent. She agreed to meet me only after I’ve apologized to her.
agree with To think the same. I don’t like you but I agree entirely with what you have said.
amount to To be the same as. His decision amounts to an outright refusal.
answer back To react rudely. He was told off for answering her back.
answer for To be responsible for something wrong that one did. David will have to answer for his impoliteness.
attribute to To say something is caused by someone or something else. He attributed his success to his wife’s constant encouragement.

 

 

Phrasal Verb Phrasal Verb Meaning Example Sentence
back away To move away; to withdraw. He backed away when challenged to a fight.
back down To withdraw from a commitment. The government backed down over the issue after widespread protests.
back off To retreat. They told him to back off after he put too much pressure on them.
back out To withdraw from doing something or before it is completed. We were shocked when he backed out of the project at the last minute.
back up To confirm what someone says is true. The witnesses backed up his account of the incident.
blow away To kill by shooting with a gun. They threatened to blow the hostages away if the soldiers attempted a rescue mission.  
blow out To burst. One of our tyres/tire blew out while we were on our way to catch a train.
blow over To become weaker. We waited until the storm blew over before continuing our journey.
blow up To explode; to destroy by explosion of a bomb. A suicide bomber blew up a van carrying soldiers.
boil away To heat until liquid disappears. I overslept and the water boiled away leaving the kettle intensely hot.
boil down to To be the main reason or equivalent of. What his endless arguments boil down to is that he wants others to believe him.
boil over To lose control of one’s temper. The discussion boiled over into a shouting match.
break away To move from or ahead of a group. The leading runner broke away from the pack on the final lap.
break down To fail owing to some reason. After ten years, their marriage broke down irretrievably leading to a divorce.
break in To enter a building forcibly or illegally. He was arrested for trying to break in through the window of a house.  
break into To forcibly enter a building to steal. They broke into a research laboratory and removed all the animals.
break off To give up [a habit].  She found it hard to break herself off biting nails.
To discontinue a relationship. Jack broke off with Jill after only three months.
break out To escape from a place such as a prison. A plan by some prisoners to break out of the prison was foiled by the prison guards.
break through To force oneself through an obstruction. The mod managed to break through the police cordon.
break up To disperse a crowd. The police used tear gas to break up the protest demonstration.
To come to an end. The house-warming party broke up around midnight.
bring about To cause something to happen. Global warming will bring about changes in man’s attitude towards the environment.
bring around/round To make someone regain consciousness. They were trying to bring him around by giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
bring back To reuse something. More and more people are advocating that the death penalty be brought back.
bring down To cause to collapse. Corruption and bribery scandals had brought down the government.
bring forth To produce. A quarrel about money that brought forth tragic deaths.
bring forward To make something happen earlier. The matches have been brought forward to avoid the bad weather.
bring in To invite someone for a purpose. The police had to be brought in to settle a seemingly private dispute.
bring on/upon To make something happen. There are people who bring misfortune upon themselves.
bring out To make a good quality noticeable. Disasters bring out the best in human nature when many volunteer in rescue operations.
bring together To make people come into close association. What brought them together is their common interests.
bring up To care and educate a child. The divorcee brought up her six children single-handedly.
brush aside To be unwilling to consider something. He brushed their suggestions aside, saying they are not practical.
brush off To refuse to give one’s attention to something. The film star brushed off a rumour of his impending divorce.
brush up To resume practicing a skill. I must brush up on my driving before I get a car.
burn away To be destroyed by fire. Fire burnt away the building leaving only the pillars standing.
burn down To be destroyed by fire. By the time the firemen arrived, the fire had burnt the houses down.
burn out To stop burning as there’s nothing left to burn. The fire was too huge to be extinguished and had to be left to burn itself out.
burn up To be destroyed completely by fire. The forest fire burnt up vast tracts of woodland.
buy into To believe wholeheartedly in something. That’s your personal belief; I’m not buying into it.
buy off To bribe. The accused man’s father tried to buy the judge off but was arrested.
buy out To purchase stock, etc in order to gain complete control of a company, etc. He bought out some shareholders and now he has a controlling interest in the business.
buy up To purchase all that is available of something. The dealer bought up a huge quantity of a scarce commodity in anticipation of its price increase.