ENGLISHEnglish Vocabulary

SSC EXAMS: PHRASAL VERBS

Here is the list of PHRASAL VERBS that a candidate should know if he wants to clear the following exams of the Staff Selection Commission (SSC) or Grade-II DASS Exam of the DSSSB, and other similar exams well:

1. Combined Graduate Level (CGL) Exam Tier-I & Tier-II

2. Combined Higher Secondary (10+2) Exam (CHSL) Tier-I

3. SI in Delhi Police and CPO Exam Paper-I & Paper-II

4. Grade-II DASS Exam conducted by Delhi Staff Subordinate Services (DSSSB)

 

PHRASAL VERBS

A

1. Act upon/on = (1) to take action because of something like information received —- The police were acting upon a tip off. (2) affect —- The enzyme acts upon certain proteins.
2. Account for = explain satisfactorily —- A treasurer must account for the money he spends.
3. Advise against = to recommend not pursuing a particular plan or action —- I would advise against quitting your job if you are not actively pursuing another opportunity.
4. Ask after/for somebody = to ask for information about someone, especially about their health —- Tell your father I was asking after him.
5. Ask for = (1) to provoke a negative reaction —- You’re asking for trouble. (2) request —- I asked for the menu.
6. Ask someone out = to invite someone to come with you to a place such as the cinema or a restaurant, especially as a way of starting a romantic relationship —- She’s asked Raman out to the cinema this evening.
7. Allow for = make provision in advance for, take into account —- The cost of the new road, allowing for inflation, is around Rs 10,00,00,000.
8. Answer someone back = to reply rudely to someone in authority —- Her mother was shocked when she started answering her back and refusing to help.
9. Answer for = be held responsible for a problem —- The government should be made to answer for their failure to sort out the problem.

B

1. Be off = (1) spoiled food —- That bread was off so I threw it out. (2) leave or depart —- They were off right after breakfast, they didn’t want to be late for school.
2. Be on = take medication or drugs —- “Are you on any medication?” the doctor asked the patient.
3. Be in = submitted —- The teacher reminded us that the book reports needed to be in by Friday.
4. Be down = depressed —- After their teams loss, many of the players were really down.
5. Be down with = ill, sick —- I was down with a cold last week and couldn’t finish the report.
6. Be along = arrive —- They said they’d be along after supper sometime.
7. Back away = step or move back slowly (because confronted by some danger or unpleasantness) —- When he saw the dog, he backed away.
8. Back out = withdraw from an agreement —- We made a deal. You can’t back out now!
9. Back somebody up = support morally or verbally —- The headmaster never backed up his staff. If a parent complained about a teacher he assumed that the teacher was in the wrong.
10. Bail out = (1) pay money to secure someone’s release from jail. —- When he was arrested his family refused to bail him out. (2) rescue from financial difficulties —- The government bailed out the bank.
11. Bank on = base your hopes on something/someone —- Don’t forget the date. I’m banking on your help.
12. Bear out = confirm —- This report bears out my theory.
13. Bear up = support bad news bravely, hide feelings of grief —- The news of her death was a great shock to him but he bore up bravely and none of us realized how much he felt it.
14. Beef up = improve or make more substantial —- He beefed up his presentation with diagrams and statistics.
15. Black out = faint; lose consciousness —-When he fell off the horse, he blacked out.
16. Blow out = extinguish (a flame) by blowing —- My mother blew out the candle.
17. Blow up = (1) destroy by explosion —- They blew up the bridges so that the enemy couldn’t follow them. (2) be destroyed by an explosion —- The car blew up but luckily there was nobody in it. (3) fill with air —- The children blew up their balloons and threw them into the air.
18. Bog down = get caught up in something and be unable to make progress —- Try not to get bogged down with unimportant details.
19. Boil down to = be reduced to the main reason or the essential part —- The problem boils down to lack of money.
20. Boot up = start a computer by loading an operating system or program —- Just give me a few minutes to boot up the computer.
21. Break away = escape from captivity —- The horses were enclosed in a paddock but a few of them managed to break away.
22. Break away from = leave and become independent —- He broke away from the organisation and set up his own agency.
23. Break down = (1) go out of order; stop functioning —- Anurag’s car broke down on the way to the airport. (2) lose control of one’s emotions —- The parents broke down when they heard the news.
24. Break in (used without an object) = (1) enter by force —- The burglars broke in through the kitchen window. (THROUGH is a preposition, not an object.). (2) interrupt someone by some sudden remark —-I was telling them about my travels when he broke in with a story of his own.
25. Break into (used with an object) = enter by force —- The burglars disabled the alarm and used a glass cutter to BREAK INTO the house.
26. Break off = (1) terminate (used of agreements or negotiations) —- Ruchi has broken off her engagement to Vipin. (2) = stop talking suddenly, interrupt oneself —- They were in the middle of an argument but broke off when someone came into the room.
27. Break out = start suddenly (used of evils such as wars, epidemics, fires etc.) —- War broke out on 5 July.
28. Break out of = escape by using force from a prison etc. —- They locked him up in a room but he broke out.
29. Break up = (1) disintegrate —- If that ship stays there she will be broken up by the waves. (2) come to an end (marriage, a relationship, etc.) —- Divorce breaks up a lot of families. (3) terminate (used of school terms, meetings, parties etc.) —- The school broke up on 30 June and all the boys went home for the summer holidays.
30. Break free = Detach from a physical hold —- He broke free from his attacker’s grasp.
31. Break through = force a way through something —- The car broke through the barrier set up by the police.
32. Bring someone round = (1) persuade someone to accept a previously opposed suggestion —- After a lot of argument I brought him round to my point of view. (2) restore to consciousness —- She fainted with the pain but a little brandy soon brought her round.
33. Bring about = cause something to happen —- The arrival of electricity in rural areas brought about a huge change.
34. Bring up = (1) educate and train children —- She stopped working for a few years in order to bring up her children. (2) mention something —- His friends knew he had lost his job but they decided not to bring up the subject.
35. Bump into = meet by accident or unexpectedly —- Ratan bumped into his English teacher at the supermarket.
36. Burn down = destroy, or be destroyed completely by fire (used of buildings) —- The hotel burnt down before help came.

C

1. Call at = stop at a place briefly —- The train calls at Kota and Surat on the way to Mumbai. I called at the bank and arranged to transfer some money.
2. Call for = (1) visit a place to collect a person or thing —- I’ll call for you at 9 o’clock. Make sure you’re ready! (2) demand/require —- a) The opposition has called for an investigation into the misuse of public funds. b) You’ve got the job! This calls for a celebration. c) The workers are calling for strike action. d) The relations of the dead men are calling for an inquiry. e) The job calls for excellent computer skills.
3. Call in = (1) make a telephone call to a place —- Jhanvi called in to say that her plane had been delayed and that she would arrive late. (2) ask someone to come and do a job —- There is some mystery about his death; the police have been called in.
4. Call on/upon = formally request or invite —- a) I now call upon the President to address the assembly. b) The president called upon his people to make sacrifices for the good of their country. c) The chairman called on the secretary to read the minutes of the last meeting.
5. Call off = cancel something that is not yet started, or abandon something already in progress —- a) They had to call off the match as the ground was too wet to play on. b) The meeting was called off because of the strike. c) When the fog got thicker the search was called off.
6. Call out = (1) summon someone to leave his house to deal with a situation outside. —- The police couldn’t control the mob so troops were called out. Doctors don’t much like being called out at night. (2) shout something —- The child disappeared from the playground. His mother called out his name but he didn’t answer.
7. Call up = (1) phone someone —- The secretary called up all the area managers to arrange a meeting. (2) summon someone for military service —- My father was called up to active duty as soon as the war broke out.
8. Calm down = become more relaxed or less angry/upset —- He was angry at first, but he eventually calmed down.
9. Carry on = continue —- Sumit carried on gardening in spite of the rain. The doctor told her to carry on with the treatment.
10. Carry out = (1) do something as specified (plan, order, threat, etc.) —- a) He read the instructions but he didn’t carry them out. b) The plan was carried out to perfection. (2) perform or conduct (test, experiment, etc.) —- Tests are carried out to determine the efficiency of a new drug.
11. Catch up with = overtake, but not pass; reach the same stage as someone else —- a) I’ve missed some classes so I’ll have to work hard to catch up with the others. b) I started last in the race but I soon caught up with the others.
12. Check in = register at a hotel or an airport —- For security reasons, you have to check in two hours before your flight.
13. Check out = (1) pay one’s bill and leave (a hotel) —- Is Mr Gupta still at the hotel? No, he checked out this morning. (2) investigate or verify something —- I don’t know if the address is still valid. I’ll check it out.
14. Chip in = contribute to or participate in something done by a group —- Shiv has decided to retire and we’re going to buy him a present. Do you want to chip in?
15. Close down = shut permanently (of a shop or business) —- a) When the factory closed down, the employees lost their jobs. b) Trade was so bad that many small shops closed down.
16. Close in = come nearer, approach from all sides —- As the mist was closing in we decided to stay where we were.
17. Clear away = (1) remove articles, usually in order to make space —- Could you clear away these papers? (2) disperse —- The clouds soon cleared away and it became quite warm.
18. Clear out = empty a cupboard, drawer etc, usually to make room for something else —- I’ll clear out this drawer and you can put your things in it.
19. Clear up = (1) become fine after clouds or rain —- The sky looks a bit cloudy now but I think it will clear up. (2) finish —- I have some letters which I must clear up before I leave tonight. (3) solve a mystery —- In a great many detective stories when the police are baffled an amateur detective comes along and clears up the mystery.
20. Come across/upon = find by chance —-When I was looking for my passport I came across these old photographs.
21. Come along/on = come with me, accompany me. (COME ON is often said to someone who is hesitating or delaying) —- Come on, or we’ll be late.
22. Come away/off = detach itself —-When I picked up the teapot the handle came away/off in my hand.
23. Come down with = become ill with —- The architect planned to attend the inauguration but unfortunately he came down with the flu yesterday.
24. Come forward = present oneself; volunteer —- The police have asked any witnesses to come forward.
25. Come off = (1) succeed, of a plan or scheme —- I’m afraid that scheme of yours won’t come off. It needs more capital than you have. (2) take place; happen as arranged —- When is the wedding coming off?
26. Come out = (1) be revealed, exposed —- They deceived everybody till they quarreled among themselves; then one publicly denounced the others and the whole truth came out. (2) be published (of books) —- Her new novel will be coming out next month.
27. Come round = (1) finally accept a previously opposed suggestion —- Her father at first refused to let her study abroad but he came round to it in the end. (2) come to my/your/his house —- I’ll come round after dinner and tell you the plan.
28. Come up = be mentioned —- The question of the caretaker’s wages came up at the last meeting.
29. Come up against = be faced with or opposed by —- The plan to demolish the old theatre came up against a lot of criticism.
30. Come up with = produce an idea or plan —- Aman came up with a great idea for the party.
31. Consist in = have something as its only feature —- The elegance of the building consists in its simplicity.
32. Consist of = be composed or made up of —- The jury consists of five members.
33. Crop up = appear, arise unexpectedly or by accident —- At first all sorts of difficulties crop up and delayed us. Later we learnt how to anticipate these.
34. Cut down = strike down, cut at the base —- If you cut down all the trees you will ruin the land.
35. Cut down on = reduce in number or size —- The doctor told him to cut down on cigarettes.
36. Cut off = (1) disconnect, discontinue supply —- a) The operator cut off our conversation before we had finished. b) The Company has cut off our electricity supply because we haven’t paid our bill. (2) be separated or isolated —- Our group was cut off from the others so we got lost!.
37. Cut someone off = form a barrier between him and safety —- We were cut off by the tide and had to be rescued by boat.
38. Cut out = omit, leave out —- If you want to get thin you must cut out sugar. I’m going to cut out eating sweet food.

D

1. Die away = become gradually fainter till inaudible —- They waited till the sound of the guard’s footsteps died away.
2. Die down = become gradually calmer and finally disappear —- When the applause died down, she started to sing. When the excitement had died down the shopkeepers took down their shutters and reopened their shops.
3. Die out = become extinct —- Elephants would die out if men could shoot as many as they wished.
4. Dig into = (1) plunge your hands deep inside something, especially to look for something —- He dug into his pocket and found the key. (2) press hard into something —- The strap of her bag dug painfully into her shoulder. (3) start to do something —- It was time to dig into the work that had accumulated on her desk. (4) take from something —- We had to dig into our savings to repair the roof.
5. Dig up = discover or reveal information —- Some newspapers often try to dig up scandalous information.
6. Dish out = distribute or give away a lot —- He spent the day dishing out invitations to tourists.
7. Dispense with = decide to do without something —- They’ve dispensed with the paper version so you’ll have to download it.
8. Do away with = get rid of; abolish —- The government should do away with the regulations restricting drinking hours.
9. Do without = manage without —- The shops are closed so I’m afraid we’ll have to do without  sugar. We had to do without petrol during the fuel crisis.
10. Drag on = last longer than expected —- We expected a short speech but it dragged on and on!
11. Drag out = (1) make something longer than necessary —- Let’s decide quickly and not drag out this discussion. (2) make someone reveal information that they are unwilling to give —- The police finally dragged out a confession from the suspect.
12. Draw up = make a written plan or agreement —- An agreement was drawn up and signed by the two parties.
13. Drift apart = become less and less close —- We were childhood friends but we drifted apart over the years.
14. Drift off = gradually fall asleep —- Once he was on the train he sat back, closed his eyes and drifted off.
15. Drive at = be trying to say —- I’m not sure I understand. What exactly are you driving at?
16. Drop behind = fall into a position behind others —- Our sales have dropped behind those of our competitors.
17. Drop by/in = pay a brief visit, usually on the way somewhere —- I don’t see her often but she promised to drop by one day for a cup of coffee.
18. Drop off = fall asleep —- Granddad often drops off in front of the television.
19. Drop out = withdraw, retire from a scheme or plan —- We planned to hire a coach for the excursion but now so many people have dropped out that it will not be needed.

E

1. Explain away = find an excuse —- How are you going to explain away the missing money?
2. Ease off/up = reduce —- After Diwali, the workload generally eases off/up.
3. Even out = (1) eliminate differences of opinion —- After a long discussion they managed to even out their differences. (2) become level or regular —- The old road was evened out to make it safer.
4. Egg on = encourage someone to do something —- Egged on by his friends, the boy climbed over the wall.
5. Embark on/upon = start or engage in something —- Suman embarked on a career that lead her to fame.
6. End up = finally reach a state, place or action —- If Dev continues his misconduct, he’ll end up in prison.

F

1. Fall apart = break; fall into pieces —- My car is so old it’s falling apart. Their marriage fell apart  after they both lost their jobs.
2. Fade away = disappear, become gradually fainter (usually of sounds) —- The band moved on and the music faded away.
3. Fall back = withdraw, retreat —- As the enemy advanced we fell back.
4. Fall back on = be able to use something in an emergency — We were lucky to have some tinned food to fall back on. We had to fall back on dried milk as fresh milk wasn’t available.
5. Fall behind = slip into the rear through inability to keep up with the others —- As a result of the accident she fell behind at school and had to study harder. At the beginning the whole party kept together but by the end of the day those who were less fit had fallen behind.
6. Fall in with someone’s plans = accept them and agree to co-operate —- We’d better fall in with his suggestion for the sake of peace.
7. Fall off = decrease —- Orders have been falling off lately; we need a new advertising campaign. If the price of seats goes up much more theatre attendances will begin to fall off.
8. Fall out = (1) become loose and drop —- When you grow old your hair starts to fall out. (2) stop being friends because of a disagreement or argument —- Ravina is not speaking to Shweta anymore. They fell out during the school trip.
9. Fall through = fail to materialize of plans —- My plans to go to the USA fell through because the journey turned out to be much more expensive than I had expected. Our planned boat trip fell through because of the storm.
10. Fill in/up forms etc. = complete them —- I had to fill in three forms to get my new passport.
11. Fill in for = temporarily substitute for another person —- Virat Kohli is injured and Yusuf Pathan is going to fill in for him.
12. Find out = discover as a result of conscious effort —- In the end I found out what was wrong with my hi-fi. I’m going to call the cinema to find out what time the film starts.
13. Fit in with = feel comfortable —- He has difficulty making friends. He just doesn’t seem to fit in with the others.
14. Fix up = (1) arrange —- The club has already fixed up several matches for next season. (2) repair or renovate —- They’re going to fix up the house before moving in.
15. Fizzle out = gradually end —- They used to be very close but over the years their friendship fizzled out.
16. Fold in = mix one ingredient with another —- Beat the eggs then fold in the sugar.
17. Freak out = panic or go crazy —- She nearly freaked out when she saw the colour of her hair. It was a disaster!

G

1. Get about/around = (1) move from place to place —- It’s not easy to get around the city without a map. (2) spread, circulate —- The news got about that he had won the first prize in the state lottery and everybody began asking him for money. The news of their separation soon got about.
2. Get along with = be on good terms —-I must say I get along well with my mother-in-law.
3. Get at = imply —- I don’t understand. What exactly are you trying to get at?
4. Get away with = perform some illegal or wrong act without being punished, usually without even being caught —- According to the news report, the robbers got away in a black car. He began forging cheques and at first he got away with it but in the end he was caught and sent to prison.
5. Get by on = manage to cope or have enough to survive —- It’s difficult to get by on a low salary.
6. Get off = (1) leave bus, train, plane —- Your best option would be to get off the bus at Tri Nagar. (2) leave work at the end of the day —- I’ll pick you up after work. What time do you get off?
7. Get off with = be acquitted or receive no punishment —- He was tried for theft but got off with because there wasn’t sufficient evidence against him.
8. Get on = board bus, train, plane —- You can pay when you get on the bus.
9. Get on with = (1) continue to do something; make progress —- How is he getting on at school? He is getting on very well with his English. Be quiet and get on with your homework. (2) Have a good relationship with —- He is a pleasant friendly man who gets on well with nearly everybody. Do you get on well with your colleagues?
10. Get out = (1) escape from, leave an enclosed space —- Don’t worry about the snake. It’s in a box. It can’t get out. News of the Budget got out before it was officially announced. (2) spend some free time out of the house —- Her husband is very ill so she doesn’t get out much.
11. Get out of = (1) free oneself from an obligation or habit —- I said that I’d help him. Now I don’t want to but I can’t get out of it. He says that he smokes too much but he can’t get out of the habit. (2) learn; gain from something —- What are you hoping to get out of the seminar?
12. Get over = recover from illness, distress or mental weakness —- Naseem had the flu but he got over it. He is just getting over a bad heart attack.
13. Get rid of = eliminate —- It’s difficult to get rid of old habits.
14. Get through = (1) finish a piece of work —- He got through his exam all right. (2) get into telephone communication —- I am trying to call London but I can’t get through; I think all the lines are engaged.
15. Give away = (1) give something free of charge —- The artist gave away most of his paintings. (2) reveal something —- The names of the witnesses will not be given away.
16. Give in = accept defeat; surrender —- The authorities refused to give in to the demands of the striking workers. At first he wouldn’t let her drive the car but she was so persuasive that eventually he gave in.
17. Give out = (1) announce verbally —- They gave out the names of the winners. (2) distribute, issue —- The teacher gave out the books. (3) = become exhausted of supplies, etc. —- The champagne gave out long before the end of the party.
18. Give up = (1) abandon an attempt, cease trying to do something —- I tried to climb the wall but after I had failed three times I gave up. A really determined person never gives up/never gives up trying. (2) discontinue a habit, sport, study, occupation —- Have you given up drinking whisky before breakfast? He gave up cigarettes. He tried to learn Urdu but soon got tired of it and gave it up.
19. Give oneself up = surrender —-He was cold and hungry after a week on the run so he gave himself up to the police.
20. Go after = pursue —- She went after her dream and is now an actress.
21. Go along with = agree with; accept —- Nitin tends to go along with anything his wife says.
22. Go away = (1) leave a place —- We decided to go away for a few days. Mohan: Are you going away for your holiday? Sohan: No, I’m staying at home. Please go away; I can’t work unless I am alone. (2) disappear; fade —- I’ve washed it twice but the stain still hasn’t gone away.
23. Go back on = withdraw or break a promise —- He went back on his promise to tell nobody about this.
24. Go by = pass —- A bus went by without stopping. Time goes by so quickly!
25. Go down = (1) be received with approval —- I suggested that she should look for a job but this suggestion did not go down at all well. (2) become less, be reduced of wind, sea, weight, prices etc. —- During her illness her weight went down from 50 kilos to 40. The wind went down and the sea became quite calm.
26. Go down with = become ill with an infectious disease —- The match will be difficult . Half of the team has gone down with the flu.
27. Go for = (1) attack —- The cat went for the dog and chased him out of the hall. (2) try to gain or attain —- He trained hard and went for the gold medal.
28. Go into = investigate thoroughly —- “We shall have to go into this very carefully,” said the detective.
29. Go off = (1) explode —- A bomb went off in a crowded restaurant. As he was cleaning his gun it went off and killed him. (2) be successful (of social occasions) —- The party went off very well. (3) start a journey, leave —- He went off in a great hurry. (4) ring or make a loud noise —- The alarm clock was set to go off at 6 a.m. (5) stop working —- The heating has  gone off. It’s freezing! (6) no longer be good to eat or drink —- The milk has gone off. Don’t drink it. (7) no longer like or enjoy —- My grandmother has gone off Sudoku.
30. Go on = (1) continue a journey —- Go on till you come to the crossroads. (2) continue any action —- Please go on playing; I like it. Go on with the treatment. It is doing you good.
31. Go out = (1) Leave one’s home to attend a social event —- Many young people go out a lot. (2) be extinguished of lights, fires etc. —- The light went out and we were left in the dark.
32. Go over = examine, study or repeat carefully —- He went over the plans again and discovered two very serious mistakes. Please go over your answers before handing in your test.
33. Go through = (1) experience or undergo something —- No one knows what I went through while I was waiting for the verdict. Manish went through a lot of pain after the accident. (2) examine or study carefully —- I need time to go through the contract before I sign it.
34. Go through with = finish, bring to a conclusion —- He went through with his plan although all his friends advised him to abandon it.
35. Go up = burst into flames and be destroyed, explode —- When the fire reached the cargo of chemicals the whole ship went up. Someone dropped a cigarette end into a can of petrol and the whole garage went up in flames.
36. Go together/with = match; look good or combine well with —- The curtains don’t go with the carpet. The curtains and carpet don’t go together.
37. Go without = do without —- I had to go without lunch to finish the report. Camels can go without water for many days.
38. Grow out of = abandon, on becoming older, a childish habit —- He used to tell a lot of lies as a young boy but he grew out of that later on.
39. Grow up = become adult —- “I’m going to be a pop star when I grow up,” said the boy.

H

1. Hand down = pass on (by tradition, inheritance, etc.) —- This legend has been handed down from father to son. My clothes were handed down to me by my older sister.
2. Hand in = give by hand; submit (report, homework) —- I handed in my resignation. Someone handed this parcel in yesterday. All application forms must be handed in before the end of the month.
3. Hand out = distribute —- Samples will be handed out at the end of the demonstration. He was standing at the door of the theatre handing out leaflets.
4. Hand over =give to someone in authority —- The outgoing Minister handed over his department to his successor. The boy was forced to hand over the mobile phone he had stolen.
5. Hand round = give or show to each person present —- The hostess handed round coffee and cakes.
6. Hang on = wait —- Hang on a minute. I’m nearly ready.
7. Hang on to = keep a hold on something —- Be careful. Hang on to that rope and you’ll be ok.
8. Hang out = spend time in a particular place or with a group of friends —- Where does Vikas hang out these days? Who does he hang out with?
9. Hang about/around = wait —- He hung about/around the entrance all day, hoping for a chance to speak to the director.
10. Head off = start to go somewhere —- The group of tourists headed off to the train station.
11. Hit on/upon = find unexpectedly or by inspiration —- As she watched the news she hit upon an idea for her new collection.
12. Hold off = keep at a distance, stay away (used of rain) —- The rain fortunately held off till after the school sports day.
13. Hold up = (1) stop by threats or violence (often in order to rob) —- The terrorists held up the train and kept the passengers as hostages. Masked men held up the cashier and robbed the bank. (2) stop, delay —- The bus was held up because a tree had fallen across the road.

I

1. Idle away = waste time doing nothing much —- She idles away hours every day watching television.
2. Indulge in = (1) to take pleasure in doing something; to do something habitually —- No, I don’t indulge in contact sports anymore. We don’t indulge in strenuous activity. (2) to choose to eat a certain food or drink something, usually alcohol. —- I indulge in chocolate until I can’t hold any more.
3. Iron out = resolve by discussion; eliminate differences —- The meeting tomorrow will be an opportunity to iron out difficulties.
4. Improve on/upon = make better —- The runner trained regularly to improve on his previous performance.
5. Impose on/upon = ask too much of someone —- Is it alright if I stay? I don’t want to impose upon your hospitality.

J

1. Join in = participate in something —- We couldn’t persuade Renuka to join in the game. She was too shy.
2. Join up = (1) engage in, become a member of —- When war was declared he joined up at once. Raman was in the army and Rohit joined up as soon as he left school. (2) meet and unite with —- The two groups of tourists joined up at the hotel.
3. Jot down = take quick notes —- I jotted down the address while watching a documentary on television.

K

1. Keep at = to try to do something in a determined way, despite having problems —- His father encouraged him to keep at his studies.
2. Keep somebody back = force to stay back, prevent from advancing —- Frequent illnesses kept him back. A barrier will be installed to keep back the fans.
3. Keep down = control —- What is the best way to keep down rats?
4. Keep off = refrain from walking on, or from coming too close —- Keep off the grass.
5. Keep on = continue doing something —- I wanted to explain but he kept on talking and didn’t give me a chance to say anything. I told the children to be quiet but they kept on making noise.
6. Keep out = prevent from entering —- My shoes are very old and don’t keep out the water.
7. Keep up = maintain an effort —- He began walking at four miles an hour but he couldn’t keep up that speed and soon began to walk more slowly. It is difficult to keep up a conversation with someone who only says ‘Yes’ and ‘No’.
8. Keep up with = stay at the same level as someone or something —- A runner can’t keep up with a cyclist. The work that the class is doing is too difficult for me. I won’t be able to keep up with them. Abhishek walks so fast it’s difficult to keep up with him.
9. Kneel down = go down on your knees —- Most people kneel down to pray.
10. Kick off = begin —- The hockey match is planned to kick off at 3 p.m.
11. Knock down = strike someone or something to the ground —- The child was knocked down by a car on the way to school. The tree was knocked down during the storm.
12. Knock out = hit someone so hard that he falls unconscious —- The boxer was knocked out in the first round.

L

1. Lay in = provide oneself with a sufficient quantity to last for some time —- She expected a shortage of dried fruit so she laid in a large supply.
2. Lead up to = prepare the way for —- He wanted to borrow my binoculars, but he didn’t say so at once. He led up to it by talking about bird-watching.
3. Leaf through = turn over pages quickly —- Suman leafed through a magazine in the waiting room.
4. Leave off = stop doing something —- He was playing his trumpet but I told him to leave off because the neighbours were complaining about the noise.
5. Leave out = omit; not mention —- Balu’s name was left out of the report so he got no credit for his work. We’ll sing our school song leaving out the last ten verses.
6. Let someone down = disappoint —- He said he’d come to help me; but he let me down. He never turned up. You promised to come to the party, so don’t let me down!
7. Let in = allow to enter, admit —- They let in the ticket-holders.
8. Let someone off = refrain from punishing —- I thought that the magistrate was going to fine me but he let me off.
9. Light up = illuminate —- I watched the floodlights light up the castle. Her face always lights up when she sees her grandson. The screen lights up when you turn on a computer.
10. Live through = experience something and survive —- My grandparents lived through two wars and learned to survive.
11. Live up to = maintain a certain standard —- He had high ideals and tried to live up to them.
12. Look after = take care of —- Will you look after my parrot when I am away?
13. Look ahead = think of the future —- It’s lime you looked ahead and made plans for your retirement. Don’t keep thinking about the past. It’s time to look ahead and plan the future.
14. Look away = turn your head away so as not to see —- The scene was so horrible that I had to look away.
15. Look for = search for, seek —- I have lost my watch. Will you help me to look for it? Meena went shopping to look for an outfit for the wedding.
16. Look forward to = expect with pleasure —-I look forward to seeing you next week-end. I am looking forward to her arrival.
17. Look in = pay a short visit —- I’ll look in this evening to see how she is.
18. Look into = examine or investigate —- There is a mystery about his death and the police are looking into it. Our after-sales service will look into the matter and call you back.
19. Look on = (1) consider —- Most people look on a television set as an essential piece of furniture. (2) be a spectator only, not a participator —- Rajat didn’t take part in the fight. He just looked on. Two men were fighting. The rest were looking on.
20. Look out on (used of windows and houses) = be facing —- His house looks out on to the sea.
21. Look out = be careful; pay attention —- Look out! There’s a car coming.
22. Look over = inspect critically, read again, revise quickly —- The editor will look over the article before it is published. Look over what you’ve written before handing it to the examiner. I’m going to look over a house that I’m thinking of buying.
23. Look through = examine, usually quickly —- I’ll look through my mail to see if I can find your message. Look through your old clothes and see if you have anything to give away.
24. Look up = improve —- Business has been very bad lately but things are beginning to look up now.
25. Look up to = respect, admire —- Schoolboys usually look up to great athletes. He was a wonderful teacher and many students looked up to him.
26. Lose out on = miss or be deprived of something —- I watched the documentary until the end so as not to lose out on anything.
27. Lose out to —- be less successful than another —- Ashwani was called for an interview but he lost out to a candidate who spoke fluent English.

M

1. Make for = move in the direction of; head for —- The escaped prisoner was making for the coast. Let’s make for the exit before the crowd starts to leave.
2. Make fun of = laugh at; make jokes about —- The old lady dresses so strangely that the children  make fun of her.
3. Make off = (1) run away (used of thieves etc.) —- The boys made off when they saw the policemen. (2) have an opinion about something —- What do you make of his latest suggestion?
4. Make off with = steal and hurry away —- A young man made off with my briefcase while I was checking the timetable.
5. Make out = (1) to discover the meaning of, understand, see. hear etc. clearly; be able to hear or read something —- I can’t make out the address, he has written it so badly. Can you hear what the man with the loud-speaker is saying? I can’t make it out at all. I can’t make out why he isn’t here yet. I need glasses!  I can’t make out what’s written on the board. (2) write a cheque —- Please make out the cheque to ABC Company. Clerk: Who shall I make it out to? Employer: Make it out to Harish and Company.
6. Make up = (1) invent excuses, story —-I don’t believe your story at all. I think you are just making it up. Some employees make up excuses when they arrive late for work. (2) prepare a bed for use —- You can stay here tonight. I’ll make up a bed for you in the spare room. (3) form, constitute —- In your opinion what qualities make up his character? (4) use cosmetics —- Most women make up their faces. Actors have to be made up before they appear on stage. (5) put together, compound, compose —- Take this prescription to the chemist’s. They will make it up for you there. The audience was made up of very young children.
7. Make up for = compensate for —- If I work longer the next few days I can make up for the time I was absent. You’ll have to work very hard today to make up for the time you wasted yesterday.
8. Make up (with) = end a quarrel and become friends again —- Isn’t it time you and Charu made up your quarrel?
9. Make up one’s mind = come to a decision —- In the end he made up his mind to go by train.
10. Mark down = reduce the price —- The shirt was marked down by 40%.
11. Miss out on = lose an opportunity to do something — If you leave before Saturday you’ll miss out on the party.
12. Mix up = confuse —- I don’t know the members’ names yet. I tend to mix them up. He mixed up the addresses so that no one got the right letters.
13. Move in = arrive in a new home or office —- You’ve bought a new house? When are you moving in?
14. Move out = leave house/flat etc. with one’s possessions, vacate accommodation —- I have found a new flat. The present tenant is moving out this weekend and I am moving in on Wednesday.
15. Move on/up = advance, go higher —- Normally in schools pupils move up every year.

N

1. Nose about/around = try to discover by searching —- The boss hates people nosing around his desk.
2. Name after = give the same name as another person —- My husband wanted Arun to be named after his grandfather.
3. Narrow down = reduce a list or a number of options —- The list of suspects has been narrowed down to three people.

O

1. Opt out (of) = leave a system or decide not to participate —- I enjoy tennis but I’m so busy I had to opt out of the tournament.
2. Own up = admit or confess something —- The boy owned up. He said he kicked the ball through the window.

P

1. Pass away = die —- She’s terribly upset because her father passed away last week.
2. Pass on = transmit —- Don’t forget to pass on the information to all the members.
3. Pass out = faint; lose consciousness —- She passed out when she received confirmation that the plane had crashed.
4. Pay someone back/out = revenge oneself —- I’ll pay you back for this.
5. Pay up = pay money owed in full —- Unless you pay up I shall tell my solicitor to write to you.
6. Phase in/out = introduce or discontinue something gradually —- The government decided to phase in/out the new regulations.
7. Pick on = choose someone to blame, punish, etc. —- The other children were always picking on Rajesh because of his red hair.
8. Pick out = choose, select, distinguish from a group —- Will you help me pick out a handbag to go with my outfit?” Here are six rings. Pick out the one you like best. I know that you are in this photograph but I can’t pick you out.
9. Pick up = (1) raise or lift a person or thing, usually from the ground or from a table or chair —- He picked up the child and carried him into the house. She scatters toys all aver the floor and I have to pick them up. (2) call for, take with one (in a vehicle) —- I won’t have time to come to your house but I could pick you up at the end of your road. (3) learn —- Sometimes you pick up wonderful bargains in these markets. Children usually pick up foreign languages very quickly.
10. Point out = indicate, show —- As we drove through the city the guide pointed out the most important buildings.
11. Play down = minimise the value or make something appear less important —- The government tried to play down the gravity of the situation.
12. Pop up = arise, occur —- The question of security popped up during the meeting.
13. Pull Down = demolish a building —- Everywhere old buildings are being pulled.
14. Pull off = succeed —- Much to our surprise he pulled off the deal.
15. Pull through = overcome difficulties or illness —- My grandmother caught pneumonia last winter but she pulled through. We thought she was going to die but her own will-power pulled her through.
16. Pull up = stop a vehicles —- A lay-by is a space at the side of a main road, where drivers can pull up if they want a rest.
17. Put aside/by = save for future use —- He puts aside Rs 10,000 a month to pay for his summer holiday. Don’t spend all your salary. Try to put something by each month.
18. Put away = return something to the place where it is usually kept —- Put your toys away, children; it’s bedtime. Please put away the dictionary when you’ve finished using it.
19. Put back = replace; return to its proper place —- Please put the dictionary back on the shelf beside the others.
20. Put down = crush rebellions, movements —- Troops were used to put down the rebellion. (2) write —- Put down his phone number before you forget it.
21. Put forward = (1) propose or recommend something —- The chairman put forward a proposal to move to bigger offices. (2) advance the hands —- In March people in England put their clocks forward/on an hour. When summer time ends they put them back an hour.
22. Put in a claim = make a claim —- He put in a claim for compensation because he had lost his luggage in the train.
23. Put in for a job/a post = apply for it —- They are looking for a lecturer in geography. Why don’t you put in for it?
24. Put off an action = postpone it —- The meeting has been put off until next week because of the strike. I’ll put off my visit to Scotland till the weather is warmer.
25. Put on = (1) turn on/switch on —- Could you put on the light please? (2) wear a garment or piece of clothing —- She put on her glasses and took the letter from my hand. You’d better put on your coat – it’s cold outside today. (3) assume an expression —- He put on an air of indifference, which didn’t deceive anybody for a moment. (4) produce/perform a play —- The students usually put on a play at the end of the year.
26. Put out = extinguish —- Put out the light. It took the fire fighters a long time to put out the fire.
27. Put (yourself) out = go to a lot of trouble; be inconvenienced —- Please don’t put yourself out for us.
28. Put (something) out = leave or place something outside the house —– Don’t forget to put out the dustbin this evening.
29. Put through = connect two people (on the phone) —- Just a moment please. I’ll put  you  through to Mr Gupta.
30. Put up = erect —- He put up a shed in the garden. My father put up a tent in the garden to keep us happy.
31. Put someone up = accommodate; give someone a bed —- We can put you up if you’d like to come for the week-end.
32. Put up with = tolerate —- We had to put up with a lot of noise when the children were at home. I don’t know how you can put up with the noise of all that traffic.

R

1. Reel off = recite without effort or pause —- Kanika amazed everyone by reeling off all the phrasal verbs she had learned.
2. Rely on = depend on; trust —- Don’t worry. You can rely on me.  I can keep a secret.
3. Ring off = end a phone call —- The caller gave his name and then rang off.
4. Ring up = telephone —- I rang up the theatre to book seats for tonight.
5. Ring off = end a telephone call by putting down the receiver —- He rang off before I could ask his name.
6. Round up = drive or bring together —- The sheepdog rounded up the sheep and drove them through the gate. One the day after the riots the police rounded up all suspects.
7. Rub out = erase —- Write it in pencil so that you can rub it out later if you want to change it. The child wrote down the wrong word and then rubbed it out.
8. Rule out = eliminate —- The police are still investigating but they have ruled out political motives.
9. Run away = escape from a place or suddenly leave —- The thief ran away and the policeman ran after him. He ran away from home and got a job in a garage.
10. Run away with = become uncontrollable —- Don’t let your emotions runaway with you. His horse ran away with him and he had a bad fall.
11. Run down = (1) speak ill of —- He is always running down his neighbours. (2) become unwound/discharged (of clocks/batteries etc.) —- This torch is useless; the battery has run down.
12. Run into/Bump into = (1) meet by accident or unexpectedly —- Reshma ran into Sangita at the shopping centre. (2) collide with (of vehicles) —- The car skidded and ran into a lamp-post.
13. Run out of = have none left, having consumed all the supply —- I have run out of milk. Put some lemon in your tea instead.
14. Run over = drive over accidentally —- The drunk man stepped into the road right in front of the oncoming car. The driver couldn’t stop in time and ran over him.
15. Run over = overflow —- He turned on both taps full and left the bathroom. When he came back he found that the water was running over.
16. Run over/through = check or revise quickly —- We’ve got a few minutes before the train goes, so I’ll just run through your instructions again.

S

1. Scale back/scale down = make something smaller than original —- Due to the crisis the company had to scale down the size of the plant.
2. Scrape together/scrape up = manage to collect enough of something you need, usually money —- We finally scraped together enough money to buy an old car.
3. Scrape through = succeed with difficulty —- How I scraped through the exam is still a mystery to me!
4. See about = make inquiries or arrangements —- I must see about getting a room ready for him.
5. See someone off = to accompany one to the point of departure for a trip and say good-bye upon departure —- We went to the train station to see Renu off.
6. See someone off something = to accompany someone who is leaving something; to escort someone away from something —- I saw the elderly lady off the station platform safely.
7. See somebody out = accompany a departing guest to the door of the house —- When guests leave, the host usually sees them out. Don’t bother to come to the door with me. I can see myself out.
8. See over a house/a building = go into every room, examine it often with a view to buying or renting —- I’m definitely interested in the house. I’d like to see over it.
9. See through = discover a hidden attempt to deceive —- She pretended that she loved him but he saw through her, and realized that she was only after his money.
10. Sell off = sell cheaply —- This line is being discontinued so we are selling off the remainder of our stock, that’s why they are so cheap.
11. Sell out = sell all that you have of a certain type of article —- When all the seats for a certain performance have been booked, theatres put a notice saying ‘Sold out’ outside the booking office.
12. Be sent down = be expelled from a university for misconduct —- He behaved so badly in college that he was sent down and never got his degree.
13. Send for = summon —- One of our water pipes has burst. We must send for the plumber. The director sent for me and asked for an explanation.
14. Set in = begin —- Winter has set in early this year.
15. Set off = (1) start a journey —- Early Sunday morning we set off for the skating. (2) start (a series of events) —- That strike set off a series of strikes throughout the country.
16. Set up = (1) achieve, establish (a record) —- He set up a new record for the fastest century. (2) start a new business —- When he married he left his father’s shop and set upon his own.
17. Settle for = accept something not quite satisfactory —- I was hoping for a better proposal but I’ll settle for the amount you offer.
18. Shop around = compare prices —- It’s always wise to shop around before buying anything.
19. Show up = appear; arrive —- We expected Varun to come but he didn’t show up.
20. Show off = (1) want to be admired —- There’s Ravi showing off in his new sports car! (2) display skill, knowledge etc. purely in order to win notice or applause —- He is always picking up very heavy things just to show off his strength.
21. Sign away = give up one’s rights or ownership —- He signed away his property and joined a religious community.
22. Sign in = register (e.g. at a hotel) —- As soon as we’ve signed in we’ll go and get something to eat.
23. Sign out = pay your bill and leave (e.g. a hotel) —- At 9 o’clock he signed out and left for the airport.
24. Sign over = transfer ownership of something —- He signed over the house to his two children.
25. Sign up = (1) enroll in an activity —- She signed up for a computer course. (2) sign an agreement to work for somebody —- Sarita has signed up with a news agency.
26. Single out = select for special attention —- Two of the boys were singled out for extra coaching.
27. Sink in = be fully understood —- In spite of the detailed news reports, it took a while for the scale of the disaster to sink in.
28. Sit back = relax, take no action, do no more work —- I have worked hard all my life and now I’m going to sit back and watch other people working.
29. Sit up = stay out of bed till later than usual —- I was very worried when he didn’t come in and I sat up till 3 a.m. waiting for him. She sat up all night with the sick child.
30. Sleep in = sleep later than usual —- Tomorrow is Saturday, so I can sleep in!
31. Sleep over = stay overnight at someone else’s home —- You’re welcome to sleep over if you don’t want to drive in this weather.
32. Sort out = organise, resolve a problem —- There was a misunderstanding but I sorted it out. Students should sort out  their books at the end of the school year.
33. Speed up = accelerate; go faster —- We need to speed up the registration procedure.
34. Stand by someone = continue to support and help someone —- No matter what happens I’ll stand by you, so don’t be afraid.
35. Stand for = (1) represent, mean —- VAT stands for value added tax. (2) tolerate —- There’s no way I’m going to stand for such bad behaviour!”
36. Stand up for = support or defend someone or something —- His father blamed him, but his mother stood up for him and said that he had acted sensibly. Why don’t you stand up for yourself?
37. Stay up = remain out of bed till later than usual, usually for pleasure —- Children never want to go to bed at the proper time; they always want to stay up late.
38. Step up = increase rate of, increase speed of —- This new machine will step up production.
39. Stick out = (1) come out —- The speaker’s shirt was sticking out from his trousers. (2) become noticeable —- With that dress you’ll really stick out!
40. Stick to = continue without changing anything —- We must decide on a plan of action and stick to it.
41. Stick together = support each other —- Good friends always stick together.
42. Stick with = continue using or doing something —- I’ll stick with this grammar book because it has everything I need.

T

1. Be taken aback = be surprised —- I was taken aback when I saw the bill.
2. Take after = resemble in appearance or character —- Madhu really takes after her father.
3. Take down = write, usually from dictation —- He read out the names and his secretary took them down.
4. Take in = (1) deceive —- At first he took us in by his stories and we tried to help him; but later we learnt that his stories were all lies. (2) allow to stay in one’s home —- The old lady next door is always taking in stray cats and dogs! When our car broke down I knocked on the door of the nearest house. The owner very kindly took us in and gave us a bed for the night. People who live by the sea often take in paying guests during the summer. (3) understand what one sees, hears or reads; realise what is happening —- The man immediately took in the scene and called the police. I was thinking of something else while she was speaking and I didn’t really take in what she was saying.
5. Take off = (1) remove —- He took off his coat when he entered the house and put it on again when he went out. (2) leave the ground (of aeroplanes) —- The plane took off at 7 o’clock.
6. Take on = hire or engage staff —- They’re taking on fifty new workers at the factory. Business is good so the company is taking on extra staff.
7. Take out = (1) remove, extract —- Petrol will take out that stain. The dentist took out two of her teeth. (2) invite someone to dinner, the theatre, cinema, etc. —- Her boyfriend took her out for a meal on her birthday. (3) obtain a service or document (insurance, mortgage, etc.) —- Many homeowners take out a mortgage when they buy  property.
8. Take somebody out = to entertain them (usually at some public place) —- Her small boy is at boarding school quite near here. I take him out every month.
9. Take over = assume responsibility for, or control of (in succession to somebody else) —- We stop work at ten o’clock and the night shift takes over until the following morning. Miss Samita is leaving to get married and Miss Neha will be taking over the class.
10. Take up = (1) fill or occupy space or time —- There’s not much space here. The big table takes up too much room. (2) begin a hobby —- My father took up golf when he retired. (3) —- continue something interrupted —- She took up the story where Bill had left off.
11. Talk over = discuss —- Talk it over with your wife and give me your answer tomorrow.
12. Tear up = rip into pieces —- Tear up the pizza boxes before you put them in the bin.
13. Test out = carry out an experiment —- The theory hasn’t been tested out yet.
14. Think over = consider something fully —- I can’t decide straight away but I’II think over your idea and let you know what I decide. I’ll have to think over your proposal before I decide.
15. Throw up = (1) abandon suddenly —- He suddenly got tired of the job and threw it up. (2) vomit; be sick —- I nearly threw up when I saw the injured passengers.
16. Touch down = land on the runway —- There were no delays. The plane touched down exactly on time.
17. Toy with = think about without serious intent —- I’ve been toying with the idea of walking to work, but it would mean getting up earlier.
18. Trade in = give as part payment for a new article —- I traded in my old car for a new model.
19. Try on = put on or wear something to see if it suits or fits —- I’m not sure about the size. Can I try it on?
20. Turn away = refuse entrance to someone —- The man at the door turned away anybody who hadn’t an invitation card. Tickets were sold out and hundreds of fans were turned away from the football stadium.
21. Turn down = (1) refuse, reject an offer, application, applicant —- It would be silly to turn down a generous offer like that! I applied for the job but they turned me down because I didn’t know English. He was offered Rs 2500 for the picture but he turned it down. (2) lower the volume —- Please turn down the music; it’s too loud.
22. Turn up = (1) raise the volume —- Turn up the gas; it is much too low. (2) arrive; appear —- Her train was delayed so she turned up an hour late at the meeting.
23. Turn off = stop by turning a switch, tap or knob —- Please remember to turn off the lights before you leave.
24. Turn out = (1) produce —- The creamery turns out two hundred tons of butter a week. (2) = evict, empty —- At one time, if tenants didn’t pay their rent the landlord could turn them out. “Turn out your pockets,’ said the detective. (3) assemble, come out into the street (usually in order to welcome somebody) —- The whole town turned out to welcome the winning football team when they came back with the Cup.
25. Turn over = turn something so that the side previously underneath is exposed —- He turned over the stone.

U/V/W

1. Use up = finish a product —- What a nuisance! The kids have  used up all the toothpaste.
2. Vouch for = to support the truth of something —- An accountant  must vouch for the accuracy of any financial report. I’ve known him for years and can vouch for his honesty.
3. Walk out = march out in disgust or indignation —- Some people were so disgusted with the play that they walked out in the middle of the first act.
4. Wash up = wash the plates etc. after a meal —- Who’s going to help me wash up? When we have dinner very late we don’t wash up till the next morning.
5. Ward off = keep away (something dangerous or unpleasant) —- I take plenty of vitamin C in winter to ward off colds.
6. Warm up = (1) reheat something —- She didn’t have time to cook so she warmed up some left-over soup. (2) make more lively or more relaxed —- He told a few jokes to warm up the atmosphere.
7. Water down = (1) dilute or make weaker by adding water —- If you water down the medicine it will be easier to take. (2) make less severe —- He watered down his remarks so as not to offend anyone.
8. Wear away = disappear after use or over time —- The words printed on the cover had worn away.
9. Wear off = disappear gradually —- The effect of the painkiller began to wear off. These glasses may seem uncomfortable at first but that feeling will soon wear off. When her first feeling of shyness had worn off she started to enjoy herself.
10. Wear out = become very tired —- At the end of everyday Julie was worn out. He worked all night and wanted to go on working the next day, but we saw that he was completely worn out and persuaded him to stop.
11. Wind up = (1) bring or come to an end (used of speeches or business proceedings) —- The headmaster wound up by thanking the parents. My brother decided to wind up his business and retire. (2) arrive finally in a place —- After a long drive we finally wound up in a village with a spectacular view.
12. Wipe out = destroy completely —- The epidemic wiped out whole families.
13. Work out = (1) do physical exercise —- Priyanka works out twice a week at the gym club. (2) find a solution or calculate something —- It’s going to be expensive but I haven’t worked out the exact cost yet.
14. Wipe off = clean (board, table) —- The teacher asked one of the children to wipe off the board.
15. Write (something) down = note something on a piece of paper —- I wrote down the address of the hotel.

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Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of www.examscomp.com and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

1. Maha English Grammar (for Competitive Exams)
2. Maha English Practice Sets (for Competitive Exams)

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