25 Phrasal Verbs You Can Use At Work

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On Tuesday, I went live on our Facebook page to share 25 Phrasal Verbs You Can Use At Work. I shared one phrasal verb for every letter of the alphabet (except for one letter. I didn’t find any phrasal verbs beginning with the letter ‘x’!)

Watch the replay here!

Or listen on SpotifyApple Podcasts or Google Podcasts.

These are the phrasal verbs shared:

1. abide by

to follow a rule, decision, or instruction
They promised to abide by the rules of the contest.

2. back out

to decide not to do something you agreed to do

I promised to help and I’m not backing out now.

back out of: We’re hoping that no one will back out of the deal.

3. carry over

to continue past a certain point

The meeting carried over into the afternoon because there was so much to talk about.

4. decide on

to choose someone or something from a number of possible choices

Thomas spent a long time looking at apartments around the area, but eventually decided on one near his work.

5. embark on/upon

to start a new project or activity, usually one that will be difficult and will take time

After leaving college, Lucy embarked on an acting career.

6. face up to

to accept an unpleasant truth

Many people find it hard to face up to the fact that they are getting old.

7. gear up

to prepare yourself, or to prepare something for an activity or event

The shops are gearing up for the New Year sales.

8. harp on

to keep talking or complaining about something in a way that makes people bored or annoyed

I was late twice last week and my boss keeps harping on about it.

9. iron out

to deal successfully with a disagreement or problem, especially by removing the last remaining difficulties

They’re meeting in KL to iron out the final details of the contract.

10. jazz up

to make something more lively, exciting, or interesting

The show was getting stale so they jazzed it up with some new scenes.

11. knuckle down

to start working hard, especially when you should have done so earlier

It’s time you knuckled down to some work.

12. level with

(level with someone) to be honest with someone

I levelled with him about what happened that night.

13. make do with

to succeed in dealing with a situation by using what is available​/​despite not having something

There’s no coffee, so we’ll have to make do with tea.

14. narrow down

to reduce the number of possibilities or choices

We’re working to narrow down the list of possible suspects.

15. occur to

(occur to someone) if a thought or idea occurs to you, you suddenly and unexpectedly start to think about it

The thought of giving up never occurred to me.

Didn’t it occur to you to help me when you saw how much trouble I was in?

16. pair up

to form a pair, or to make two people form a pair

Two students from each class pair up to produce a short play.

17. quit on

to stop working, associating or being friends with someone, especially when they need support

They quit on me just when things got rough.

to stop working or functioning

My phone has quit on me–can I borrow yours?

18. ramble on

to talk or write about something for a long time in a way that is boring, annoying, or confusing

Quit rambling on–I’m tired of listening to you.

19. scale back

to make something smaller than originally planned

They had to scale back the project because of the costs.

20. trade off

to accept something you don’t really want to get something you do want

We had to trade off space for the location when buying the apartment.

21. usher in

to make an activity or process begin

The talks ushered in a new era of international cooperation.

22. venture forth

to leave somewhere safe or comfortable

If the storm has finished, we could venture forth.

23. weigh in on

to enter an argument or discussion to express a strongly felt idea

She weighed in on their immigration policies.

24. yield to

to surrender

 I tried hard to resist, but in the end I yielded to temptation and ate it all.

25. zero in on

(zero in on someone/something) to start to give all your attention to a particular person or thing

The newspapers have zeroed in on his private life.

After learning these phrasal verbs, try to apply them in your daily conversations or at work. Keep listening and reading in English to learn even more phrasal verbs!

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Hi there!

We’re Azimah, Amnah and Aisya from Malaysia. We created My English Matters as an online platform to help people improve their English.

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