A Few Confusing Phrasal Verbs

In simple words, a phrasal verb is an idiomatic phrase made up of a verb and another word, normally an adverb, as in break down, or a preposition, as in “see to” or a combination of the two, as in “look down on”. That’s it.

In our current blog post, A Few Confusing Phrasal Verbs, we will be looking at phrasal verbs and their multiple meanings. So without any further due, let us start, the first one is,

Take off

Take off has five meanings. To remove, I took off my jacket, I took off my socks, I took off my shoes.

We also use it while there is an airplane to leave, as in the example, my flight took off a little late. In a business context or when talking about someone’s career like Maria’s singing career took off, my business is taking off, I took off without saying goodbye last night.

Remember, to take off in this way is quite informal, so it is neither rude nor slang, but you would use it in the context of being with friends at a party not necessarily in a business situation. Take off, also mean to have some break, while working or studying as I took some time off from my job because I was so tired. Now, remember it is important to understand whether these phrasal verbs are transitive intransitive separable or inseparable.

Some example sentences with take-off

The plane took off two minutes ago, so two departs to leave the ground. I took off my coat, I took off my hat there, I took off my shoes, the opera singers career was taking off remember though we wouldn’t necessarily say the person is taking off you would say their career or their business is taking off so be a little bit careful with that one, ooh we’ve got one that is more advanced here, we could use take off to mean mimic or parody somebody which is correct like Sabra has a fantastic talent for taking off people, she can take him off well-meaning she mimics him to impersonate him incredibly.

Pass Out

Pass out can mean to faint, to become unconscious because maybe you’re unwell, be careful pass away means to die, do not get these two confused. Pass out can also mean to share something with someone, like in, she passed out the tests at the beginning of the exam, now you could also pass out if you were hit on the head, however, we would usually say that you have been knocked out or knocked unconscious so pass out, there is slightly different to being knocked out to having something hit you on the head to make you unconscious.

Bring Up

Another phrasal verb that is commonly confused with grow up, grow up is active you grow up but to bring up someone means to raise them from a child to an adult basically to care for and educate the child until they are an adult however bring up can also mean to introduce a topic I brought up the subject of the money he owed me and he was not happy there are lots of things you can bring up an idea a suggestion an objection or a problem.

Take Out

Take out means to remove something from a place, for example, I took out, I have got nothing in my pockets, I took out my phone from my handbag, you could take your books out of your bag when you get to school, you could take out some milk from the fridge, it can also mean to borrow, I took out a loan from the bank, I took out some library books I borrowed them, take out can also mean to take somebody somewhere to have dinner to do something usually for a social event, or it could even be romantic as in he took his girlfriend out to the cinema and both had a great time if you take somebody out it usually means that you are paying for them you are paying for their meal their cinema ticket maybe even their drinks.

Take Up

To fill or occupy, so his stuff was taking up so much space in the room my clothes take up all the face in the wardrobe so, my husband says to take it up. It can also mean starting something, usually a hobby or a sport I took up swimming.

Occupy time, space, or attention.

I do not want to take up any more of your time.

Back Up

To back something up can mean to make sure that you have an extra copy so make sure that you back up all your files on Google Drive or the cloud whatever it is. There are loads of options be careful though with back up if you back something up this is the verb the words are separate but if you make a backup so if you change this into a noun then the words are together, there he backed up his car and hit the tree, now if you back someone up then you are giving them moral support you are supporting their opinion or their position giving moral and of course emotional support.

Alize always backs me up, the traffic was backed up for miles, all the work has backed up and I’m having problems getting it finished so to accumulate and cause a delay because there’s just too much of something.

Blow Up

Essentially, most of the time, this word means to explode so the house blew up because of the gas leak but, blow up can also refer to a person becoming angry losing their temper very quickly. He blew up when I told him I could not make it to the party, he got angry, so if a person blows up they do not explode, but they emotionally explode.

Give Away

I gave away some clothes to charity I did not need them anymore to give something away for free to give for free you are not expecting anything in return. There is no payment, but it can also mean to reveal a secret she gave it away and told me everything she told me the secret. I do not want to give the end of the movie away but it is sad often. This phrasal verb is used more in the context of telling people the endings of films or books to give something away to give the story away from the ending.

Put Off

This is a phrasal verb with lots of meanings now first of all per toss it can mean to delay we put off at the meeting until next week because so many people were off sick this week, we put off going to the movies until we had a bit more money so to delay you’re still going to do something but at the moment it’s not the right time, now you cannot be put off by someone or something so here we have a passive form you can also put someone off now for example if you decide to talk about vomit while someone is eating very often it will put them off their meal, and, they won’t want to be eating that anymore you could also be put off by the weather it was raining outside and it put us off going out we thought better stay at home.

Pick Up

He picked me up from the station, she picked up the baby when he was crying, it is quite informal but, it is a nice way of saying that he has learned something I picked up a little Italian while I was living there.

Finally, tell us which ones we missed out and why not share some of your favorite advanced phrasal verbs below, share your phrasal verbs and see if someone else can make sentences with them.

That is all from our current blog post. Keep practicing and keep learning all the time. As there is a great saying,

“As long as you live keep learning how to live.”