Many two-word phrasal verbs can be used alone as complete sentences or commands in English.

It is important to understand them because they are used so often in English. It is also easy to use them because they are so short! Please note that a few of the expressions below are considered impolite or rude and have been marked as such.

Note: A phrasal verb is a verb plus an adverb and/or preposition. It has a different meaning than when the verb is used alone. There are thousands of phrasal verbs in English, most of which are used as part of a sentence.

Phrasal Verb Meaning
Back away! move backwards, away from something frightening or dangerous
Back off! (slang – rude) stop bothering or threatening someone
Back up! move backwards; step backwards; drive backwards
Bear down! push or press down hard
Bend down! lean over and forward; lean down
Bend over! lean forward from the waist
Breathe in! take a breath in; take air into the lungs
Breathe out! take a breath out; push air out of the lungs
Brighten up! be cheerful; be happier
Buckle down! start working, studying, or doing something else seriously
Buddy up! find a partner
Bugger off! (slang – rude) Go away!
Butt out! (slang ­– rude) don’t interfere
Buzz off! (slang – rude) Go away!
Calm down! relax, don’t be angry, don’t be upset, don’t be worried
Carry on! keep doing what you were doing
Cheer up! be happier; don’t be sad
Chill out! relax; don’t be upset or angry
Clean up! clean yourself or your surroundings
Close down! close a shop or business so it is not operating
Come back! return to where you were
Come down! move down off something high
come south
Come on! (encouraging someone) do what I am telling you to do
(not believing someone) I don’t believe you
(rushing someone) move faster
Come in! enter a closed space
Come out! leave a closed space
Come over! come to my house; come to where I am
Come up! move to a higher place
Cool down! Relax; don’t be upset or angry
Cover up! put on more clothes
Double up! form pairs because space or resources are limited
Dream on! (slang) I don’t think what you have just said will happen
Drink up! finish your drink
Eat up! finish your food
Fess up! (slang) confess / admit what you did; tell the truth about what you did
Finish up! finish what you have been doing
Fuck off! (slang – very, very rude) Go away!
Gather around! make a group and come together in one place
Gear up! get ready to do something
Get away! move away; run away; escape
Get down! come down from a high place
Get in! go inside something, like a car or bus
Get off! go out of something, like a bus or train
Get on! climb on board something moving or about to start moving, like a train
Get out! (slang ­– rude) Leave this place! (used when angry at someone)
Get up! become awake; don’t sleep
Give up! stop doing what you’re doing
give yourself to the police or authorities
Go around! move to where you need to go by passing some obstacle instead of going straight
Go away! leave the place where you are
Go back! return to where you were
Go on! continue what you were saying
Grow up! behave in a mature way; don’t act like a child
Hang on! wait
hold tight
Hang up! end the phone call
Hold on! waithold this tight or you might fall
Hurry up! do whatever you are doing quickly, whether it’s physical or mental
Keep away! stay away; do not go near
Keep out! stay outside; do not enter
Lace up! tie your shoelaces; put on your shoes
Lay off! (slang – rude) stop doing something that bothers someone
Lie down! put your body in a horizontal position; relax on a bed or sofa
Lighten up! cheer up; don’t be so serious or worried
Line up! make or form a line
Listen up! listen carefully
Loosen up! (slang) relax; don’t be so stressed
Move along! keep moving; don’t stop in this spot
Move back! move to a place in the back
Move forward! move to a place in the front
Move on! continue your life; go on with your life
Open up! Open the door!
Perk up! cheer up; don’t be sad
Press on! keep doing what you need to do; don’t give up
Pull back! move backward
Quieten down! stop being noisy
Queue up! Make or form a line
Saddle up! Get ready to ride a horse by putting the saddle on the horse
Scoot over! (slang) move to make space for someone else
Stand up! stand
Shut up! (slang – rude) be quiet; stop talking
Sit down! sit; be seated
Sit up! sit straight in your chair, bed, etc.
Smarten up! become more intelligent and aware of what’s happening around you
Speak up! talk louder
Speed up! move faster
Stand up! stand
Stay away! don’t go near
Straighten up! stand straight; do not bend
Stretch out! lie down comfortably
Sum up! summarize
Take off! leave fast
Tidy up! clean the place; put things in the right places
Turn back! go backwards
Turn over! move your body so that the other side faces up
Wait up! wait for me to catch up with you
Wake up! don’t sleep anymore; become awake
Walk away! leave a difficult situation
Walk out! leave a situation because you do not approve of something
leave someone (leave a relationship)
Watch out! be very careful
Work away! continue working
Write back! reply to a letter or email
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Quiz

Test your understanding of this English lesson

Test your understanding of the English lesson by answering these questions. You will get the answers and your score at the end of the quiz.
If you want a group of people to pay attention to what you are about to tell them, you could say:

If you are angry at someone and want him / her to leave the room, you might say:

To tell someone to wait on the phone while you are checking some information, you could say:

Your friend is very sad because she did not do well on her exam. What could you say to her?

Your friend called at midnight to tell you about some major news he just heard on TV, but he's speaking so fast you can't understand what happened. What do you say to him?

You see your friends walking ahead of you on the street. They can't see you, so you call out to them:

You are about to cross the street when your friend notices that a car is driving fast through the red light. He shouts to you:

Your sister is very upset because she hasn't been able to reach her boyfriend all day. She is imagining all kinds of things. You say:

Your children are taking their time getting dressed and are going to be late for school. You call out:

Wally: You won't believe what happened when I got to work today! It's crazy.
Wally: ...
Barry: Well, ________! I want to know what happened!


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