Common English Phrasal Verbs Part 2

English Phrasal Verbs


  1. If you give up something (or give something up) that is bad for you (for example alcohol, smoking, and eating fatty foods) you stop doing it or having it.
    Examples of use:
    a) Eric gave up smoking two years ago.
    b) We’re trying to lose weight so we’ve given up eating cakes.
    c) He had to give up drinking alcohol because it made him ill.
  2. To give up something (or give something up) is to stop doing a job, or something else you do regularly.
    Example of use:
    He gave up work to look after his children.
  3. To give up something (or give something up) is also to stop doing something because it is too difficult for you to continue.
    Examples of use:
    a) I gave up learning English because I was too busy with work and my family.
    b) He wanted to finish the marathon but he had to give up after ten miles.
  4. To give up is to stop trying to think of the answer to a question or problem, or a joke.
    Examples of use:
    a) I give up. I don’t know the answer. Tell me what it is.
    b) I gave up trying to remember the date of my friend’s birthday, and asked her mother instead.


  1. To grow up is to become older or to become an adult.
    Examples of use:
    a) When I grow up I want to be a doctor.
    b) He grew up in Thailand.
    c) She’s growing up fast.
  2. Grow up is something you say to someone who is behaving in a childish or immature way.
    Examples of use:
    a) You’re being stupid. Why don’t you just grow up?
    b) Oh grow up! I’ve heard enough of your silly jokes.
  1. grown-up (adjective) – When children look or behave in a mature way they are grown-up.
    Example of use:
    She looked very grown-up in her new dress.
  2. grown-up (noun) – a grown-up is an adult. Informal English – usually used by children.
    Example of use:
    He wanted to sit with the grown-ups but he had to look after his brother and sister.


  1. To hang around somewhere is to spend time there doing very little.
    Informal English.
    This phrasal verb can also be hang round and hang about.
    Examples of use:
    a) Will you stop hanging around the kitchen and go and do something useful!
    b) You go on ahead. I’ll hang around here and wait for William to arrive.
    c) I’ve been hanging round all day waiting for the plumber to arrive.
  1. To hang around with someone is to spend time with them
    Informal English.
    This phrasal verb can also be hang round and hang about with somebody.
    Examples of use:
    a) We used to hang around together when we were children.
    b) She hangs around with Alice and Jenny.


  1. To hang up something (or hang something up) means to hang something, especially clothes, on a hanger or hook.
    Examples of use:
    a) Your grandmother is coming to visit today, so don’t forget to hang up your clothes when you tidy your room.
    b) Could you hang my coat up, please?
    c) I’ll hang your coat up in the study.
  2. To hang up also means to end a telephone conversation, especially suddenly or unexpectedly.
    If you hang up you replace the part of the telephone you speak into back onto its normal place on the telephone – however, we also use this expression when referring to ending conversations on mobile phones.

Examples of use:
a) Don’t hang up on me.
b) Don’t buy anything from that company: the lady from their customer service department hung up on me last week.
c) How dare you hang up on me!
d) My girlfriend is angry with me and she keeps hanging up on me.

  1. To be hung up is to be very anxious about something and to spend a lot of time thinking about it.
    Informal English.
    Examples of use:
    a) Many women are hung up about their weight.
    b) There’s no point getting hung up about it; there’s nothing you can do.
  2. A hang-up (noun, informal) is something that a person worries about a lot, or is afraid of.
    Examples of use:
    a) She has a real hang-up about being seen without her make-up on.
    b) He doesn’t have any hang-ups.


When you hurry up you do something more quickly.
Examples of use:
a) Can you hurry up and put your coat on, please?
b) It’s nearly time for bed so hurry up and finish your homework.
c) Hurry up. Our taxi is here.
d) If you don’t hurry up we’ll miss the train.


To join in something is to become involved in an activity with other people.
Examples of use:
a) Your brother is playing football. Why don’t you go and join in?
b) We’re playing cards tomorrow night. Come and join in. Everyone is welcome.
c) Amelia is very shy. She never joins in with the other children’s games.


To live up to is to be as good as someone hopes or expects. If someone or something lives up to people’s expectations, they are as good as they are expected to be.
Examples of use:
a) Our hotel was amazing and lived up to all our expectations.
b) Last night’s concert was good, but I don’t think he lived up to his reputation as a world-class entertainer.
c) Did the Harry Potter movie live up to your expectations? Yes! It was fantastic!
d) I’m not living up to my parents’ dreams: they want me to be a doctor like my father, but I want to be an actor.
e) News headline: Barack Obama’s speech failed to live up to his own high standards.
f) Will the new McLaren Formula 1 car live up to expectations?
g) Will the iPad live up to the hype?
h) You’re not living up to your potential – you should get a job, earn some money and do something with your life.

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