A phrasal verb is simply a combination of a preposition or an adverb and a lexical verb, that is, a lexical verb plus a preposition or adverb is equal to a phrasal verb.
Examiner’s Comments on the Uses of Phrasal Verbs
The word blow in is a combination of verb (blow) and preposition (in) to make a phrasal verb blow in. Apart from the formation of a phrasal verb, it does not also have a literal meaning but a figurative meaning; that is, it cannot be understood from the ordinary meanings of the words that make it. So, a phrasal verb has an idiomatic meaning. For example, the word blow in means arrive or enter a place abruptly. It does not really mean blow. Also, the word take in means deceive or to be pregnant. It does not really mean to take something inside or in. Therefore, a phrasal verb serves as an idiomatic expression as its meaning is non-literal. Let us learn from the phrasal verbs and their meanings below and then consider how they are used in the sentences.
Phrasal verbs Meanings
Back down – to admit that one is wrong
Back out – to fail to fulfill a promise
Back up – to support
Bite back – to caution oneself from expressing something like secret or bad
Blow out – put out my wind
Take off – leave the ground and rise
Give up – abandon the attempt to do something
Give out – come to an end, be exhausted
Give in – allow oneself to be defeated, overcome by somebody or something
Give away – give something free of charge
Give back – return or restore
Take down – write down
Take off – remove
Take in – deceive
Take away – lessen/weaken or diminish
Buy off/over – to bribe
Call off – to cause not to take place
Come through – to become what is expected or to continue to live after something dangerous
Cook up – to formulate lie or falsehood
Fall through – to fail to be completed, come to nothing
Turn up – arrive
Turn off – switch off
Turn out – occur unexpectedly
Turn down – refuse
Make out – manage to read and see
Make away with oneself – commit suicide
Make away with something – steal
Break up – come to an end
Look out – be on the watch
Cut out – stop functioning
Put up with – tolerate
Set in – start
Set up – establish oneself in business
Set out – leave a place and begin a journey
Come up – occur, arise
Kick-off – start the game
Take back – withdraw
Live up – reach the standard expected
Come across – meet
Put off – postpone
Pull through – avoid difficulties, failure or danger
Put across – trick, deceive
Put out – extinguish
Blow up – expose, break to pieces
Run over (something) – hit it
Run out of – shortage of
See to – pay adequate attention
Come off it – straight to the point
Come down on – punish, rebuke
Come up with – divulge, disclose, reveal
Get busy – able to just manage
Get over – recover from a surprise or shock
Drop out – withdraw from an undertaking
Go back on – withdraw from a commitment
Make off with – to seal
Makeup – compensate
Play up – exaggerate or over-emphasize
Leave over – postpone
Come along – arrive, appear
Run across – find, by chance, meet
Get ahead – make progress, pass others
Break in – enter a building by force
Turn on – switch on
Set back – impede the progress
Race with – compete in speed
Lying down – submit to challenge
Cut out – stop functioning
Tip-off – to give someone a warning or give information to somebody
Step down – to give one’s place to another person in an election
Stir up – cause trouble
Seal off – close a premise tightly to prevent entry or escape
Get through – to reach somebody by telephone or succeed
Guard against – to prevent a happening by special care
Pin down – to prevent moving
Nose out – to discover something by close searching
Mop up – to finish dealing with, or remove unwanted liquid
Dress down – to scold severely
Cash in on – to exploit something or use something to one’s advantage
Drum into – to put an idea firmly into someone’s mind
Examiner’s Uses of Some of Phrasal Verbs
It is also important to use some of the phrasal verbs in sentences as seen below. Then make each of them in a sentence to convey the meaning of the expression.
- The armed robbers broke into that bank and stole some amounts of money.
- The boss was bought over so that he could employ more people.
- Whether you like it or not, I will come up with that secret.
- Yesterday, Bayo made off with a Toyota car on an occasion.
- I have tried to take back the job but my boss didn’t allow me.
- Let us put off our journey till tomorrow.
- Mr. Ojo turns down to agree on that matter.
- The meeting of staff has been given out now.
- I don’t think I can put up with Mr. Ojo’s behavior.
- You should be able to get by the company very well.
Answer the following questions correctly.
Choose the word or a group of words that best completes each of the following sentences.
- The police vehicle raced ______ full speed with its siren blaring.
(a) on (b) with (c) at (d) in
- Stella wanted to show _______ with her necklace.
(a) off (b) on (c) over (d) back
- The national essay competition came _____ on the 23rd of July, 1986.
(a) out (b) in (b) by (d) up
- There was a lot of tension in the area and it was felt that a dispute might flare ______ any time.
(a) up (b) down (c) in (d) to
- Please, look _______ my answers for me.
(a) over (b) across (c) after (d) on
- Lekan has tried hard to live ______ to his parent’s expectations.
(a) over (b) on (c) through (d) up
- There are ______ new employees at the headquarters of the factory.
(a) taking up (b) taking after (c) taking on (d) taking over
- The celebrations were rounded ______ with a novelty match.
(a) off (b) up (c) down (d) out
- Mary is a friendly sort of person. I _____ her the first time I met her.
(a) took on (b) took for (c) took after (d) took to
- The boy was seen hitting the girl, but the teacher merely cautioned him and let him _____
(a) down (b) on (c) through (d) off
- Many affidavits have been ______ as evidence in this case.
(a) sworn in (b) sworn with (c) sworn for (d) sworn to
- The new bakery will _______ one thousand loaves of bread daily.
(a) turn over (b) turn out (c) turn up (d) turn in
- Ahmadu would have arrived earlier but he was ______ in heavy traffic.
(a) held up (b) held down (c) held off (d) held about
- Bola is a good friend of mine, but I am sometimes ______ by her careless attitude.
(a) blown off (b) forced out (c) turned out (d) put off
- Luck ______ the robbers on that fateful day.
(a) came down (b) ran out on (c) ended up with (d) made away with
- I tendered for that contrast, but my application _______.
(a) fell in (b) fell off (c) fell through (d) fell down
- Janet could not attend the party because she _____ with flu over the weekend.
(a) came up (b) came down (c) came away (d) came in
- The worker’s strike was ______ as a result of the Director’s intervention.
(a) called back (b) called in (c) called off (d) called out
- Since we were not given everything we requested, we should ______ with what we have.
(a) makeup (b) make out (c) made do (d) makeover
- The manager is leaving the company to ______ a new appointment elsewhere.
(a) take over (b) take on (c) take up (d) take off
WAEC June 1998 – 2003