Phrasal Verbs – Aa and Examples

Phrasal Verbs Topics is designed to help intermediate to advanced learners of English improve their knowledge of phrasal verbs. It can be used as a self-study guide by learners, or used by teachers in their EFL/ESL classes whether online or classroom based learning and teaching


The first section has phrasal verbs beginning with the letter “a” with quiz. The same with the other contexts that follow.

You may have noticed that there is no definition in most phrasal verbs. This is because one of the best ways to learn phrasal verbs is to see them in context, and then figure out the meaning for yourself. It seems that if learners do this, they can get a clearer idea of the meaning, and a better understanding of how the phrasal verb is used, than they would by just memorizing a definition or a synonym.

Figuring out a phrasal verb’s meaning by seeing just one example of its use can be difficult, so you are given two example sentences. To learn a new phrasal verb, start off by reading the sentence in which the phrasal verb is color-highlighted. When you think you’ve worked out what it means, see if the meaning fits the second sentence as well. If it does, you can be fairly sure that you’ve found the correct meaning. If it doesn’t, study both sentences again and see if you can get the correct meaning.

If you really can’t figure out the meaning, or if you’re not sure whether the meaning you’ve come up with is correct or not, you can look the phrasal verb up in a dictionary. If the dictionary gives several meanings, make sure you find the one that fits the context in both the example sentences. Then you can write notes to help you to remember it.

account for How can we account for the high electricity bill this month? Did we use the air-conditioning more than usual?
Part of her job is to record and account for all the company’s expenses.
act as Bobby is a big guy and he has studied boxing, so he can act as my bodyguard as well as my driver.
The hairs in the nose act as filters to help keep dust out of our lungs.
act up


My computer was acting up, so I took it a repair shop near my house and had it fixed.
I’ll have to miss golf as my knee is acting up again and it’s very sore.
 add up I don’t believe his story. There are too many things that don’t make sense and the whole thing just doesn’t add up.
I’ve checked the receipts for expenses, and they add up to over $85,000.
 allow for When you figure out what time to leave for the airport, allow time for traffic jams, and also take the weather into account.
When you make the budget, don’t forget to allow for rising prices.
 amount to A music CD needs to sell 100,000 copies or more to be a hit. Selling 10,000 copies doesn’t really amount to success in the music business.
Does having had two books published amount to a career as a writer?
 appeal for After the earthquake, the government appealed for emergency aid and assistance from neighboring countries.
After she disappeared, the girl’s family appealed to the public for help.
appeal to Teenagers are a major market for mobile phones, so we need to design a range of cool phones that will appeal to them.
The small apartments will appeal to single people more than families.
arrive at After doing research into diet, he arrived at the conclusion that a good diet included fish and seafood but didn’t include animals or birds.
They arrived at the retail price by considering all their production costs.
ask after I got an email from Elisa and she asked after you. I said you were fine and doing well in your new job.
Whenever I meet James, he asks after you and I tell him you’re fine.
ask for If you get lost, ask someone for directions to your hotel and they’ll tell you where to go.
I tell my staff not to be afraid of asking for help or advice if they need it.
attach to You shouldn’t attach too much importance to what the critics say about your book. What really matters is what your readers think.
I think our boss attaches too much significance to how someone looks.
attend to We have to make sure there are enough sales staff in our  stores to attend to all the customers who need help, especially at busy times.
There are two more issues that we should attend to in today’s meeting.


  1. Having one book  published doesn’t  really amount  _ _ a  career as a writer.
  2. He  got into trouble for answering _ _  _ _ to his teacher.
  3. The Red Cross had to appeal _ _ _ more money to help people after the earthquake.
  4. Our  new  line  of watches is designed to _ _  _ _  _ _ to young professional people.
  5. The tax increases only _ _  _ _ _  to  people in the  top income brackets.
  6. We  arrived _  _ our  conclusions after studying all the evidence.
  7. I got an email from Mark and he _ _ _ _ _ after you, so I said you were fine.
  8. If you get lost, _  _ _  someone for directions.
  9. If you like her, you should ask her _ _  _ on a date.
  10. We’re  going to _  _ _  some  friends over for dinner tomorrow night.    


1. to 2. back 3. for
4. appeal 5. apply 6. at 7. asked 8. ask 9. out
10. ask

See also . . .