There are hundreds, if not thousands of phrasal verbs (verb+preposition) in English that include the prepositions ‘up’ and ‘down’. Try the following two-part exercise to learn ways to include some of these types of phrasal verbs into your next conversation!
Exercise 1: Read each sentence and decide on the correct definition of each phrasal verb.
1. They asked me to join the meeting to take down notes as they were talking so there was a clear record.
to TAKE DOWN (notes, information, a number etc) means:
a) to pull down notes etc. from a wall
b) to write down information on a piece of paper
2. The party was a huge failure – we invited lots of people but only John and Sandra turned up.
to TURN UP means:
a) to appear / arrive
b) to turn around sharply
3. I‘m fed up with learning English. Let’s go out for a while.
to BE FED UP (or GET FED UP) means:
a) to get tired / bored of something
b) to feel something is too difficult
4. I lost my house key, it had been a long day at work and I was tired, but fortunately my friend called and he put me up for the night. I found the key the next day at work!
to PUT (someone) UP means:
a) to make someone feel better
b) to let someone stay with you
5. The best way of increasing your vocabulary is to look up the words you don’t know in a dictionary
to LOOK UP (something) means:
a) to find out information
b) to check how big something is
6. I asked my flatmate to clean his dishes, but he never did and I had friends coming over so I ended up having to do them.
to END UP (doing something) means:
a) to finish doing something
b) to finally need to do something
7. His girlfriend just left him so he’s feeling down at the moment, but I’m sure he’ll get better soon!
to FEEL DOWN means:
a) to slip and fall
b) to feel miserable/unhappy
8. He’s just so lazy! He won’t help around the house – he won’t even pick up the phone even if it’s right next to him!
to PICK UP a phone means:
a) to take/answer a phone call
b) to think about who is calling
Exercise 2: Put where you think the correct phrasal verbs should fit in the following dialogue (some have already been done for you). Try to use the right tense if possible!
Use the correct phrasal verb from the list below to complete the conversation that follows. You may have to change the tense! An example has been done for you.
END UP | LOOK UP | PICK UP |
FED UP | FEEL DOWN | TAKEN DOWN | TURN UP | PUT (someone) UP
A: “Hi, how’s things? Have you found any accommodation yet?
B: “Well, yes and no. I got so FED UP with trying to find a flat at a reasonable cost, that I 1. asking a friend to 2. for a few weeks while I keep looking for somewhere.”
A: “Oh, don’t 3.. I’m sure that something will 4..”
B: “Yeah, I hope so. I’m so tired of trying to 5. flats online every night. I’ve 6. so many phone numbers and made a lot of calls, but most people don’t even 7. when I ring them”.
A: “Don’t worry, things will get better – they always do!”
- ended up (even though he is still staying with the friend, he asked in the past so needs to be past tense form)
- put (me) up
- feel down
- turn up
- look up
- taken down
- pick up