phfun! These little nuggets have no rules and simply develop through use within the English language. Here are eight phrasal verbs based on movement.
What is a Phrasal Verb?
“Phrasal verbs” are small phrases composed of a verb and adverb or preposition. The meaning of a phrasal verb is usually entirely different than the words may suggest; this tends to cause hair-loss in people learning English as a second language. The good news about phrasals: many times, the meaning can be determined by the conversation, so examine the context if a new one pops up.
Eight Phrasal Verbs Based on Movement
1. Back Up
A) To move backwards.
“When you see a bear, you tend to back up quickly.”
B) To experience anger or determination as a reaction, used with a noun or pronoun. The phrasal might originate from a cat’s reaction of arching its back when angry or a dog’s “hackles” (back hair) rising.
“It got my back up to hear Fred isn’t coming to my party.”
“Though the store seemed deserted, Phyllis got her back up and went to find a clerk.”
C) To make an extra copy.
“Did you back up that file?”
2. Run or Bump Into
An unexpected meeting.
“I ran into Valeria at the store today.”
“Bob bumped into your sister at the races last week.”
3. Move In
A) To physically settle into a new place.
“We get our new home next week and are excited to move in.”
B) To force into someone else’s territory, physical or abstract. (Also using “into”)
“That Bob is trying to move in on my time with Suzie.”
“Our distribution company is about to move into the southern counties.”
C) Used when a couple has decided to live together.
“We want to wait a few weeks after we’re married to move in.”
D) Indicates something desirable.
“That car is awesome, a definite move in.”
4. Step On
A) To eliminate a problem, have victory, etc. It suggests ease, as when stepping on a bug.
“Our team will step on those Wildcats tonight!”
B) Used with “it” to mean “hurry up.”
“We’re going to be late and you’re still putting on make up. Step on it!”
5. Get Off
A) To remove something, usually used with a pronoun.
“Spider! GET IT OFF!”
B) To remove oneself from something.
“When you get to Tampa, get off the bus.”
“Get off my bike!”
“When you see a pink barn on your left, get off the freeway.”
6. Take Out
A) The most straightforward use: to “take” something “out” to some other place.
“When you’re done with your homework, take out the trash.”
B) We can use it as a noun.
Food ordered from a restaurant to take home.
“I don’t want to cook; let’s go get take out.”
C) When a pronoun or noun referring to a person is placed in the middle or at the end, this phrasal verb hints of mafia or gangster movies.
“Six-fingered Sam is going take Long-nose Lou out tonight!”
D) Used like C), it can also refer to a date.
“Ralph is going to take Lisa out tonight.”
7. Go Under
A) When a person or business goes bankrupt, they are said to “go under.”
“If we don’t get that new account, we may go under.”
B) Used by kids playing in water.
“Mom! Watch me go under!”
C) Very slang-y, it can also be run together, “gounder,” and used to indicate failure.
“I tried to get to the car on that ice. Did you see me gounder?”
“Yes, you sure goundered.”
8. Drift Apart
To slowly lose contact with someone or gradually slip out of a relationship.
“The couple never fought but began to drift apart because of their work schedules.”
The English language is constantly crafting new ways of speaking. Have you recently heard any phrasal verbs that you haven’t heard before or have you heard any that completely boggled you?