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List of Phrasal Verbs beginning with A

Phrasal verbs starting with: ABCD 

A

Choose the phrasal verb and click on it to go directly to the explanation and example of this phrasal verb.

Abide by

Ace out

Act up, Act like, Act out

Account for

Add up, Add up to

Allow for

Answer back, Answer for, Answer to

Apply for

Ask after, Ask about/around, Ask for, Ask in, Ask out, Ask over

Arrive at

Auction off

Avail yourself of

Average out, Average out at

Abide by (object)

MEANING: to accept or obey an agreement, rule, or decision

EXAMPLE:

“Staff who refused to abide by the new rules were fired.”

” We are quite willing to abide by their decision, whatever it may be.”

Ace out (inseparable)

MEANING: American, informal to defeat someone.

EXAMPLE:

“We were aced out by a rival agency.”

Act up (no object)

MEANING: Misbehave (for people); Not work properly (for machines).

EXAMPLE:

“My Mum had a difficult time. I was always acting up as a child.”

“I guess I’d better get the television repaired. It’s been acting up lately.”

Act like (inseparable)

MEANING: Behave in a way that’s like _____ .

EXAMPLE:

“What’s wrong with him? He’s acting like an idiot.”

Note: This phrasal verb is very informal.

Account for (object)

MEANING: Explain or give a reason for something.

EXAMPLE:

“The employee was sacked because she couldn’t account for the missing money from the cash register”

Act out (object)

MEANING:

1. When you act something out, you perform it or make it into a play.
2. Express your feelings or ideas.

EXAMPLE:

1. “The script itself is well written and well acted out by the cast”
2. “He has become desperate and is acting out his frustration by behaving like an idiot.”

Add up (1. no object)

MEANING: Logically fit together.

EXAMPLE:

“His theory is hard to believe, but his research adds up.”

Note: This phrasal verb is often negative.

“His theory seems, at first, to be plausible, but the facts in his research don’t add up.”

Add up (2. separable)

MEANING:  Find the total of something.

EXAMPLE:

“What’s the total of those bills? Could you add them up and see?”

Add up to (inseparable)

MEANING: To total.

EXAMPLE:

“The bills add up to $65. That’s more than I expected!”

Allow for (object)

MEANING: to consider or include something when you are making plans or judging a situation

EXAMPLE:

“Allowing for delays, we should reach our destination by 6 o’clock this evening”

Answer back (separable)

MEANING: To reply rudely.

EXAMPLE:

“Don’t answer back to your teacher!”

Answer for (object)

MEANING: to take responsibility for something wrong you have done.

EXAMPLE:

“The public had hoped to see the politician answer for his actions before a tribunal.

Answer to (object)

MEANING: If you answer to someone in a higher position, they are the person you have to explain your actions or decisions to.

EXAMPLE:

“We were living in a police state, where the police answered to no one.”
 

Apply for (object)

MEANING: To fill in a form or write a formal letter asking for a job, permit, scholarship, loan or permission.

EXAMPLE:

“The professor applied for a job at the famous university”

Ask after (object)

MEANING: Inquire how someone is getting on, to ask for information about someone, especially about their health.

EXAMPLE:

“My aunt wrote to us asking after our Mum who is sick.”
“Tom was asking after our grandmother, who is sick in hospital.”

Ask about/around (no object)

MEANING: to make inquiries

EXAMPLE:

“I asked around to see if anyone knew the address I was looking for.”

Ask for (object)

MEANING: To request something.

EXAMPLE:

“We stopped our car to ask for directions”

Ask in (object)

MEANING: to invite someone into your house, office etc.

EXAMPLE:

“The woman asked the door salesman in”

Ask out (separable)

MEANING: Ask for a date.

EXAMPLE:

“Nancy has a new boy friend. Joe asked her out last night.”

Ask over (separable)

MEANING: Invite to your home.

EXAMPLE:

“I would like to ask our neighbours over tomorrow tonight for dinner. We haven’t eaten together for a long time.”

Arrive at (inseparable)

MEANING: to achieve an agreement or decision, especially after thinking about it or discussing it for a long time.

EXAMPLE:

“We discussed the matter at length but failed to arrive at a decision”

“It is hoped that after the discussions they will be able to arrive at an agreement.”

Auction off (object)
MEANING: get rid of something by selling it at an auction.

EXAMPLE:

“We auctioned off our old furniture and got a great price”

Avail yourself of (object)

MEANING: to take the opportunity to use something, to improve your situation

EXAMPLE:

“As an employee I should avail myself of the opportunity to buy cheap shares in the company.”

Average out (separable)

MEANING: to calculate the average of a set of numbers

EXAMPLE:

“When I average out what I spend on clothes it comes to about £50 a month.”

Average out at (object)

MEANING: to have as the average number

EXAMPLE:

“My time off work this year averages out at two days a week.”