Common Phrasal Verbs

Here is a list of common phrasal verbs.

Account for

This is an inseparable phrasal verb.

To account for something is to give a reason or explanation for it.

  • How will you account for the money you spent on that fancy dress?
  • How do you account for the sudden improvement in your grades?
  • The student was brought before the principal to account for his behavior.
  • Exports account for nearly 60% of our revenue.

Act out

To act out is to express your feelings through your words or actions.

  • She was acting out her feelings of insecurity by being overly possessive.

Act up

When children act up, they behave badly. When machines act up, they fail to work properly.

  • My kids act up whenever we have guests.
  • The car is acting up again.

Add in

To add in something is to include it.

  • If you add in the information about his family background, you will understand why he behaves so strangely.

Add up

When something adds up it makes sense.

  • Your arguments just don’t add up.
  • There is something about his behavior that just doesn’t add up.

To add up is to calculate the total.

  • Add up those numbers.

Allow for

To allow for something is to take it into consideration.

  • The survey does not allow for the fact that many students drop out of school before they turn fourteen.

Answer back

To answer back is to reply rudely.

  • Her children are very badly brought up. They answer back all the time.

Answer for

To answer for something is to take responsibility for something you have done.

  • You will have to answer for your actions.