Common Phrasal Verbs for Business English

to ask around
to ask many people the same question
I need a good real estate agent. Could you ask around the office and see if anyone knows one?
to back (someone) up
to support
Thanks for backing me up in the meeting. 
to call (someone) back
to return a phone call
We have a bad connection. I'll call you back in a few minutes.
to call (something) off
to cancel
Management is going to call the meeting off because so many people are out sick today.
to not care for
to not like (formal)
I don't care for team building activities. I think they are a waste of time.
to check in
to arrive and register at a hotel or airport
We checked in at 5 PM and then went to get something to eat.
to check out
to leave a hotel
We checked out a few hours late and had to pay an extra fee.
to check (someone/something) out
to look at carefully, investigate
I'm not sure why the copier isn't working. I'll check it out.
to chip in (also to pitch in)
to help
We should be able to finish quickly if everyone pitches in.
to come across
to find unexpectedly
I was reading last night and I came across a couple of phrasal verbs I had never seen before.
to count on
to rely on
We have a great team. I can count on everyone to do their best.
to cut back on
to consume less
It's a tough economy. We're trying to cut back on unnecessary expenses.
to cut in
to interrupt
Can I cut in and say something, please?
to do (something) over
to do again
I can't believe I closed the document without saving. Now I'm going to have to do the whole thing over.
to do away with
to discard; to put an end to
They did away with bonuses last year because their profits were so low.
to drop by
come without an appointment; to visit briefly
John dropped by my office to talk about last month's figures.
to drop (someone/something) off
to take someone/something somewhere and leave them/it there
My car was in the shop, so Kevin dropped me off at my house.
to end up
to eventually reach, do, or decide
At first I thought I wanted to be an accountant. Then, I studied finance. I ended up getting my degree in management, though.
to figure (something) out
to understand; to find the answer
I can't figure out why the printer isn't working. I've tried everything, and it still won't work.
to fill (something) out
to write information in blanks
There were a lot of forms to fill out when I got my new job.
to find out
to gain knowledge about something
I finally found out how to forward my mail from one email account to another.
to get (something/someone) back
to receive something that you had before
You can borrow my stapler, but make sure I get it back when you're done with it.
to get back at
to retaliate; to take revenge on someone
He might get back at you for asking him so many tough questions during his presentation.
to get in
1) enter
1) Get in the car. I'll give you a ride.
2) arrive
2) I worked late last night and didn't get in until after 9 PM.
to get over (something)
to recover
I was upset that I didn't get the promotion, but I got over it after a while.
to get together
to meet (but not for the first time)
I try to get together with some old friends from college once or twice a year.
to get up
1) to get out of bed
1) I get up late on the weekends because I have to get up really early on weekdays.
2) to stand
2) He got up and walked to the podium to give his speech.
to give in
to reluctantly stop fighting or arguing
Management didn't want to give in to the union's demands, but in the end they didn't have a choice.
to give (something) up
to quit a habit or quit doing a certain activity
I gave up checking Facebook at work. I'm trying to be more productive.
to give up
to stop trying
Just because we failed the first time doesn't mean we should give up. We just need to change a few things.
to go after
1) to follow someone
1) Pam will give her talk first, and Scott will go after her.
2) to try to achieve something
2) If we got the account, they would be our biggest client. I'm really going to go after the account.
to go against
to compete; oppose
We're going against three or four other contractors. Be sure to bid low.
to go over
to review
I want to go over last month's numbers with you.
to hand (something) in
to submit (a report, a paper, etc)
I forgot to hand in my expense reports. Now I won't get reimbursed until next month.
to hand (something) out
to distribute the same thing to a group of people
I'll start explaining the changes while Jason hands out a copy of the new policy.
to hang on
to wait for a short time (informal)
Could you hang on for a second, please? I'll be right there.
to keep (something) up
to continue doing something
You've been doing really well lately. Keep it up!
to let (someone) down
to disappoint; to not help or support
I was really depending on him to expedite the shipping on that order. The products are still in the warehouse. He really let me down.
to let (someone) in
to allow to enter
I forgot my badge again. Hopefully someone else is in the office and can let me in.
to look forward to
to be excited about something in the future
I'm really looking forward to having an extended weekend next week.
to look into
to investigate
Please look into some ways we can cut costs. Every penny counts.
to look out for
to be careful, vigilant, and take notice
You must always look out for new business opportunities.
to look (something) over
to check; examine
Could you look over this report to make sure there are no mistakes?
to look up to
to have a lot of respect for someone
I really look up to her. She has been with the company for a long time and is really knowledgeable.
to make (something) up
1) to invent (a story, lie, excuse, reason, etc.)
1) I don't believe their story. I think they made it up.
2) to resolve an argument or quarrel (not a separable verb when used like this). 3) to compensate for something
2) Are they still fighting about that? I thought they had made up a while ago? 3) I didn't get anything accomplished yesterday. I'm going to have to work extra hard to make up for it today. 
to mix (something) up
to confuse two or more things
I always mix their names up. Which one is Bob, and which one is Brad?
to pass (something) out
to give the same thing to many people
Carly is passing out a schedule of today's events.
to pass (something) up
to decline (usually something good)
Don't pass up on this great opportunity. Place your order today.
to put (something) off
to postpone
I haven't done my taxes yet. I've been putting it off for a long time.
to put (something) together
to assemble
How long will it take to put the scale model together?
to run into
to meet someone unexpectedly
I ran into Stacey from Accounting in the supermarket yesterday.
to send (something) back
to return
The product was defective. We'll have to send it back.
to set (something) up
to arrange;organize
I'll set up the conference call and send you an invite.
to shop around
to compare prices
We should bid low on this one. They always shop around.
to sort (something) out
to organize or resolve a problem
There was some confusion with the new work schedule. No one is sure who works on Sunday. We're calling a meeting to sort it out.
to take (something) back
to return an item
She always shops there because she knows that she can take anything back that she isn't happy with.
to think (something) over
to consider
Honestly, I don't know what I'm going to do. The job offer is great, but I'm not sure if I want to leave my current position. I'll have to think it over.
to turn (something) down
1) to decrease the volume or strength of something (volume, heat, etc)
1) Could you turn your music down so I can take this call?
2) reject an offer
2) They turned down our proposal.
to try (something) out
to test or use something experimentally
We're going to try it out for a few weeks and let you know what we think. If we like it, we'll place an order.
to use (something) up
to finish the supply
I can't believe it's only May and I've used up all my sick days already.


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