51+ of the Most Important Phrasal Verbs for Business English

woman writing at table with laptop and ring lamp

Phrasal verbs are new verbs we make by adding words to an existing verb to create a new meaning. Often the meaning of the new verb is quite different from the meaning of the original verb.

For example, run means to move at speed however to run + into someone means to meet by accident.

So, what are Phrasal Verbs for Business English?

Phrasal verbs for business English may take on further special meaning when used in a business context.

For example, write down means to take notes. In accounting write down means to re-value an asset.

Some phrasal verbs can be separated by the object of the phrasal verb. These are known as separable phrasal verbs. For example write down the asset could be written as, write the asset down.

This list of essential phrasal verbs for business English is a set of verbs that are helpful in an office setting.

When it comes to phrasal verbs for business English the best way to learn them is to practice them in context.

Practice the verbs and the sentences. Practice using one new business phrasal verb at work every day to begin developing a habit, adding phrasal verbs to your vocabulary bank.

Download Phrasal Verbs for Business English PDF Study Sheet

Let’s Dive Into Phrasal Verbs for Business English

A man leading a team meeting in an office. Phrasal verbs for business English can be helpful in an office setting.
Let’s dive into or begin, these phrasal verbs for business English

Bail Out

Bail out means to rescue someone or something from difficulty. In a business context it means lending or giving money to an organization or individual struggling financially.

The government has promised to bail the banks out so the people don’t lose their savings.

Break Down / Break (something) Down

Break down means that a machine, system or process stops working.

The machinery at the plant broke down so production has ceased.

To break (something) down means to seperate into smaller more manageble parts or to analyze the individual parts of something carefully.

Let’s break the sales numbers down to find out how well we performed in each quarter.

Burn Out

To become exhausted through overwork.

John has taken a weeks vacation, he has been working too hard and was worried about burning out.

Carry (something) Out

To execute a task, project, or plan.

We have carried the analysis out and it has revealed problems in the business.

How are we going to carry out this plan? Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Check In

Brief contact to confirm that everything is well.

I know we have a meeting next week, but I wanted to check in and see how the new project is going.

Check (something) Out

To investigate something or validate some information.

I want to check the competition out to see what they offer consumers.

Circle Back

Come back to a discussion previously unfinished.

We have spent a lot of time talking about the new product, I would like to move on to another topic, but let’s circle back to it at the next meeting.

Close (something) Down

To cease operation.

We will close the existing stores down to focus on our online business.

gray steel towers
It looks like they are going to close the factory down. Photo by Life Of Pix on Pexels.com

Come Along

To make progress. Used in the present continuous tense.

The development of the new system is coming along and we expect to finish on schedule.

Come Up With

Generate an idea, plan, question, or other new thought.

The CEO has come up with a new strategy to improve the company.

clear light bulb. A light bulb moment is one in which you come up with a great idea. Come up with is a great phrasal verb for business English
A light bulb moment is the moment you come up with a great idea. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Cut Back

To reduce the use of some resource or the frequency of some action.

We need to cut back paper usage in the office. It’s wasteful and not very environmentally friendly.

Cut Down

To lower the amount of something.

You should cut down the time you spend answering non-work related emails.

Cut Off

To stop the supply of something.

The governments decision to cut off trade with neighboring countries has disrupted the supply of materials.

Deal With

To focus on.

My speech deals with the global economy.

To do business with.

I don’t deal with dishonest people.

To address and solve an issue or difficulty

Let’s deal with the legal problem.

We look forward to dealing with you further in the future. Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Delve Into

Explore something thoroughly.

I’ve been delving into these old research papers and I have found out a lot of helpful information.

Dig Into

Investigate something more deeply.

I would like you to dig into the rumors that our top salesperson is thinking of leaving the business.

pen business eyewear research
Dig into these reports for me and let me know what you find. Photo by Anna Nekrashevich on Pexels.com

Dive Into

Begin some task with enthusiasm.

Ok thanks for joining me, Let’s dive into this meeting.

Draw (something) Up

Prepare a document.

I will draw the contract up and then we can sign it.

Drop In / Drop By

To visit informally or without appointment.

The area manager will drop in to collect our monthly report on Monday. When he drops by, can you give it to him.

Drop Off

To decrease suddenly.

Sales were going well but they dropped off last month.

Fall Through

An outcome does not happen.

The plan to move to a remote working environment has fallen through.

man showing distress
The deal fell through! It took me seven months to put it together! Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Fend (something/someone) Off

Defend oneself.

The market is saturated. We need a great marketing strategy to fend the competition off .

Fill (someone) In

Tell someone the details of a subject.

The manager has been fired, I will fill everyone in on the details shortly.

Fill (something) Out

Add required detail.

Please fill this form out this form so we can process your application.

Just fill this paper work out and we can get started.

Find Out

Discover something.

We need to find out if IT has come up with solution.

Follow Up

To investigate something further.

I didn’t understand the customers complaint. I will follow up to see if I can find out more.

To check on the progress of something.

Good luck with the project I will follow up with you later in the month to see how everything is going.

Get Ahead

To do well.

Although the company struggled in the first half of the year, we hope to get ahead in the second half of the year.

Go Around

To avoid or bypass an obstacle.

The HR director has refused to listen to our complaints, but I think we should go around her and speak directly to the CEO.

Go Back On

To change an existing agreement.

I am extremely upset that my employer has gone back on their agreement to consider me for promotion this year.

Go Over

To review something thouroughly.

Please go over this report before tomorrows meeting.

Go Under

To fail financially.

The company will go under if the government doesn’t lift restrictions soon.

Hold Off

Delay something.

We will hold off the press release until we have fixed the bug.

Jot (something) Down

Write a short note.

Can you please jot this phone number down?

I’d better jot this phrasal verb down so I don’t forget!

Lay (something) Down

Stating or instituting a set of rules, protocols or procedures in an official way.

With so much change in the industry it is time to lay some rules down about working from home.

Lay (somebody) Off

Dismiss someone from employment due to a shortage of available work.

I really hate to lose you but we without any work I have to lay you off.

Lay (something) Out

Stating ideas or plans in a clear way.

I am going to lay my plan out in the meeting on Friday.

Let (somebody) Go

Terminate employment.

Mr. Smith has been late every day this month! We have to let him go.

man people woman office
We are have to let you go, please pack up your things. Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Link Up

Connect with someone.

This project will be a joint effort between the our office and the Tokyo office, we will need to schedule a time to link up with their team.

Look Into

Investigate.

The government has denied our application. Can you look into their decision and find out why?

Look (something) Over

To inspect.

We have purchased some machinery, I need an engineer to look it over and make sure it is all working.

Measure Up

To be equal or greater than something/someone.

The last report you submitted was great. I hope the next one measures up to it.

Pass (something) Up

To not take an opportunity.

The building contract is a big opportunity for us. We can’t pass it up.

Pass (something) On

To repeat information.

The boss is really happy with the result and asked me to pass his congratulations on.

To women laughing and talking.
The client loved your designs, I had to pass on their kind words. Photo by Alexander Suhorucov on Pexels.com

Pencil (something) In

To Tentatively schedule or plan for.

Ok well I’ll pencil the meeting in for next Wednesday and you can confirm later this week.

Pull (something) Off

To achieve something difficult.

They said we couldn’t invent a flying car but we pulled it off.

Pull Out

To cancel an agreement.

I’m sorry we have to pull out of the deal, we could not get funding.

crop businessman giving contract to woman to sign
I can’t sign that, I am pulling out of our agreement. Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

Pull Through

To survive a challenge.

This team has faced incredible difficulty but it has pulled through and delivered a great result.

Put (something) Off

To delay something until a later time.

I would like to put the project off until we can figure out the total cost.

Send (something) Back

To return something.

That is not what I ordered. Send it back and ask them to ship the correct order.

Set (something) Up

Establish something.

Let’s set a meeting up to discuss the new deal.

Shop Around

To try to find the lowest price to purchase a product or service.

We have to buy 200 new computers for the office so I need you to shop around for the best price.

I’ve called seven suppliers to shop around for the best deal. Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

Shop (something) Around

To try to get someone to buy, publish or produce something.

I have finished my new book, now I just need to shop it around to some publishers.

Shut (something) Down

Stop something.

We have to shut down production until we find the problem.

Step Down

To resign from a particular position.

She is stepping down as a lecturer to concentrate on her research.

Step Up

To take on responsibility.

Who will step up and apply for the new director job.

Step (something) Up

To increase effort, speed, activity, intensity etc.

We need to step customer service up we lost seven clients last month.

Take Off

To suddenly increase in popularity or success.

The new advertising campaign is really taking off, we have over 100,000 shares on social media.

woman taking orders by phone
Another order! Shoe sales are taking off. Photo by Kampus Production on Pexels.com

Take (something) Over

To gain control of something.

I want Paul to take Sarah’s project over while she is away.

Think (it) Over

Consider something further.

I need to think your proposal over before I agree.

focused female employee reading information on computer in office
Hmm I’ll have to think it over! Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Try (something) Out

To use something to test or evaluate it.

Try the new software out for thirty days, if you don’t like it you don’t have to purchase it.

Turn (somehting) Down

To not accept an offer or proposal.

I have to turn your job offer down, I already have a job I love.

Use (something) Up

Consume a resource entirely.

We have used this months marketing budget up.

Weigh In On

To provide input on a topic.

I’d like to to weigh in on the plan to cancel employee health insurance, I think it’s a terrible idea.

I’d like your opinion, can you weigh in on which design is better? Photo by Thirdman on Pexels.com

Weigh (something) Up

To consider something carefully.

I have weighed your offer up and I accept.

Wrap (it) Up

Conclude something.

Well if there is nothing else to discuss let’s wrap this meeting up.

A man leads a professional business meeting in English
Thanks everyone let’s wrap this meeting up!

Write (something) Down

In accounting, this means to re-value an asset to match its current market value.

We need to write the value of our trade name down.

Write (something) Off

In accounting this means to re-value an asset to zero.

The project did not go as planned, we will have to write it off.

Write (someone) Up

To report someone for not following a rule.

You can’t use the company credit card to go shopping! I’ll have to write you up.

A man holding a megaphone in front of his face.
That’s not allowed! I will write you up! Photo by Pressmaster on Pexels.com

Zero In On

Focus on exclusively.

Ignore everything else and zero in on on increasing sales volume next month.

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Hopefully these business phrasal verbs help you get ahead at work.

Download Phrasal Verbs for Business English PDF Study Sheet

Looking for more helpful phrases work? Check these 10 Unbelievably Useful Phrases for Business Meetings.

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Do you have a question or a comment about these phrasal verbs for work? Let us know in the comments below!

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To start developing your English for business get in touch with SpeakWell Business English today. We can create a custom made course to specifically target improving your business English vocabulary!

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Looking for more resources with more english for business? Pick up a copy of Business English Vocabulary Builder: Powerful Idioms, Sayings and Expressions to Make You Sound Smarter in Business!

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