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.
Let’s Dive Into Phrasal Verbs for Business English
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To lower the amount of something.
You should cut down the time you spend answering non-work related emails.
To stop the supply of something.
The governments decision to cut off trade with neighboring countries has disrupted the supply of materials.
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.
Explore something thoroughly.
I’ve been delving into these old research papers and I have found out a lot of helpful information.
Investigate something more deeply.
I would like you to dig into the rumors that our top salesperson is thinking of leaving the business.
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.
To decrease suddenly.
Sales were going well but they dropped off last month.
An outcome does not happen.
The plan to move to a remote working environment has fallen through.
Fend (something/someone) Off
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.
We need to find out if IT has come up with solution.
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.
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.
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.
To review something thouroughly.
Please go over this report before tomorrows meeting.
To fail financially.
The company will go under if the government doesn’t lift restrictions soon.
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?
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
Mr. Smith has been late every day this month! We have to let him go.
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.
The government has denied our application. Can you look into their decision and find out why?
Look (something) Over
We have purchased some machinery, I need an engineer to look it over and make sure it is all working.
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.
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.
To cancel an agreement.
I’m sorry we have to pull out of the deal, we could not get funding.
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
Let’s set a meeting up to discuss the new deal.
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.
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
We have to shut down production until we find the problem.
To resign from a particular position.
She is stepping down as a lecturer to concentrate on her research.
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.
To suddenly increase in popularity or success.
The new advertising campaign is really taking off, we have over 100,000 shares on social media.
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.
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.
Weigh (something) Up
To consider something carefully.
I have weighed your offer up and I accept.
Wrap (it) Up
Well if there is nothing else to discuss 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.
Zero In On
Focus on exclusively.
Ignore everything else and zero in on on increasing sales volume next month.
Hopefully these business phrasal verbs help you get ahead at work.
Looking for more helpful phrases work? Check these 10 Unbelievably Useful Phrases for Business Meetings.
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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