Phrasal Verbs

Sono i verbi seguiti da una preposizione che assumono un significato diverso dal verbo semplice senza preposizione aggiunta.
Spesso il significato di arrivo è molto distante da quello di partenza ed è difficile intuirne il senso.
Qui di seguito una selezione, cioè alcuni phrasal verbs che vengono usati di frequente.
L’elenco verrà via via arricchito.

We call "phrasal verbs" those verbs that add a preposition after the basic form and change their meaning according to the preposition used.
They are often very different from what the original meaning of the verb with no preposition would suggest.
Here you find a selection of phrasal verbs.
The list is going to be enriched and completed: so stay tuned!


Verb/verbo Meaning/significato Example/esempio
account for Spiegare New electric-drive cars could account for 10-25% of sales by 2020
act up Comportarsi male The way you’re acting up disappoints me
add up with Ammontare All his savings don’t add up to 100 dollars
agree with Essere d’accordo You never agree with me. We’re really different
ask someone out Invitare qualcuno ad uscire When Tom first asked Susy out to dinner, he feared she might answer no.
ask around Chiedere a più persone la stessa cosa Why don’t you ask around? Someone may have seen something.
add up to something Ammontare a On his journey, he bought presents for all his friends. His purchases added up to more than 1,000 euros
back something up Fare retromarcia Please, could you back your car up and let me get out?
back someone up Sostenere I couldn’t live without you. You always back me up over my decisions.
be about to Essere lì lì per/sul punto di We were about to leaving when a telegram came to tell us not to leave any more
blow up Esplodere Bombs are usually detonated by a timer or a cellular phone, so the terrorist who bring the bomb to a bus stop, for example, likely is not far away when it blows up.
blow something up Gonfiare Weather permitting, we plan to blow the dinghy up and make a run ashore in …
break down Rompersi His car broke down after a two miles’ drive and he called us for help
break down Collassare/Crollare di nervi Please, give yourself time, if you break down too who’s going to take care of her?
break something down (Sud)dividere in piccoli pezzi When a problem seems too difficult to be solved, just break it down into several small problems that you can solve
break in Irrompere The police broke in on him at his home and arrested him.
break in Interrompere Mr. Smith is working in his office, but he told that if we need him we can just break in on him
break something in usare un nuovo dispositivo finché non funziona bene; indossare qualcosa, ad esempio un paio di scarpe, per adattarle al piede These shoes hurt me because they’re new and have not been broken in yet
break in Interrompere The TV news broke in to give the news of the earthquake in Japan.
break up Mettere termine a una relazione It was not possible to go on that way, Mark and I broke up.
break up Scoppiare a ridere I couldn’t help breaking up when I heard his joke
break out Fuggire/evadere It’s not easy to break out of this jail: it’s top security
break out in something Sviluppare una reazione allergica I always break up in a bad rash whenever I eat strawberries
bring someone down Intristire qualcuno/demoralizzare This song is so sad that it’s bringing me down.
bring someone up Crescere/allevare After her parents’ death, she was brought up by her aunt Lisa
bring something up Introdurre un argomento/mettersi a parlare di When John brings up politics, we know he’s going to talk for hours
bring something up Vomitare/tirar su My cat often eats too fast, then he brings all what he eats up
call around Chiamare in giro It was very hard for us to find a good and not too expansive hotel, we had to call around but finally we found it
call someone back Richiamare I saw your number on my display, so I called you back but you didn’t answer
call for Passare/andare/venire a prendere qualcuno Mark will call for me at 7 o’clock, I’d better hurry up
call something off Cancellare/annullare/disdire Everything was already ready for the ceremony, but the wedding was called off at the very last moment./I think they’d better call the strike off
call off Richiamare (far allontanare da qualcuno o qualcosa richiamando a sé) Don’t you see children are playing in the garden? Please, call off your dog
call on someone Richiedere/rivolgersi a We often call on his services: he’s such a skilled lawyer
call on someone Andare a trovare/fare visita We called on the Jacksons last night
call out Gridare/chiedere ad alta voce/richiedere l’intervento di qualcuno What is that man calling out? / When we realized the situation was getting dangerous, we called out the police
call someone/something up Telefonare/chiamare/rievocare We’re so happy you’re in town, we’ll call you up for sure / Those pictures called so many memories up
calm down Calmarsi/ritornare in sé I don’t want you to call him now. You need to calm down before
(not) care for someone/something (Non) gradire /(non) apprezzare / (non) voler bene, tenerci Would you care for a good film tonight? / I must be honest with you: I don’t care for your insinuations / I’m sure Peter doesn’t care about Susy
catch up Afferrare/raccogliere/capire/intuire John is a very clever student: he catches up everything with no problem You’ll have to run faster than that if you want to catch up with Marty.
catch up Raggiungere Please, stay there, I’ll catch you up as soon as I can
Check in Registrarsi (in un hotel, all’aeroporto…) We’ve just arrived, let us check in first and then we’ll come
Check out Lasciare un hotel/saldare il conto/ in senso figurato: morire (infomale) In hotels you usually have to check out before 11.00 a.m.
Check someone/something out Tenere sotto controllo After last year’s bad episode, they check out all new people
Check out someone/something Dare un’occhiata/buttare un occhio (informale) Check out the crazy shoes that girl is wearing!
Cheer on Incitare / incoraggiare Before a match, trainers always cheer their players on
Cheer someone up Rallegrare I can’t stand seeing you so sad. Let’s go out tonight and cheer up
Chip in Dare una mano/contribuire If you want the work to be done by tomorrow, everyone must chip in
Clean something down Pulire benissimo, da cima a fondo Your room needs cleaning down
Clean out Sgomberare/far piazza pulita / alla forma passiva: essere ripulito dei propri averi There’s such a mess in the garage. I want to clean everything out / When he got out of the restaurant, he was cleaned up by a rascal
Clean up Pulire / rimettere in ordine, anche in senso figurato The head of the police says he wants to clean our city up
Come about Succedere /accadere I can’t believe all this came about!
come across something Imbattersi/trovare per caso It was such a surprise to come across my old diary while tidying the bookshelf
Come along Spicciarsi (familiar) Come along, Tom. It’s really very late
Come away Staccarsi/venir via The bottom was so loose that it simply came away by itself
Come down Tramandare Old legends have been come down to us
Come down with an illness Prendersi qualcosa/buscarsi Sorry I can’t come with you tonight, I’ve come down with a flu
Come forward Farsi avanti/proporsi/presentarsi volunteer for a task or to give evidence Is there anyone who wants to come forward for this delicate task?
Come into Entrare in/entrare in possesso di ciò che spetta Finally he came into his own
Come (a)round Venire a trovare/passare Come round when you’ve time, mum will be happy to see you
Count on someone/something Fare conto su qualcuno, qualcosa/confidare He’s a true friend to me, I can always count on him
Cross something off/out Cancellare/eliminare After their quarrel, Jack crossed Mark off his friends
Cut across Tagliare (di percorso) We can arrive earlier if we cut across the park
Cut back on something Ridurre il consumo You should cut back on sweets if you want to loose weight
cut in Interrompere He’s always cutting in with silly questions while I’m talking about something important
cut in Tagliare la strada The car overtook the bus and cut in. The bus driver had to swerve in order to avoid an accident
cut something off Tagliare/mozzare There was no hope of saving his arm, so doctors decided to cut it off
cut something off Tagliare/sospendere una fornitura If you don’t pay the bill, the company will cut off your gas
cut someone off Diseredare His father cut him off
cut something out Ritagliare Have a look at this article, I’ve cut it out of yesterdays’ paper
(to be) cut out for Essere tagliato per You’re really cut out for this job