disappoint somebody because you don’t do what they hoped or expected you would do
🔹 George is very reliable – he has never let me down.
🔹 Ursula let her parents down by cheating in the exam.
🔹 Our last car never let us down – it never had to go to the garage.
allow somebody access to a place
🔹 The dogs are out in the garden. If it starts to rain, can you let them in?
🔹 It’s a very exclusive party. If you are not on the list, they will not let you in.
put yourself in a horizontal position
🔹 I have a headache so I’m going to lie down for a bit.
NB. This is an irregular verb: lie down — lay down — lain down
🔹 The dog was tired so it lay down in front of the fire and went to sleep.
take care of, be responsible for somebody or something
🔹 Can you look after my dog while I’m on holiday?
🔹 Meg is an experienced babysitter. She has looked after children of all ages.
🔹 Who looks after the company’s accounts?
look forward to
be excited about something that is going to happen or that you are going to do
🔹 I’m really looking forward to the weekend. My best friend is coming to stay.
🔹 We’re looking forward to seeing you.
🔹 He isn’t looking forward to his job interview.
NB. Remember to use the gerund after ‘to’, not the infinive: look forward to doING/havING, etc
🔹 They are looking into how the teenager was able to hack the bank accounts.
NB. It doesn’t have to refer to a crime, it could simply refer to a problem.
🔹 I don’t know why they haven’t called you yet, but I’ll look into it.
search for a piece of information (online or in a dictionary or encyclopaedia, etc)
🔹 I looked up the train times on my phone.
🔹 Do you usually look up new words in a bilingual or a monolingual dictionary?
omit somebody or something
🔹 You would probably have passed your exam if you hadn’t missed out question five.
🔹 There aren’t nine of us, there are ten of us; you missed yourself out! (= you forgot to count yourself)
confuse two things or people
🔹 English learners often mix up the words ‘bored’ and ‘boring’.
🔹 The two brothers are so alike. I’m always mixing them up.
fall asleep, especially unintentionally
🔹 I nodded off and missed the end of the film.
🔹 The accident was caused by a driver nodding off at the wheel.
🔹 Something woke me in the middle of the night but I nodded off again quickly.
bring good consequences, be worthwhile
🔹 All Helena’s hard work paid off – she got the promotion she wanted.
pick up (1)
go and get somebody or something, collect somebody or something
🔹 My uncle is going to pick us up at the airport.
🔹 Can you pick up my drycleaning?
pick up (2)
lift somebody or something up from a surface
🔹 Stop picking up the cat! She doesn’t like it.
🔹 I want you to pick up all your toys and put them back in your bedroom
pick up (3)
learn gradually, with little effort
🔹 We picked up a few useful Japanese phrases on our trip to Tokyo.
connect something to the electricity supply
🔹 Where can I plug in my hairdryer?
return something to the place it is normally kept (eg. in a cupboard)
🔹 When you have finished with the sugar, put it away please.
place something that you have been holding onto a surface, eg. a table or floor
🔹 Put your sister down!
🔹 I was glad to get home and put all my shopping down.
make somebody stop liking something or make them not want to do something
🔹 The conversation was putting me off my food.
🔹 Her teaching methods put a lot of the students off. They didn’t want to study chemistry anymore.
🔹 It was snowing so I put on some warm boots.
It can be used with things other than clothes or shoes:
🔹 She put on her makeup.
🔹 It’s very sunny so put on some sun cream.
🔹 Luckily it didn’t take the fire brigade long to put out the fire.
put up with
tolerate somebody or something that is unpleasant
🔹 I went into the garden as I didn’t want to put up with everybody arguing.
🔹 I don’t know how you put up with your boss. He’s so opinionated!
meet somebody by chance
🔹 I ran into Nick, an old school friend, the other day. He hasn’t changed a bit!
(Synonym: bump into)
run out (of something)
have none or nothing left
🔹 We’ve run out of eggs. Can you go and buy some?
🔹 You need to hurry – time’s running out.
deal with somebody
🔹 You make dinner and I’ll see to getting the kids bathed.
🔹 Who saw to sending out the party invitations? (= who was in charge of)
NB. ⚠️ Remember to use the gerund after ‘to’, not the infinive: see to doING/havING, etc
sell out (of)
If a product sells out then all the stock is finished, every item is sold.
🔹 The summer dress was so popular, it sold out within two days.
🔹 The bakery had sold out of doughnuts by the time I got there.
start a journey (usually a long one)
🔹 There will be lots of traffic so we should set off early.
start a business or organisation
🔹 When Belinda leaves university she is going to set up her own business.
give somebody a guided tour
🔹 You haven’t been to my house before, have you? Come on, I’ll show you around.
🔹 In the morning they’re going to show us round the new factory.
[often disapproving] = behave in a conspicuous way because you want people to admire what you do or have
🔹 Look at that guy showing off in his brand new Jaguar.
🔹 Dad, you can stop showing off now. We all know you’re great at football.
[impolite when used imperatively] = stop talking
🔹 Veronica was talking about her boyfriend all evening. I thought she was never going to shut up.
🔹 “Shut up! I’m trying to watch the TV.”
move your body into a sitting position, take a seat
🔹 I was tired so I sat down for a while and watched TV.
🔹 Dinner’s ready. Can you tell everybody to go and sit down at the table?
sleep longer than you normally do
🔹 Tomorrow’s Saturday so you can sleep in if you want to.
NB. In British English it is also used when you do it unintentionally, ie. oversleep.
🔹 Amy missed the school bus this morning because she slept in. Her alarm clock didn’t go off.
sort out (1)
🔹 Have you sorted out which clothes you’re going to take on holiday?
sort out (2)
solve a problem
🔹 My computer isn’t working properly. Can you come and see if you can sort it out?
speak more loudly
🔹 I can’t hear you. Can you speak up?
be an abbreviation/symbol of sth
🔹 CIA stands for Central Intelligence Agency.
stay at home
🔹 It’s Saturday night but I just feel like staying in and watching TV.
go to bed later than usual
🔹 Alexandra let her children stay up to see the end of the match.
We often add ‘late’:
🔹 Emma stayed up late to finish her assignment.
make somebody feel very anxious
🔹 Emily takes the train to work now as driving in the city centre was really stressing her out.
🔹 Charlie’s exams are stressing him out so much he can barely sleep.
to stop thinking about something or listening to somebody
🔹 After work Tom usually goes for a run as it helps him to switch off.
🔹 I switch off when my husband and his colleagues start talking about work.
look or act like an older relative
🔹 Olivia has curly blond hair and green eyes. She takes after her mother.
return something to a shop because it’s the wrong size or there’s something wrong with it
🔹 The jacket was too big so I took it back to the shop and got a smaller size.
🔹 If your new phone isn’t working properly you should take it back straightaway.
take off (1)
leave the ground and start flying
🔹 Their plane took off at ten thirty.
take off (2)
remove an item of clothing
🔹 I was glad to get home and take off my shoes.
🔹 After the meeting Jack took off his tie.
🔹 My son had his appendix taken out when he was just five.
occupy or fill an amount of space or time
🔹 The new sofa takes up almost half the lounge.
🔹 Is there a cash machine near here? I need to take out some money.
when you tear up paper, you break it into small pieces with your hands.
🔹 I needed the receipt but I’d torn it up.
🔹 Why are you tearing up those letters? Don’t you want to keep them?
Pronunciation: ‘Tear’ rhymes with ‘where’ and ‘chair’.
speak to somebody angrily about something they’ve done wrong.
🔹 Dan told off his son for swearing.
🔹 George was told off by his teacher today as he hadn’t done his homework.
put something in the rubbish because you don’t need it anymore
🔹 When I finished the newspaper, I threw it away.
step on somebody or something
🔹 Ouch! You’re treading on my foot!
🔹 Look where you’re going! You almost trod on a dog poo! 💩
Tread is an irregular verb: tread ➡ trod ➡trodden. Pronunciation: ‘Tread’ rhymes with ‘bread’.
put on clothes to see if they fit or suit you
🔹 I’m going to try on this dress. Do you know where the changing rooms are?
🔹 Cinderella tried on the glass slipper. It was a perfect fit.
test something or somebody to see if you like them, to see if they are effective, etc
🔹 I tried out a new vegetarian recipe.
🔹 They’re going to try out some new players for the team.
reject an invitation, offer, etc
🔹 Dmitri turned down the job because the pay was very low.
change into something else
🔹 The caterpillar turned into a beautiful butterfly.
🔹 They’re turning the old train station into a hotel.
🔹 You can sleep in the lounge. The sofa turns into a bed.
happen, develop or end in a certain way (often unexpectedly)
🔹 Surprisingly the book turned out to be a big success.
🔹 It turned out that the guy Joanna was sitting next to on the plane knew her husband.
change to another TV channel
🔹 The film was too scary for the children so we turned over and watched something else.
to appear (after being lost)
🔹 Did your ID card turn up? Yes, it had dropped under my car seat.
turn up / turn down
increase / decrease the volume
🔹 Can you turn up the radio? I love this song.
🔹 Do you mind turning down the sound a bit? It’s really loud.
use all of something
🔹 I couldn’t have a shower because Bryan had used up all the hot water.
🔹 I made some soup to use up the turkey leftovers.
🔹 Richard wishes he hadn’t used up all his holiday time.
stop sleeping; make sb stop sleeping
🔹 I woke up at five o’clock and I couldn’t go back to sleep.
🔹 Can you wake Dylan up please. He has to get ready for school.
get warmer; make somebody or something warmer
🔹 It’s pretty cold in the mornings but it usually warms up a lot later.
🔹 Here you go, this hot chocolate will warm you up.
do the dishes
🔹 You cooked so I’ll wash up.
damage something through lots of use, making it no longer usable
🔹 Eduardo has worn out his trainers. He needs a new pair.
🔹 I’m not a great cook. I need to work on my culinary skills.
🔹 Scientists are working on a new vaccine.
🔹 We’ve been working on this project for several months now.
calculate, solve a problem, understand something by thinking about it
🔹 Use a calculator to work out how much we owe.
🔹 We need to work out how we can get there without a car.
🔹 I just can’t work out why Ben would behave like that.
make a note of something on paper, eg. an appointment or a phone number, so that you don’t forget it.
🔹 Do you have a pen on you? I need to write down an address.