Take your business conversations to the next level by learning this list of common everyday phrasal verbs. Phrasal verbs are very common in English and are used most often in an informal context. They are a combination of a verb + a preposition, a verb + an adverb, or a verb + both a preposition and adverb, which changes the meaning of the original verb when put together. These additional sections can be referred to as particles and although they are from different grammatical categories when combined they form one semantic unit on a lexical or syntactical level. Phrasal verbs are used in a sentence like normal verbs and are frequently seen in everyday speech, so it is very important to familiarize yourself with them.
To spot a phrasal verb you have to look at the whole sentence, if the verb and the particle can be understood literally then it is just a normal verb followed by a preposition or adverb. However, if the meaning can only be obtained from taking the two words together, and this meaning changes that of the original verb, then you have found an example of a phrasal verb.
Moreover, phrasal verbs are often used in a business environment, especially during LinkedIn and Zoom conversations, so having a good understanding of these can help you to sound more natural and informed when addressing clients. They can also enhance your communication skills by helping you to engage in an informal manner with your work colleagues and stay ahead during colloquial conversations. To make this easier, we have made a list of the top 10 phrasal verbs that are most commonly used in work conversations:
1. ‘ask around’/ ‘asked around’ (to check/inquire)
e.g. I will ask around to see if anybody is hiring right now.
2. ‘run over’/ ‘ran over’ (to read/check)
e.g. I ran over the numbers and they just do not add up.
3. ‘allow for’/ ‘allowed for’ (to allocate time)
e.g. I have only allowed for 15 minutes to complete this task.
4. ‘try out’/ ‘tried out’ (to test something)
e.g. Try out the new design and see how your target customers respond.
5. ‘set up’ (to arrange)
e.g. Let’s set up something for Saturday morning.
6. ‘come across’/ ‘came across’ (to meet/find by chance)
e.g. I came across an issue with your website.
7. ‘call off’/ ‘called off’ (to cancel)
e.g. Something came up so I had to call off the zoom meeting.
8. ‘sort out’/‘sorted out’ (to resolve a problem)
e.g. I’ve sorted it out with Graphic Design and the brief should be ready shortly.
9. ‘jot down’/ ‘jotted down’ (to write briefly)
e.g. I’ve jotted down my key thoughts following that meeting.
10. ‘chip in’/ ‘chipped in’ (to join/interrupt a meeting)
e.g. I just wanted to chip in with my thoughts on the matter.
Even learning these ten examples can help you to sound much more professional during informal client conversations. Phrasal verbs can help elevate your communication with clients by getting the meaning across more effectively and efficiently. In this new digital business climate it is crucial to get familiar with informal messaging terms that now dominate our everyday conversations. To improve your learning of phrasal verbs you could group them by particle, such as “up” and then understand the uses of phrasal verbs including this, such as “dry up”, “use up’ and “give up”. We would also recommend trying out this quiz to put your understanding of phrasal verbs to the test: https://www.espressoenglish.net/can-you-pass-this-phrasal-verbs-quiz/.