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Dennis Oliver's Phrasal Verbs: C


call off (separable): cancel something that has been scheduled.

"We don't have school today. The mayor called classes off because of the snow."

call on (inseparable): ask someone for an answer in class.

"I don't know why the teacher never calls on you. You always know the answer."

calm down (with or without an object; with an object, separable): become calm / less agitated or upset; help someone become calm / less agitated or upset.

"Why are you so upset? Suzie didn't intend to spill orange juice on you. Calm down!"

"I know Ralph is upset, but can you calm him down? He's making so much noise that he's irritating everyone in the office."

(not) care for (1. inseparable): like; want.

Note: This phrasal verb is usually negative, though it may be used affirmatively in questions.

A: "Would you care for something to drink? We have coffee, tea, or orange juice."

B: "Could I have water, please? I don't care for coffee, tea, or juice."

care for (2. inseparable): take care of; supply care to; attend / watch..

"Amy's father got out of the hospital last week. The family is caring for him at home."

catch on (no object): develop understanding or knowledge of something.

"Bill had never used a computer until he took this class, but he caught on very quickly and is now one of the best students."

catch up (with) (often without an object; with an object, inseparable): stop being behind.

"Terry stopped to rest for a few minutes. He'll catch up / catch up with us later."

check in(to) (inseparable): register for / at a hotel, conference, etc.; let someone know officially that you have arrived.

"My plane will arrive around 5:00 PM. I should be able to check into the hotel by 6:00 or 6:30."

"When you arrive at the convention, be sure to check in at the registration desk."

check off (separable): make a mark to indicate that something on a list has been completed.

"Here are the things you need to do. Please check each one off when you've finished it."

check out (of) (1. inseparable): follow procedures for leaving (a hotel, etc.)

"Don't forget to take your room key to the front desk when you check out (when you check out of the hotel)."

check out (2. separable): follow procedures for borrowing something (usually for a limited period of time).

"I'm sorry, but you can't take that encyclopedia home. The library won't allow you to check reference books out."

cheer up (separable): help someone feel less worried / depressed / sad.

"Suzie's brother was depressed about not getting a promotion, so she sent him a funny card to cheer him up."

chew out (separable): scold someone severely; berate.

"Tom's father was really angry when Tom didn't come home until 3:00 AM. He chewed Tom out and then said Tom had to stay at home for two weeks."

chicken out (no object): lose the courage or confidence to do something--often at the last minute.

"Sam said he was going to ask Lulu for a date, but he chickened out."

chip in (inseparable): contribute / donate (often money) to something done by a group.

"We're going to buy a birthday cake for our boss and I'm collecting donations. Do you want to chip in?"

clam up (inseparable): suddenly become quiet / refuse to talk about something.

"Lila wouldn't talk about the accident. When I asked her what happened, she clammed up."

come across (inseparable): find (unexpectedly).

"I've lost my extra car keys. If you come across them while your're
cleaning the room, please put them in a safe place."

come down with _____ (inseparable): become ill with _____ .

"George won't be at the office today. He came down with the flu over the weekend."

come to (1. inseparable): total.

"Your charges come to $124.38. Will you pay by check, in cash, or
with a credit card?"

come to (2. no object): regain consciousness.

"When I told Gina that she'd won a million dollars, she fainted. When she
came to, I told her it was a joke and she almost hit me!"

count on (inseparable): depend on; trust that something will happen or that someone
will do as expected.

"I'm counting on you to wake me up tomorrow. I know I won't hear the alarm."

cross out (separable): show that something written is wrong or unnecessary by making an X across it.

"We can't afford to buy everything on your shopping list, so I've crossed all the unnecessary things out."

cut back (on) (often without an object; with an object, cut back on [inseparable]): use less of something.

"You drink too much coffee. You should cut back."

"You should cut back on the amount of coffee that you drink."


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