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Business Vocabulary: Phrasal Verbs for Business

Below is a list of some common phrasal verbs used in business. The verbs with an asterisk (*) are separable (the verb can be split by its object).

Also see:
Phrasal Verbs for Business  (practice exercise)
Phrasal Verb Collocations (practice exercise)
Phrasal Verb Games and Activities
How to Teach Phrasal Verbs 


Common Phrasal Verbs for Business

Phrasal VerbDefinitionExample
to ask around
to ask many people the same question
I need a good real estate agent. Could you ask around and see if anyone knows one?
to back * upto support
Thanks for backing me up in the meeting.
to call * backto return a phone call
We have a bad connection. I'll call you back in a few minutes.
to call * offto cancel
Management is going to call the meeting off because so many people are out sick today.
to check into arrive and register at a hotel or airportWe checked in around 5 p.m. and then got something to eat.
to check in (with someone)to talk with someone to ensure things are going okayAs a manager, I feel it's important to check in with everyone on my team at least once a day.
to check outto leave a hotel
We checked out a few hours late and had to pay an extra fee.
to check * outto look at carefully, investigate
I'm not sure why the copier isn't working. I'll check it out.
to chip/pitch in to help
We should be able to finish quickly if everyone pitches in.
to come acrossto find unexpectedly
I was reading last night and I came across a couple of phrasal verbs I had never seen before.
to count on
to rely on
We have a great team. I can count on everyone to do their best.
to cut back onto consume less
It's a tough economy. We're trying to cut back on unnecessary expenses.
to cut into interrupt
Can I cut in and say something, please?
to do * overto do again
I can't believe I closed the document without saving. Now I'm going to have to do the whole thing over.
to do away withto discard; to put an end to
They did away with bonuses last year because their profits were so low.
to drop * off
to take someone/something somewhere and leave them/it thereMy car was in the shop, so Kevin dropped me off at my house.
to drop/stop byto come without an appointment; to visit brieflyJohn dropped by my office to talk about last month's sales figures.
to end upto eventually reach, do, or decideAt first I thought I wanted to be an accountant. Then, I studied finance. I ended up getting my degree in management, though.
to figure * outto understand; to find the answerI can't figure out why the printer isn't working. I've tried everything, and it still won't work.
to fill * outto write information in blanksPlease fill out these forms and bring them on your first day of work.
to find outto gain knowledge about somethingI just found out how to forward my email from one account to another.
to get * backto receive something that you had beforeIt's a secure area, so you have to leave your cell phone with the guard. You'll get it back when you exit the building.
to get back at
to retaliate; to take revenge on someoneHe might get back at you for asking him so many tough questions during his presentation.
to get in1. to enter
2. to arrive
1. Get in the car. I'll give you a ride.
2. I worked late last night and didn't get in until after 9 p.m.
to get overto recoverI was upset that I didn't get the promotion, but I got over it after a while.
to get togetherto gather, assembleThis weekend I'm going to get together with some friends from college.
to get up1. to get out of bed
2. to stand
1. I get up late on the weekends because I have to get up really early during the week.
2. He got up and walked to the podium to give his speech.
to give into reluctantly stop fighting or arguingManagement didn't want to give in to the union's demands, but in the end they had no choice.
to give * upto quit a habit or quit doing a certain activityI gave up checking Facebook at work. I'm trying to be more productive.
to give upto stop tryingJust because we failed the first time doesn't mean we should give up. We just need a new approach.
to go after1. to follow someone
2. to try to achieve something
1. Pam will give her talk first, and Scott will go after her.
2. If we got their business, they would be our biggest client. I'm really going to go after the account.
to go againstto compete; opposeWe're going against three or four other contractors. Be sure to bid low.
to go overto reviewI want to go over last month's numbers with you.
to hand * into submit (a report, a paper, etc)I forgot to hand in my expense reports. Now I won't get reimbursed until next month.
to hand * outto distribute the same thing to a group of peopleI'll start explaining the changes while Jason hands out a copy of the new policy.
to hang/hold onto wait for a short time (informal)Could you hang on for a second? I'll be right there.
to keep * upto continue doing somethingYou're doing a fantastic job. Keep it up!
to let * downto disappoint; to not help or supportOur suppliers promised us we'd have the shipment yesterday. We still haven't received our order. They really let us down.
to let * into allow to enterI forgot my badge again. Hopefully someone else is in the office and can let me in.
to look * overto check; examineCould you look over this report to make sure there are no mistakes?
to look forward to to be excited about something in the futureI'm looking forward to the three-day weekend.
to look intoto investigateWe're looking into ways to cut costs.
to look out forto be careful, vigilant, and take noticeYou must always look out for new business opportunities.
to look up toto have a lot of respect for someoneI look up to Madeline. She has been with the company for many years and is extremely knowledgeable.
to make * up1. to invent (a story, lie, excuse, reason, etc.)
2. to compensate for something
1. I don't believe their story. I think they made it up.
2. I didn't get anything accomplished yesterday. I'm going to have to work extra hard today to make up for it.
to make upto resolve an argument or quarrelAre they still fighting about that? I thought they had made up a while ago?
to mix * upto confuse two or more thingsI always mix their names up. Which one is Bob, and which one is Brad?
to not care forto not like (formal)
I don't care for team building activities. I think they are a waste of time.
to pass * outto give the same thing to many peopleCarly is passing out a schedule of today's events.
to pass * upto decline (usually something good)Don't pass up on this great opportunity. Place your order today.
to put * offto postponeI haven't done my taxes yet. I've been putting it off for a long time.
to put * togetherto assembleHow long will it take to put together a proposal?
to run intoto encounter someone unexpectedlyI ran into Stacey from Accounting in the supermarket yesterday.
to send * backto returnThe product was defective. We're sending it back.
to set * upto arrange; organizeI'll set up the conference call and send you the invite.
to shop aroundto compare pricesWe should bid low on this one. They always shop around.
to sort * outto organize or resolve a problemThere was some confusion with the schedule. No one is sure who is on call this weekend. We're calling a meeting to sort it out.
to take * back1. to return an item
2. to retract a statement
1. This product isn't what I expected. I'm going to take it back to the store.
2. I didn't mean it. I take it back.
to think * overto considerHonestly, I don't know what I'm going to do. The job offer is great, but I'm not sure I want to leave my current position. I'll have to think it over.
to try * outto test or use something experimentallyWe're going to try it out for a few weeks and let you know what we think. If we like it, we'll place an order.
to turn * down1. to decrease the volume or strength of something (volume, heat, etc.)
2. to reject an offer
1. Could you turn your music down so I can take this call?
2. They turned down our proposal.
to use * upto finish the supplyI can't believe it's only May and I've already used up all my sick days.