Phrasal Verbs for Basic Actions

Phrasal Verbs for Basic Actions

“Life requires movement.”

Aristotle, an Ancient Greek philosopher and scientist

Which phrasal verb/verbs can you use to describe the pictures?


The answers are at the bottom of the page. Before you check your answers, we recommend that you study the phrasal verbs below:

  • Fall down. If you fall down, you drop to the ground: You fell down and hit your head on a rock. 
  • Get off. If you get off something, you move your body from it: Hey! Get off my bike!
  • Get out. If you get out, you leave a place or a vehicle: Please help me get out of here. Get out of the car. 
  • Get up. If you get up (something), you move from a lower position/level to a higher one: We went up the mountain by cable car. If you get up, you rise to a standing position: Get up off the floor. It’s cold. When you get up or someone gets you up, you get out of bed: Mom got me up at 7 a.m. NOTE: if someone gets you up, they wake you and tell you to get out of bed. If someone wakes you up, they just make you stop sleeping. Compare: Please wake me up at 6 (a hotel guest is requesting a wake-up call). It’s so hard to get my 8-year-old son up (it’s hard to make him get out of bed because he is not an early riser).
  • Go back. If you go back, you return to a place where you were before: I’ll go back to my room and try to find the toy. 
  • Go in. When you go in, you enter a building: I pushed open the door to the office and went in. NOTE: you go into a room, building, area, etc., but you just go in (there is no direct object after “go in”). Compare: She has just gone into the building. If we hear something, we will go in. 
  • Go off. If you go off somewhere, you leave the place where you were, usually to do something: He has gone off to have dinner. 
  • Keep down. If you keep down, you stay in a lying or low position (so that someone doesn’t see or attack you): Keep down. The enemy is near. 
  • Lay down. If you lay (laid; laid) something down, you put it down on a surface: Lay the baby down on the changing table. 
  • Move up. If you move up (a place), you go from a lower position to a higher one: We have moved a hill and now we can enjoy the view.
  • Run in. If you run in from outside a room or a building, you enter it running: Don’t run in. Just walk (the difference between “run in” and “run into” is the same as the one between “go in” and “go into”).
  • Run on. If you run on, you continue to run in the same direction: Just run on ahead. (we often use “on” to talk about continuing something: go on reading; keep on dancing; carry on speaking; walk on; dream on; read on, etc.)
  • Run out. If you run out of a room, building, etc. you leave it running: He ran out of the room and down the stairs. If something runs out from somewhere, it flows from there: Water is running out from under the door. 
  • Sit down. If you sit down, you lower your body until you are sitting on something: Sit down on the sofa. Sit yourself down in the armchair. 
  • Stand up. If you stand up, you change your position, so that you are standing, not sitting or lying: Stand up when the teacher comes in. 
  • Turn back. If you turn back, you stop a journey and return to the place you started from: When it got dark, we turned back. 

IN vs. INTO / ON vs. ONTO

It’s easy to notice that “into” is “in+to”. That is, “into” combines the meanings of “in” and “to”. If you talk about the direction, it is more emphatic than just “in”. But we can use “in” instead of “into”:

Put the phone into/in your pocket.

I have put the suitcase into/in the trunk.

Get in/into the car.

We can explain the difference between “on” and “onto” the same way. “Onto” is more emphatic than “on”(talking about the direction):

Put the vase on/onto the table.

She is getting on/onto the bus.

Put the book on/onto that shelf.


Lay (laid; laid) is a transitive verb:

You can lay your jacket across the arm of the chair.

We laid the flowers on the grave.

Lie (lay; lain) is an intransitive verb:

Why are you lying (down) on the ground?

He lay (down) on his back reading a book.

Now, look at the pictures again. Which phrasal verb/verbs can you use to describe them?

Place the cursor on the pictures to see the answers:



  • to get down/up the stairs/steps = to go/walk down/up the stairs/steps
  • picture 3 – (also) fall off the swing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s