Phrasal verbs beginning with letter A

Here is a list of phrasal verbs beginning with the letter A. Each phrasal verb is followed by its meaning or definition. Example sentences are also given.

Account for

When you account for something you explain the reason for it.

  • He couldn’t account for his absence from work.
  • How are you going to account for the money you lost in gambling?
  • She will have to account for every penny she spends.

Act out

To act out is to express your feelings, fantasy, frustration etc.

  • He was acting out his frustration by being overly aggressive.

Act up

When a person acts up, s/he behaves badly. When a machine acts up, it fails to work properly.

  • My computer has started acting up again.
  • My nephews are very naughty. If their mother isn’t around, they will act up.

Add in

To add something in is to include it.

  • Did you add in the cost of the stabilizer?

Add in can also mean mix with something else.

  • Add in milk and sugar and stir well.

Add up

When things add up, they make sense.

  • Her explanations just don’t add up.

To add numbers up is to calculate their total.

  • Please add up the numbers.

Allow for

To allow for something is to consider it.

  • We have to allow for the possibility that we might lose the election. (= We have to consider the possibility that we might lose the election.)

Answer back

To answer back is to reply rudely.

  • I don’t like children who answer back.

Answer for

To answer for is to take the responsibility for something.

  • I don’t understand why I should answer for his misdeeds.
  • Someday you are going to answer for your deeds before God.

Apply for

To apply for a job is to express your desire to have it by filling in a form.

  • My mother insisted that I should apply for that job.

Ask after

To ask after somebody is to ask for information about them.

  • Whenever we met, he would ask after my kids.

Ask about, ask around (inseparable)

To ask around is to ask several people for information.

  • I asked around, but no one could give any information about my brother.

Ask for

To ask for something is to request it.

  • They have written to the Prime Minister asking for his intervention.
  •  When you buy stuff and pay by cash, don’t forget to ask for a receipt.
  • Anyone who posts inappropriate photos on social networks is asking for trouble.

Ask in

To ask somebody in is to invite them into your home.

  • Why don’t you ask them in?

Ask out

To ask somebody out is to ask them if they would like to come with you to a restaurant, theater etc.

  • I am going to ask her out until she says ‘Yes’.
  • To ask out your best friend’s girlfriend is to ask for trouble.

Ask over

To ask somebody over is to invite them to your house.

  • I think we should ask them over to dinner.

Ask round

To ask somebody round is to invite them to your house.

  • We have asked them round for dinner tomorrow
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