Phrasal verbs are a part of everyday conversation for English speakers. The following are commonly used in casual conversation. Understanding them will allow you to confidently have a casual conversation.
10 Phrasal Verbs for Casual Conversation
Be up to
Definition: Doing something.
Example: What have you been up to lately?
Example: What are you up to this morning?
Why this is a useful phrasal verb: This is a common way to casually ask a friend what their plans are or what they are doing.
Definition: To go to someone’s house or location.
Example: Do you want to come over later?
Why this is a useful phrasal verb: This phrasal verb is the most common way to ask your friend to your house.
Definition: To do something or become something that was not in the original plan.
Example: We planned to go to the movies, but we ended up going to the beach because it was a beautiful day.
Example: I wanted to be a surgeon, but I ended up being a dentist.
Why this is a useful phrasal verb: Plans change! The phrasal verb “end up” is a great way to express this.
Definition: To meet socially.
Example: Marianne and I are getting together this weekend for drinks.
Why this is a useful phrasal verb: This phrasal verb is the easiest way to express social plans.
Definition: To help someone.
Example: Thanks for helping out with the cleanup after the party!
Why this is a useful phrasal verb: We all help our friends out when we can.
Definition: Continue doing something; persist.
Example: I can’t keep up with my work lately.
Why this is a useful phrasal verb: We have to keep up with many things: our jobs, our homework, even the lives of our friends.
Definition: To meet someone unexpectedly.
Example: Guess who I ran into the other day? My old teacher!
Why this is a useful phrasal verb: We run into people we know often: RUN INTO expresses this better than saying “I saw _____.”
Definition: To leave (casual/slang).
Example: I have to take off in about 5 minutes. I have to meet my Mom.
Why this is a useful phrasal verb: This is a common way to casually say that you need to leave. English speakers use it often.
Definition: To produce an unexpected result.
Example: I was worried about ordering a lavender coffee, but it turned out to be delicious.
Example: How did your cake turn out? Did you like that new recipe?
Why this is a useful phrasal verb: Things do not always go as we planned. This phrasal verb expresses this situation perfectly (and casually)!
Note: this phrasal verb is slightly different than END UP, although both refer to an end result. END UP focuses more on the outcome or result, while TURN OUT focuses more on producing the result.
Definition: To arrive.
Example: I think everyone is showing up around 7:30.
Why this is a useful phrasal verb: This is a casual way to say “arrive” and is often used in conversation. “Arrive” is more formal.
To learn more about phrasal verbs, read some of our other articles: