Separable Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are verbs that have a preposition that changes the meaning of the verb from its base form. If the verb is separable, it means that the verb and the preposition can either be together in the sentence or divided with the object in between.
If you use a pronoun to replace the object, the pronoun must go between the verb and preposition.
Unfortunately, there is not surefire way to tell if a phrasal verb is separable or inseparable. It just takes a bit of memorization.

Here is a list of some separable phrasal verbs.

Add up – to make a sum, to add the total
The waiter added up the bill. / The waiter added the bill up. / The waiter added it up.

Bring up – to start a topic of conversation
She always brings up her love life in conversations. / She always brings her love life up in conversations. / She always brings it up in conversations.

Call off – to cancel
Call off the party. / Call the party off. / Call it off.

Draw up  – to write or put together forms and papers
They drew up the divorce papers. / They drew the divorce papers up. / They drew them up.

Eat up – to eat, usually happily or quickly
They ate up the cake in four minutes. / They ate the cakes up in four minutes. / They ate it up in four minutes.

Figure out – to solve a problem or find the answer
We figured out the impossible math problem. / We figured the impossible math problem out. / We figured it out.

Give out – to distribute
Why did you give out all your money to strangers? / Why did you give all your money out to strangers? / Why did you give it all out to strangers?

Hold up – to rob or to delay
The man held up the bank. / The man held the bank up. / The man held it up.

Iron out – to get rid of, eliminate
He ironed out the wrinkles. / He ironed the wrinkles out. / He ironed them out.

Jack up – to raise or lift up
We jacked up the car to change the flat tire. / We jacked the car up to change the flat tire. / We jacked it up to change the flat tire.

Kick out – to banish, to force to leave
The bouncer kicked out the drunk man. / The bouncer kicked the drunk man out. / The bouncer kicked him out.

Let down – to disappoint
Don’t let down your mom. / Don’t let your mom down. / Don’t let her down.

Make up – invent or create (a story, fantasy or lie)
Did you make up this story? / Did you make this story up? / Did you make it up?

Pay back – to repay a debt
They paid back the loan as fast as they could. / They paid the loan back as fast as they could. / They paid it back as fast as they could.

Quiet down – to lower the volume
She quieted down the crying baby. / She quieted the crying baby down. / She quieted it down.

Run off – to force to leave
The dog ran off the burglar. / The dog ran the burglar off. / The dog ran him off.

Show off  – to brag or show something with pride
The girl showed off her awards to anyone who would look. / The girl showed her awards off to anyone who would look. / The girl showed them off to anyone who would look.

Take over – to claim control of, to take by force
The military took over the country. / The military took the country over. / The military took it over.

Use up – to use the last of something, to consume everything
You used up all of my shampoo! / You used all of my shampoo up! / You used it all up!

Vacuum up – to use a vacuum to clean something up.
She vacuumed up the dust. / She vacuumed the dust up. / She vacuumed it up. 

Wipe off  – to clean by brushing off
He wiped off the messy baby’s face. / He wiped the messy baby’s face off. / He wiped it off.



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