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English Phrasal Verbs

Practice your English with Caroline Brown

 

Today we're going to start looking at the verb 'to look' combined with particles. Here are some of the most common:

'to look after' means to take care of someone or something.

  • When I have to travel on business, my parents usually look after my children.
  • I look after the office when my colleagues are away on business.

'to look ahead' means to think about and plan the future.

  • We have to look ahead and try to estimate our needs for the next few years.
  • In this business, it's very difficult to look ahead and predict what will happen.

'to look at' means to read something quickly and not very thoroughly.

  • Could you look at my report and tell me if you think it's OK?
  • I looked at your figures and they seem fine to me.

'to look at' can also mean to investigate or think carefully about a problem or situation.

  • Costs are getting out of control. We need to look at them closely.
  • John looked at renting cars but it would be too expensive.

'to look back' means to think about something that happened in the past.

  • I realise I was very naive when I look back.
  • If we look back over the last three years, we can see many times when we were very successful.

'to look down on' means to think something or someone is inferior.

  • The people who work in Headquarters always look down on the people in the branches.
  • Don't look down on him just because he left school at 16. He has been very successful.

'to look for' means to try to find something lost or that you need.

  • My assistant is leaving at the end of the month. I'm looking for a new one.
  • He has been looking for a job for ages now.

'to look forward to' means to feel excited and happy about something that is going to happen.

  • I'm seeing him on Tuesday. I'm really looking forward to it.
  • We're looking forward to our holidays. It will be wonderful to get away.

'to look in' means to visit someone for a short time.

  • I'll look in on my way home and we can have a cup of tea.
  • Look in on Jenny and check that she is still working.

'to look into' means to examine a problem or situation.

  • My boss asked me to look into ways to do it more efficiently.
  • We have set up a working group to look into the problem.

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