English Phrasal Verbs

Practice your English with Caroline Brown


The next verb we're going to look at is 'to set' combined with particles. Here are the first of the most common:

'to set about' is to dealing with something in a particular way.

  • I need to find a new flat but I'm not sure how to set about looking for one.
  • I don't think you are setting about it the right way.

'to set against' means balance one thing against another.

  • The advantages are not so big when set against the disadvantages.
  • We can set our expenses against the tax.

'to be set against' something means to be opposed to doing it.

  • He won't change his mind. He is absolutely set against it.
  • His parents were set against him becoming a musician and made him study engineering.

'to set aside' means to use something, often time or money, for a specific purpose.

  • I have enough money for the deposit set aside.
  • I've set aside Monday and Tuesday to work on it.

'to set back' is to cause a delay.

  • Bad weather was the reason that the launch of the rocket was set back until Monday.
  • The whole project has been set back by the late delivery of some of the parts.

'to set down' something you are holding means to put it down.

  • She lifted up the teapot but set it down again without pouring any tea.
  • The waitress set down an enormous plate of steak and salad in front of me.

'to set down' your ideas or some facts means to record by writing them.

  • Here is the leaflet where we have set down guidelines for our employees.
  • We were all asked to set down our views on what had happened.

'to set in' is when something unpleasant starts and seems likely to continue.

  • It looks as if the rain has set in for the afternoon.
  • Panic didn't really set in until just before I was due to give my presentation.

'to set off' means to start on a journey.

  • Sorry we're late. We didn't set off until half past eight.
  • The weather was perfect when we set off but it was raining when we got back.


exercise 2

exercise 3

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