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English Phrasal Verbs

Practice your English with Caroline Brown

 

These exercises look at the verb 'to work' combined with particles. Here are some of the most common:

'to work against' means to cause problems for someone or something, make it harder to achieve.

  • When you are applying for a job, age often works against you.
  • Their image works against them. They need to change it if they are going to succeed.

'to work away at ' means to continue working hard at something for a long time.

  • When I got back to the office, he was still working away at his report.
  • He's been working away at it all afternoon but you can't really see what he has achieved.

'to work around' something means that you find a way of organizing an activity avoiding any problems.

  • We can't change it. We'll just have to work around it.
  • The deadlines are very short but I'm sure you can find a way to work around them.

'to work off' means to overcome the effects of something by doing something energetic or different.

  • I feel totally stressed. I'm going to go work it off at the gym.
  • We ate too much at lunch so we went out into the garden to work it off.

'to work on' something means you spend time and effort trying to perfect it.

  • In training, he's been working on improving the weak parts of his game.
  • I've been working on my level of fitness before I go on this walking holiday.

'to work out' means to calculate the solution to a mathematical problem.

  • I've never been very good at maths. I couldn't work out the rate per week.
  • The bill is $98, so who can work out how much each of us must pay?

'to work out' also means to think carefully to find a solution to a problem.

  • We don't want a strike. I hope that someone can work out a way to avoid it.
  • Nobody has worked out a solution to this problem. We are still spending too much.

'to work out' also means to do physical exercise to improve your fitness.

  • He runs at the weekend and works out twice a week in the gym.
  • I worked out a lot when I was younger but now I prefer easier exercise like walking!

'to work yourself up' means to make yourself angry or anxious about something.

  • It's not very important. Don't get so worked up about it!
  • He got very worked up about the interview.  He really wanted the job and got very stressed about it.

'to work up to' something means to gradually do more of something until you reach a certain level.

  • He started training with small weights and worked up to 100 kilos.
  • You should start by doing a few minutes exercise and work up to half an hour a day.

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