Phrasal Verbs and Idioms for English Speaking | Lesson 2 – Elementary Level

1. to dress up: to wear formal clothes, to dress very nicely

  • Ex: We should definitely dress up to go to the theater.
  • Ex: You don’t have to dress up for Mike’s party.
2. at last: finally, after a long time.

  • Ex: We waited for hours and then the train arrived at last.
  • Ex: Now that I am sixteen, at last I can drive my parents’ car.
3. as usual: as is the general case, as is typical

  • Ex: George is late for class as usual. This seems to happen every day.
  • Ex: As usual, Dora received first prize in the swimming contest. It’s the third consecutive year that she has won.
4. to find out: get information about, to determine
This idiom is separable only when a pronoun is used, as in the second example.

  • Ex: Will you please try to find out what time the airplane arrives?
  • Ex: I’ll call right now to find it out.
5. to look at: give one’s attention to; to watch

  • Ex: The teacher told us to look at the blackboard and not at our books.
  • Ex: I like to walk along a country road at night and look at the stars.
6. to look for: to try to find, to search for

An adverb phrase such as all over can be put between the verb and preposition, as in the second example, however, the idiom cannot be separated by a noun or pronoun.

  • Ex: He’s spent over an hour looking for the pen that he lost.
  • Ex: So there you are! We’ve looked allover for you.
7. all right: acceptable, fine; yes, okay

This idiom can also be spelled alright in informal usage.

  • Ex: He said that it would be all right to wait in her office until she returned.
  • Ex: Do you want me to turn off the TV? Alright, if you insist.
8. all along: all the time, from the beginning (without change)

  • Ex: She knew all along that we’d never agree with his plan.
  • Ex: You’re smiling! Did you know all along that I’d give you a birthday present?
9. little by little: gradually, slowly (also: step by step)

  • Ex: Karen’s health seems to be improving little by little.
  • Ex: If you study regularly each day, step by step your vocabulary will increase
10. to tire out: to make very weary due to difficult conditions or hard effort (also: to wear out)

  • Ex: The hot weather tired out the runners in the marathon.
  • Ex: Does studying for final exams wear you out? It makes me feel worn out!
11. to call on: to ask for a response from; to visit (also: to drop in on)

  • Ex: Jose didn’t know the answer when the teacher called on him.
  • Ex: Last night several friends called on us at our home.
  • Ex: Shy don’t we drop in on Sally a little later?
12. never mind: don’t be concerned about it; ignore what was just said

  • Ex: When he spilled his drink on my coat, I said, “Never mind. It needs to be cleaned anyway.”
  • Ex: So you weren’t listening to me again. Never mind; it wasn’t important.