Many English verbs consist of two parts: a base verb and a preposition or an adverb particle. When the verb is used with the adverb particle, the combination is called a phrasal verb. There are a very large number of these in English, and the particle that follows the verb changes the meaning of the phrasal verb in idiomatic ways.
The meaning of the phrasal verbs is often very different from the meanings of the two words taken separately. In order to understand the meaning of a phrasal verb, you may have to refer to the dictionary.
At the same time, some particles can be separated from the verb so that a noun and pronoun can be inserted, whereas other particles cannot be separated from the verb; in addition, still others can be used in a separated form or as a unit. Moreover, phrasal verbs can be intransitive -- not followed by a direct object – or transitive – followed by a direct object. Therefore, phrasal verbs can be separable, inseparable, transitive (add object) or intransitive (no object).
Here is an alphabetical list of frequently used phrasal verbs with definitions and examples. In cases where the phrasal verb can be either separated or used as a single unit, examples are given of both forms.