VOCABULARY: 17 Phrasal verbs with ON
add on (separable)
to increase or enhance something by joining or uniting something to it
We’ve decided to add on another bedroom to the house.
bone up on (inseparable)
to review, study, or practice a subject for a short period of time
I need to bone up on my math as I have a university entrance exam at the end of the month.
bring on (separable)
to cause to appear
Bring on the birthday cake! No, I don’t mind celebrating my birthday 10th time this month.
brush up on (intransitive)
to practice; to improve your skill or knowledge
Max went back to school to brush up on mathematics. I’m afraid our company will suffer without him.
carry on (intransitive)
Max was not sure if he could carry on any longer. Apparently, mathematics isn’t his cup of tea. Do we have to find another accountant?
catch on (intransitive)
to become popular
Max is still hoping that being unemployed, short, and fat will catch on.
cheer on (separable)
to support or encourage with shouts of praise
The crowd at the marathon cheered the runners on.
come on (inseparable) (intransitive)
to advance progressively
Our soccer game ended as darkness came on.
to project a particular personal image
Greg comes on as a very nice electrician.
to start running, become available
I wish the electricity would come on again. It’s dark in here.
drag on (intransitive)
to continue for what seems to be an extremely long time
The politician’s speech dragged on and on. It made me sure in one thing though, politicians and diapers have one thing in common. They should both be changed regularly, and for the same reason.
hold on (intransitive)
Hold on a moment, son. I need to tie my shoe. Emmm.. can you help me?
keep on (intransitive)
No matter how many times you fail, you must keep on trying.
look down on (inseparable)
to consider inferior
The rich lady looked down on the poor homeless people in the park. She works in McDonald’s so she can afford to behave this way.
move on (intransitive)
to progress onwards
Let’s move on. I’m tired of talking about that.
put on (separable)
to dress oneself with; to wear
Mary put her best dress on to go on a date with Max.
to produce; perform
They went to the theatre, where the young group of actors put on a great show.
to fool; mislead for amusement
Have you got a new job? You’re putting me on!
take on (separable)
undertake; assume; acquire
Max took on a lot of new responsibilities in McDonald’s.
to contend against an opponent
I think I can take on Mike Tyson now!
try on (separable)
to put clothes on to see if it fits
Be sure to try athletic shoes on before you buy them.
turn on (separable)
to switch on; to cause to operate or flow
Max and Mary were bored at their new home, so they turned the TV on.
to excite pleasurably
– Max, what does turn you on?
– Mathematics turns me on and a free big mac at work. Make something to eat Mary.