5 Phrasal Verbs with the Verb “Take” you can use in Business English


phrasal verbsTo most English Language Learners, phrasal verbs are their worst nightmare. Well, that’s what my clients tell me!

Whilst phrasal verbs are simply verbs + prepositions, their meaning and how they are used can totally change depending on what preposition follows the verb.

The five most common verbs used in phrasal verbs are: get, come, go, take and putI  plan to write about each verb in separate blog posts and give examples of the different meanings the phrasal verbs have in the context of Business English.

In this blog post, I want to start with the verb “take”.

Phrasal Verbs with Take

It’s fair to say that in the English Language, rather than using an appropriate verb we often use a phrasal verb instead. To make matters worse, the phrasal verb can mean different things depending on the context of the sentence.

This, of course, can cause great confusion to language learners when doing business in English.

Let’s consider these phrasal verbs and their equivalent, alternative verb.

1. Take On

  • I’m afraid I’ve taken on too much work. I don’t know how I’m going to cope. (accepted)
  • We have just taken on two new members of staff. (employed)

2. Take Down

  • I took down some notes during the Chairman’s speech. (wrote)

3. Take Over

  • Last year they took over ABC company. (got control of)

4. Take Off

  • The company really took off once their latest version of the video game was launched. (made great progress)
  • The company has decided to take ten percent off the price of their designer shoes. (reduce the price)

5. Take out

  • We have taken out a company loan to help with the business. (borrowed)
  • I have taken out an insurance policy to cover our key employees. (obtained)

Can you think of other phrasal verbs with “take” in the context of Business English? Do you use them in your communication – spoken and written in English?

I hope you found this post useful. Please do share it with your colleagues.

Ciao for now.


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Source: In Company Upper Intermediate (2004) Mark Powell, MacMillan

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15 thoughts on “5 Phrasal Verbs with the Verb “Take” you can use in Business English”

        1. Erlinda,
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  1. This has been a nice help, just like your posts always are. However, I need more help and should be really glad if you could oblige me. There are various things I need help with in English grammar in particular, such as prepositions. Broadly/generally speaking, just as phrasal verbs, which are comprised of verbs and prepositions, confuse many, so too do prepositions alone, which is in itself a bit intimidating. Sometimes they’re a nightmare and I end up sweating all over trying to work out which of a couple of prepositions would best fit in. So, if you could just blow/clear away the cobwebs for me…I’d be so much the better for it. And I know you’re always one for helping people out. Needless to say, you’ve made a fantastic job of teaching English to learners and edifying their phase of learning with the needful, necessary or essential inputs. Kudos to you! Now, to proceed with my doubts pertaining to English grammar. As I was saying, I encounter trouble with prepositions pretty/quite often. Let’s take a look at one such instance.
    1. Can you spot the subtle nuances in meaning among these?
    a. I work at an airline.
    b. I work in an airline.
    c. I work for an airline.
    d. I work with an airline.
    Additionally, is the phrase “I work on an airline” right in any way; or would be with some kind of modification to it yet retaining the preposition ‘on’?
    Now, on being asked, someone told me ‘I work for an airline’ was the most general, and the one he would expect most
    people to say; while the ‘at’ in ‘I work at an airline’ suggested physical location, so if someone
    said they worked ‘at’ an airline he would expect they meant they worked in the
    office, rather than, say, on the planes or even at
    the airport. ‘I work with an airline’ suggested that the person perhaps was not
    employed by the airline directly, but worked ‘with’ them instead, perhaps self-employed or as a
    ‘I work in an airline’ seemed incorrect to
    him, just as it does to me, and he couldn’t see a
    situation where it
    would be used.
    ‘I work on an airline’ was also incorrect, but one
    could say “I work on airliners”, meaning the
    actual planes rather than the company.
    So far, so good.
    Now, I’d really care to know your opinion about it, and how correct you think each is, and how the phrases differ according to the given situation.

    1. Hi Protege,
      My apologies for the delay in replying to your comment. I needed some time to think about this.

      I would say that:

      a. I work at an airline is incorrect. The preposition “at” suggests physical location as your friend confirmed. So it would be more correct to say “I work at the airport or at the station”. However, we don’t say “I work at the office”. You say instead ” I work in an office”.

      b. I work in an airline is incorrect as “in” suggests to be physically in something. You can work in an airplane but airline is not a physical object.

      c. I work for an airline is correct. You work for an employer.

      d. I work with an airline is correct in the case that you mentioned. For example, “you can work with an airline to promote better practices’ or as a freelancer or consultant. In other words, you are not employed by the airline.

      I work on airliners is incorrect as “airliners” is not a word in English.

      I hope this helps.

      Prepositions are tricky as you have just outlined here!

      Take care


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