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