๐Ÿ“Š๐Ÿ˜Ž 100 Business Phrasal Verbs with Examples

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business phrasal verbs

100 Commonly Used Business Phrasal Verbs with Examples

1. Aim for โ€“ to make it a goal or target.

  • You need to aim for four more clients this month.

2. Ask around โ€“ to ask multiple people to find the answer to something.

  • Tim, could you please ask around and find out what causing this problem?ย 

3. Back up #1 โ€“ To make a copy of something to protect against loss.

  • Please make sure to back up all your work each day on the companyโ€™s server.

4. Back up #2 โ€“ To talk about an earlier point in a conversation.

  • Letโ€™s back up for a minute. You said earlier that the customer couldnโ€™t log in?

5. Bail out โ€“ to save from, or pull out of, failure/loss. (most often using money).

  • In 2008-2009, the US government had to bail out many banks.ย ย 
  1. Bail out of โ€“ to leave quickly when unfinished. (see also: pull out)
  • We had to bail out of the Sydney deal. We didnโ€™t have the manpower to complete it.ย 
  1. Bank on โ€“ to count on something or base plans on expecting it to happen.ย 
  • The design team at Toyota were banking on the new Escobar line to be a success.
  1. Be snowed under โ€“ to have a lot or too much work to do.
  • I am snowed under this week. Can we do it next week?
  1. Booked out โ€“ when all tickets or spaces are already reserved or taken.
  • Our business event is nearly booked out because of ticket pre-orders.
  1. Branch out โ€“ to start something new that is similar and in addition to what you have been doing.
  • The electric car company, Tesla, is branching out into the motorcycle industry.ย 
  1. Break down โ€“ to make something into smaller parts.
  • We need to break down our sales process to see where we can improve it.ย 
  1. Break into โ€“ to enter a new market (with effort).
  • Itโ€™s tough to break into the beauty industry right now.
  1. Bring forward โ€“ to move a deadline or agreed time closer to now.
  • Do you mind if we bring our meeting forward to 3 oโ€™clock?
  1. Bring off โ€“ to successfully achieve something that is difficult to do.
  • Tony promised two times more sales this March. Think he can bring it off?
  1. Bring up โ€“ to begin a discussion on a topic.
  • I would like to bring up the problems weโ€™re facing in our Asian factories.
  1. Burn out โ€“ to become sick or exhausted because of working too much.
  • Jill looks burned out this year. I think the change of job has been tough for her.ย 
  1. Buy out โ€“ to buy a large enough portion of a company to take control of it.
  • Many companies buy out their competitors to increase their market share.
  1. Call back โ€“ to phone someone in reply to their (missed) call.
  • Sarah, could you tell Tom Iโ€™ll call him back later? Iโ€™m going to a meeting right now.
  1. Call for โ€“ to demand or need something.ย 
  • The shareholders are calling for the CEOโ€™s resignation.
  1. Call off โ€“ to cancel.
  • Sorry John, Iโ€™m going to have to call off our business lunch tomorrow.



  1. Carry on โ€“ to continue to do something.
  • Carry on with your lunch. We can discuss it later.
  1. Carry out โ€“ to perform an action.
  • Steve will carry out our social media campaign starting next month.
  1. Cash in on โ€“ to use an event or external opportunity in your benefit (normally for money).
  • Colgate is cashing in on market interest in natural products with a new organic toothpaste.
  1. Cash up โ€“ to keep/hold large amounts of money instead of investing or spending it.
  • Apple is cashed up and ready to buy small tech companies.
  1. Catch on to โ€“ to realize something that is happening.
  • If large media companies donโ€™t catch on to social media quickly, theyโ€™ll go out of business.ย 
  1. Catch up โ€“ to become up to date with current work to be done.
  • I need to catch up with some work I havenโ€™t finished.ย 
  1. Chase up โ€“ to try and get someone to pay a bill.ย 
  • Tesla has a whole team of accountants who chase up unpaid invoices.
  1. Chip in โ€“ to put something in towards a greater goal (normally ideas, work, or money).
  • Jerry, could you chip in and help the guys in the factory today?ย 
  1. Close down โ€“ to permanently stop a business, or part of a business.
  • We are closing down our Mexico factory next quarter.
  1. Close up โ€“ to temporarily stop or close a business (at the end of each day for example).
  • Could you help Sarah close up the shop tonight?ย 
  1. Come up โ€“to happen or be created.
  • Something unplanned has come up and we wonโ€™t make our deadline.
  1. Contract out to โ€“ to give work to someone outside of the company to do.
  • Weโ€™re going to contract our website design out to an Indian companyย 
  1. Cross sell โ€“ to promote or suggest similar products at the time of customers purchase.
  • Companies like Vista Print and Amazon use cross selling to maximize spending.
  1. Cut out โ€“ to get rid of, or take away, something/someone.ย 
  • If we cut out the middle man we can lower our costs.
  1. Deal with โ€“ to handle, work, or interact with, something/someone.
  • Our company deals with dentists all over the country.ย 
  1. Draw up โ€“ to prepare paperwork/contracts/plans/etc. Normally to do with written work.
  • Letโ€™s talk again after Timothy in our legal department draws up a contract.
  1. Drop in/by โ€“ to visit.
  • Greg from head office is going to drop in
  1. Drop off โ€“ to deliver something.
  • The FedEx guy dropped off something for you this morning, sir.ย 
  1. Drum up โ€“ to increase or gain something. Normally business/sales/awareness/customers.
  • Little bakeries are having a hard time drumming up business after Tesco opened its own in-store bakeries.
  1. Fall short โ€“ to not have enough of something. Often money or time.
  • If a cash register falls short, the cashier has to pay the difference themselves.



  1. Fall through โ€“ to not be successful. To fail or lose something.
  • Google had a deal to sell to Yahoo! ten years ago but it fell through.ย 
  1. File away โ€“ to put in organized storage (normally documents, and files)
  • Remember to file away those invoices after youโ€™re finished with them.ย 
  1. Fill in for โ€“ to temporarily replace something or someone.
  • Can you come into work today? We need someone to fill in for Sam, whoโ€™s sick.ย 
  1. Fill out โ€“ to complete or put details into a form or survey.
  • Could you please take the time to fill out our customer survey?ย 
  1. Find out โ€“ look for information or to discover something previously unknown.ย 
  • Tom, please find out what happened to the supplierโ€™s delivery.ย 
  1. Get ahead โ€“ to become successful in your career or business.
  • You have to be tough to get ahead in the finance industry.
  1. Get on โ€“ to make improvement or progress.ย 
  • How did you get on with the marketing plan this week?ย 
  1. Go through โ€“ to read, discuss, or examine something, usually paper.
  • Tom from legal will get back to us after going through the contracts.
  1. Hire out โ€“ to allow others to use a resource you own in return for money.
  • The boss wants to hire out the 3rd floor of our office building to a small business.
  1. Hold off on โ€“ to postpone something until a later date.ย 
  • They will need to hold off on the release of their new phone until they fix the battery.
  1. Hold on โ€“ to wait (usually for a small period of time).ย 
  • Please hold on for a minute until I finish this call.ย 
  1. Hold out โ€“ to wait before taking action or remain in the same difficult situation.
  • Sir, I think we should hold out for a better offer before selling.
  1. Hone in on โ€“ to focus on one thing. Or, to focus down in detail.
  • GoPro has been successful in honing in on the extreme sports market.ย 
  1. Join in on โ€“ to take part in an activity.
  • Letโ€™s get Steve from accounting to join in on this meeting.
  1. Keep up with โ€“ to stay up to date. Or to stay at the same level or speed as something else.
  • Small businesses find it difficult to keep up with technology changes.
  1. Key in โ€“ to type something on a computer or keyboard.
  • Weโ€™re looking for a data entry specialist to key in customerโ€™s purchase history.
  1. Knuckle down โ€“ to focus on the task or job to be done.
  • The design team will have to really knuckle down to finish this by Christmas.
  1. Lay off โ€“ to fire. To tell to leave the company.
  • They had to lay off He was stealing paperclips.
  1. Look into โ€“ to research to find more information.
  • Our office keeps losing paperclips. Can you please look into it Stacy?
  1. Look through โ€“ to examine or read briefly on the surface
  • The team had a quick look through your proposal.ย 



  1. Look up to โ€“ to respect and admire.
  • I know you look up to Larry like a father, which makes this hard.
  1. Make up โ€“ to compensate for something. (also see: Catch up)
  • Thereโ€™s a lot to do today. The office needs to make up for being closed last week.
  1. Measure up โ€“ to be at the right level or good enough to do something.
  • We hired an ex-Apple Marketing Director. I hope he measures up to expectations.ย 
  1. Meet up โ€“ to get together.
  • The department heads are meeting up next week to talk about Larryโ€™s behavior.ย 
  1. note down โ€“ to write something quickly to use again later.
  • Stacy, could you join us and note down the key points to the meeting?ย 
  1. Pencil in โ€“ To make flexible plans for something that can still change.
  • Shall we pencil in next Wednesday at 1 pm for your interview?
  1. Phone up โ€“ to call by phone.
  • Customers have been phoning up with complaints about the new Furby toy.
  1. Pick up โ€“ to increase or improve after a period of slow or no results.
  • Business really has really picked up since the month of June.
  1. Point out โ€“ to bring attention to something.ย 
  • I need to point out that we have not yet decided on new productโ€™s name yet.ย 
  1. Pull out of โ€“ to stop doing something. Or, to stop being a part of something.ย 
  • Many companies are pulling out of their advertising contracts with YouTube.
  1. Put back โ€“to stall or delay something to a later date (also see: Hold off on)ย 
  • The delivery date will be put back by two days because of the hurricane.
  1. Put off โ€“ to know longer feel positive about something.
  • Many Samsung customers were put off by the Note 7 battery problems.
  1. Report Back โ€“ to return to a boss or superior person with new information found.
  • Itโ€™s part of your job to report back any issues you find within the companyโ€™s servers.
  1. Rip off โ€“ when a product/service is expensive in comparison to its value.ย 
  • Some say the iPhone 7 is a rip off because little has been changed since the iPhone 6.ย 
  1. Run by / past โ€“ to check with someone first.
  • Shouldnโ€™t we run it by the supervisor, first?
  1. Run late โ€“ when you will not be somewhere at the planned time.
  • He is running a little late this morning because of traffic.
  1. Run out of โ€“ to not have any more of an item.
  • We are about to run out of printing ink, could you order more, please?
  1. Sell off โ€“ to sell a part of or a whole business.
  • Nokia plans to sell off its mobile phone department to Samsung.ย 
  1. Sell out โ€“ to have sold all items of something with nothing left.
  • We always sell out of that perfume brand during this time of year.
  1. Set up โ€“ to arrange/create. Or, to start a new business or a new department of a business
  • Virgin Airways plans to set up offices in Berlin next year.ย 



  1. Shop around โ€“ to compare prices and products at different places before buying.
  • Most large companies constantly shop around for the cheapest materials.ย 
  1. Sign off on โ€“ to formally approve of something
  • Youโ€™re going to need the boss to sign off on this order.
  1. Sign up โ€“ to agree to receive or to do something.
  • Many website companies want their siteโ€™s visitors to sign up for a newsletter.ย 
  1. Sort out โ€“ to fix or solve a problem.
  • The company had to recall all the phones to sort out the battery problem.ย 
  1. Spell out โ€“ to explain in plain and simple terms.
  • Tech companies need to really spell out their productโ€™s advantages to customers.
  1. Step Down โ€“ to give up their position or title.
  • The CEO of Malaysia Airways stepped down on Tuesday after the news report.
  1. Step up โ€“ to try/work harder
  • Our company needs to step it up if we want to compete with Tesla.
  1. Stock up โ€“ to collect or buy a lot of something.
  • Most restaurants stock up on champagne before New Yearโ€™s Eve.
  1. Take off #1 โ€“ to become highly successful or popular quickly.
  • The Harry Potter books took off even faster than the publisher expected.ย 
  1. Take off #2 โ€“ to not go to work.
  • Boss, can I take Tuesday off to visit my friend in the hospital?
  1. Take on โ€“ to accept or agree to deal with.
  • The boss thinks that youโ€™ve taken on too much work and wants me to help you.ย 
  1. Take over โ€“ to gain control. Or, to do something someone else was responsible for.
  • The Financial controller has taken over the accountants duties.
  1. Talk over โ€“ to discuss a topic for decision.
  • Letโ€™s talk it over tomorrow during the Sales meeting.
  1. Team up โ€“ to work together with another on something.
  • Malcolm and John, you two team up to solve this issue.ย 
  1. Trade in โ€“ to give something old as part of the price paid for new things.
  • All customers get $100 off the new S8 when trading in their old S7.
  1. Trade off โ€“ to negotiate or make a dealย 
  • I had to trade off my paid vacation leave for a smaller workload.
  1. Turn down โ€“ to reject or say no.ย 
  • He turned down my request for a raiseย 
  1. Up sell โ€“ to promote a more premium product option or add-ons during the sales process.
  • McDonaldโ€™s up sells at every opportunity. โ€œWant to make it jumbo size for $1?โ€
  1. Weigh up โ€“ to think about both sides of something. Ie cost vs benefit.
  • A company must weigh up the costs and benefits when changing their pricing.ย 
  1. Work out โ€“to find the solution for something or to calculate something.
  • The boss wants me to work out the total cost per unit.
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