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Understanding Business English – 8 phrasal verbs you’ll hear in the workplace.

Have you recently moved to Australia? Are you living in Melbourne, Sydney, Perth or Brisbane? Our team of tutors can offer face to face or online tutoring at your office. Here are some terms you’ll need to know today!

English can be crazy at times. Consider the following:

After catching up on your work, you might want to catch up with a friend. However, first you have to catch up to the bus so that you can get to your destination!

‘Catch up’ is a phrasal verb with prepositions that can join it, like ‘on’, ‘with’ and ‘to’.

A phrasal verb is a phrase consisting of a verb and another element, typically either an adverb, as in break down, or a preposition, for example see to, or a combination of both, such as look down on.

Sometimes they are idiomatic. For example, ‘look up’, when used as a phrasal verb, doesn’t mean to raise your eyes to the sky or ceiling. It can mean to search, to ‘look up’ the word in the dictionary. Or to ‘look up to your mother’ – to admire and respect someone.

Phrasal verbs can certainly cause confusion. When and how to use them? What phrasal verbs are used in everyday Australian business English?

Let’s look at some of the most common:

  1. To find out

Definition: to gain knowledge about something

Example: I just found out how to forward my email from one account to another

  1. To catch up

Definition: to meet with someone


to bring an activity to completion or current point

Example: Do you want to catch up later?

I have so much work to catch up on!

  1. To end up

Definition: to eventually reach, do or decide

Example: If we’re not careful, we will end up wasting this opportunity

  1. To check up / check in

Definition: to determine the status of something


To determine the status of someone

Example: I’d like to check up on how the project is going.

I thought I’d check in with you, as it has been 3 months since we last had a meeting.

  1. To go over

Definition: to review

Example: I want to go over last month’s figures with you.

  1. To bring up

Definition: to introduce a topic of conversation

Example: During this meeting, I’d like to bring up several points.

  1. To figure out / sort out/ work out

Definition: to organize or solve a problem

Example: The purpose of today’s meeting is to figure out what went wrong during our last campaign.

  1. To get back (to someone)

Definition: to reply at a later date

Example: Thanks for your email. Ok if I get back to you this afternoon? I will have more information then.

Here at ESL Tutoring, we are the business English experts, we understand your business needs. Let us know what you need – elizabeth@esltutoringservices.com or 0402 316 391. Check out www.esltutoringservices.com for more information.