off the cuff: An English learning podcast: Phrasal verbs

off the cuff: An English learning podcast: Phrasal verbs

In episode 13 of off the cuff: An English Learning Podcast: Phrasal Verbs, we are using just that!!! Phrasal verbs! We start off with our typical off the cuff style of improvisation but then we mix things up to use a total of 27 phrasal verbs in just a short conversation. Phrasal verbs are everywhere in English and if you want to understand natives and speak like one, you need to start using them today.

Phrasal verbs from minute 0 – 1

Off the cuff

  • to do something without preparation. To improvise.
    • On out podcast, off the cuff, we do not prepare things beforehand, we try to improvise and go off the cuff with our ideas so that it is more natural for our listeners.

Opened up

open up can mean different things depending on the topic.

  • It can mean to open a door for example.
    • Open up the window and let some air in.
  • It can also mean to start to talk more about yourself and how you feel.
    • If you don’t open up about how you’re feeling, you will never start feeling better.
  • It can mean to become available to new things.
    • Living abroad has really opened her up to new experiences. 
  • Here, Clare is asking Annie if she has been literally out on the street lately since COVID has had everyone inside their homes for so long.
    • I’m having a hard time getting my parents to open up and get outside ever since COVID started.

Floating around

Floating around has two slightly different meanings.

  • If something is floating around it is not far away but you cannot see exactly where.
    • She let the balloon go and it is floating around somewhere outside.
  • If an idea or story floats around, it is repeated by a lot of people.
    • The fact that he is running for governor has been floating around for months.  

Come out of

  • This refers to what we can extract from a situation. It’s the result of a situation.
    • The best thing to come out of me losing my job was finding this new one. I’m much happier now.

Going back

There are three different definitions for this phrasal verb.

  • to return to a place or time.
    • I’d like to go back to when my kids were little again.
  • To be returned.
    • When do the library books need to be returned?
  • To have existed since a certain time.
    • The Cathedral goes back to the 15th century.


There are two definitions for walk through.

  • To check on something in order to find possible problems.
    • I did a walk-through of the school to see what it was like before I enrolled my children there.
  • Giving a detailed explanation of something.
    • Let me walk you through the instructions.

Phrasal verbs from minute 1 – 3.30

Look at

  • to observe or consider something in a certain way.
    • We were looking at buying a new home, but I’ll think we will wait.
    • We were looking at the ducklings in the pond this morning.

Connect with

  • to feel a connection with someone.
    • After 20 years of not seeing each other, Annie connected with her old friend. 

Keep going

  • to continue to do something.
    • Even if you may make some mistakes, you must keep going and eventually you will speak fluently.

Get on

  • to get along. To have a good relationship with someone.
    • He doesn’t really get on with his family ever since the accident.

Bring on

To bring something on can have two different meanings.

  • a request for something to occur.
    • We asked the waiter to bring on the ice cream after we finished dinner.
  • to be the cause of something bad.
    • His lung cancer was brought on by his smoking.

Move on

Although move on has two different meanings, they are very similar.

  • to continue with something.
    • Now that you passed the B2 English test, you should move on to the next level.
  • To leave a place to go somewhere else.
    • I know you miss him, but you really need to move on.

Be/get bogged down

  • to be very busy and occupied doing something, especially something difficult.
    • They’ve been really bogged down at work since it is tax season.

Work out

There are three different meanings for work out.

  • It could mean to go to the gym and do exercise.
    • I like to work out at least 3 times a week.
  • It can also mean for something to go well.
    • I’m so glad your new job is working out for you.
  • To calculate something to find the answer.
    • I can’t work out the answer to this math problem.  

Talk about

  • to make plans to do something in the near future.
    • We are talking about going to Chicago for Christmas.

Turn someone off of something

  • to not like something anymore due to an unpleasant experience.
    • He’s turned off beer ever since he started having stomach problems.

Sink in

  • for something to be clearly understood.
    • It just doesn’t sink in that you are moving next week!

Phrasal verbs minute 3.30 – 4:45

Pick something up

  • to learn something usually without any formal training.
    • Hearing phrasal verbs in a podcast and listening to how they are naturally used with help you pick up on how to use them.
  • To obtain something.
    • I need to stop at the store and pick up some milk.

Get at

  • what someone is trying to say.
    • I think we should just be friends. What are you getting at? Are you breaking up with me?

Be on about / Go on about

  • to be talking about a certain topic in an annoying manner.
    • I am happy they had a nice vacation, but they just kept going on about it all night long.

Come up

There are three different situations in which we can use come up.

  • to move closely to someone.
    • He just came up on me and I got scared.
  • To be mentioned.
    • Your name came up yesterday at school.
  • For something to happen in an unexpected way.
    • I’m sorry I can’t make it tonight, but something has come up.  

Start with

  • first, to begin.
    • First we will start with two cups of flour and we will gradually add the sugar and butter mixture.

Come out

Come out can be used in three different situations.

  • to come out (of the closet) is often referred to LGBTQ telling their family of friends that they are Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender or Queer.
    • He was very nervous about coming out to his parents but they were very understanding and comforting.
  • Come out can also mean to leave somewhere.
    • She finally came out of the bathroom after 10 minutes.
  • To go somewhere with someone, usually for a social meeting.
    • Will you come out with me tonight to see this band play?  

Run away

To run away from something can be physical or psychological.

  • to leave a place where you should be in a secret way.
    • She ran away from home when she was a teenager.
  • To avoid dealing with something difficult.
    • You can’t run away from this conversation.   

Keep up with

  • to continue to be informed about a particular topic.
    • I read The Guardian to keep up with what is happening in the world.

Tune in

  • to watch or listen to a television, radio or podcast programme.
    • Thanks for tuning in and listening to off the cuff. 

Look forward to something

  • to be happy about an upcoming event.
    • I look forward to making our upcoming podcast.

Off the cuff: An English Learning podcast: Phrasal verbs is just one way to hear them being used in a natural conversation, but now it’s time for you to give them a try! Don’t forget to stay tuned to our up-coming podcast teaching vocabulary. We are busy working on it now and hope to have it out as soon as possible.

In the mean time, have a listen to last year’s off the cuff episode about Halloween by clicking here.

Ver nuestros cursos de inglés en la escuela de idiomas de la Cámara de Comercio pinchando aquí.