🇬🇧 World Cup Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs pop up everywhere! This post is a way of saying goodbye to England’s footballers, until it all kicks off again in a few weeks…

[How many phrasal verbs can you spot? And how many of them do you understand without having to look up in a dictionary?]

England have been knocked out of the world cup. They didn’t give up but they fell short at the semi-final stage. Some people were very worked up about this; someone I saw in the town centre even threw up after the match – but that could have been for other reasons.

So now we can carry on with our normal lives, and some of us need to work off the weight we have put on. Now, instead of sitting on the sofa watching TV and drinking beer, maybe we can take up a new sport…

Never give up - frog and heron illustration

Remember: most phrasal verbs have a more formal equivalent which is usually a Latinate word, and many have two meanings – one literal and one abstract. These are the phrasal verbs that appeared above:

phrasal verb


meaning/example sentence

second meaning?

pop up


Appear or occur suddenly


kick off


the first action of a football match

“The match kicks off at 7pm”

to start, more generally

look up


(of a word) to search for

(of a situation) to improve

“Things are really looking up”

knock out

(very often used in the passive voice)


to remove a player or team from a tournament by beating them

to make someone unconscious

“The boxer knocked out his opponent”

give up


to stop trying

to stop doing something

fall short


to not have the ability to achieve the success that was expected


throw up



carry on


We carried on singing, even when the players had left the pitch


work off

get rid of

To lose something by work or effort


take up


to start something new, usually a new hobby