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17 Business English Phrasal Verbs

Having a job at an English-speaking workplace means hearing a lot of English business vocabulary you may not be familiar with (at first)—and that includes phrasal verbs. While phrasal verbs can often be used in many different situations outside of the workplace, there are certain ones that can commonly be used in the business world.

Let’s discuss some of the most common phrasal verbs you might hear at work!

1. Back (someone) up

→ To support someone 

You should tell the owner that the manager is treating you unfairly. I’ll back you up.

2. Call (someone) back

→ To return a phone call

She’s out of the office right now. I’ll ask her to call you back as soon as she returns.

3. Call off

→ To cancel

The CEO is sick today, so we’re going to call off the meeting.

4. Carry out

→ To perform/complete a task

To be successful in this position, you should be able to carry out your duties with very little supervision.

5. Catch up

→ To do or complete something that you didn’t do earlier

The worst part about going on vacation is all the work I have to catch up on when I get back! 

6. Check in (with someone)

→ To speak with someone to receive and/or give information 

I’ll check in with the client after I’ve figured out the cost of their project. 

7. Close down

→ To stop business operations, usually permanently

She really loved working at the salon but they had to close down because they weren’t making enough profits.

8. Cut back

→ To reduce in quantity or amount 

The department has to cut back on costs this year, so we’re not getting our usual bonus cheque.

9. Deal with

→ To take action in order to manage a situation or solve a problem

I get really tired of dealing with employees who don’t submit their travel expenses correctly.

10. Fall through

→ To fail or suddenly stop

My manager is really upset because the deal with the international hotel chain fell through.

11. Join in

→ To participate

If it’s okay with you, I’d love to join in on the Zoom call this afternoon.

12. Lay off

→ To end a worker’s employment, usually because there is not enough work or money to pay them 

We received a company-wide email today that said they’re going to lay off 20 employees next week.

13. Pitch in

→ To help accomplish a task 

We have to take inventory of all of our products. It’s a big job, but if everyone pitches in, we’ll be done much faster.

14. Run (something) by (someone)

→ To tell someone about something, usually to make sure it’s okay with them

I think we can give that client a discount, but I’ll run it by the manager first to make sure.

15. Set up

→ To arrange or plan something 

I’d be very happy to hear more about your ideas for training and development. Why don’t we set up a meeting?

16. Step down

→ To resign from/leave your job or another important position 

When the CFO was accused of stealing company funds, she decided to step down.

17. Take over

→ To begin controlling a situation 

He’s leaving the company in two weeks, so I’m going to take over his accounts.

Andrea is a Gabby Academy coach and education technolgy writer based in Vancouver, Canada.