Helping Learners Understand Spoken English

Common Word Combinations

This list of word combinations will provide you with some common expressions and phrasal verbs. There is a quiz at the end to test your knowledge.

Related post: Tips for Learning Phrasal Verbs


break down (stop functioning) – Her car broke down on the side of the road.

get down (descend) – Get down off that ladder before you hurt yourself.

get down (put in writing) – I need to get this down before I forget.

get down to (begin or start something) – Let’s get down to business.

let down (disappoint) – He let her down again when he didn’t call to say he’d be home late.

put down (stop holding) – She put down the phone.


get out (leave) – You should get out before my father gets home.

get out of (escape) – They’re always trying to get out of doing their chores.

figure out (discover, solve) – Did they ever figure out what was wrong with your car?

work out (have a good result) – I’m so glad that everything worked out between you two.


get over (recover) – She still hasn’t gotten over the loss.

go over (examine) – We went over all the details and figured out a solution.

look over (examine) – After looking over the financial records, they discovered a discrepancy.


get up (rise) – He got up from the chair and left the room.

give up (quit, stop trying) – Don’t give up.

look up (search for) – I looked up the name of the restaurant I was telling you about.

looking up (improving) – Things have been looking up lately.

come up with (think of an idea or plan) – The team came up with a sales plan.

end up (eventually be in a particular situation) – I don’t know how we ended up here.

turn up (reappear, be found) – I lost my keys. Hopefully, they’ll turn up sooner or later.

Word Combinations Quiz

Take the quiz below to test yourself on these common word combinations.

Common Word Combinations

Test your memory of common word combinations

Recommended eBook

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If you’re eager to learn more common word combinations, check out the eBook 1,000 English Collocations in 10 Minutes a Day

Related post: What are collocations?

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Mini-lesson answers for email subscribers

She was running late for her sister’s wedding. The last thing she needed was for her car to break down. As it sputtered to a stop, she took a deep breath. Then she popped the hood, put on her hazard lights, and got out of the car. Twenty minutes later, after being on hold with AAA for ten minutes, she put down her phone. No other cars had passed her. It would probably be at least an hour before the tow truck arrived. She was going to end up missing her sister’s wedding. She felt awful. She hated letting people down, especially her sister. Thinking quickly, she had an idea. She had the perfect way to make it up to her sister. She quickly picked up her phone and called the one person who could get her out of this mess quickly.