Natural English: More on Phrasal Verbs!

dog_head_out_window_funnyIt looks like my recent post on phrasal verbs got quite popular among students and so I decided to write another one. It’s difficult to learn phrasal verbs because most of the time it’s just a matter of learning them by heart. This is why today’s post is about two verbs that I’m sure are part of your everyday language : ‘to go’ and ‘to come’. Here are some phrasal verbs that are often used instead of ‘go’ and ‘come’.

to head out

To head out means to leave a place and go somewhere: ex. What time do we need to head out?
To head is followed by ‘for/to‘ when you add your destination: ex.We’re heading out for London in an hour.
To say ‘I’m heading out‘ you can also use ‘I’m on my way out’. 
To head (somewhere) can also be used without ‘out’:
a: Where are you?I’ve been waiting for you for more than two hours.
b: Sorry, I’m heading there now!  BUT I’m heading to/for the pub now.

to head back

If you head back you start going back to the place where you came from: ex. It’s late, I’m going to head back home in a bit

to pop out

To pop out means to go out from a building for a short time (British): ex. I’ll pop out to the shop at the corner to buy some bread.

to pop in / to drop by

If you pop in, you go somewhere for a short time and without much planning (British): ex. I’ll pop in tomorrow for a coffee 

to come over / to come around

To come over means to go and visit someone (usually at their place): ex. You should come over at some point this week

to be off

To be off has the same meaning as ‘to leave’ a place: ex. I’m late! I’d better be off now.

To put stuff in context, here’s a chat between two neighbours who bump into each other on the stairs.

a: Hi, where are you going?
b: I’m going out, I was gonna go to the shop to buy milk, what about you?
a: I’m going to work. Do you wanna come to my flat later tonight?
b: Yeah sure, mate, I have to go to my mum’s but I’ll come after that.
a: Cool, when you come back, could you buy some beers?
b:Yeah sure. I’ll text you when I come back so you know what time I’ll arrive at your flat.
a: Okay, it was nice to bump into you, I’m leaving, I’m late for work.
b: Yeah I should go too.

Here’s the same dialogue, replacing ‘go’ and ‘come’ with the phrasal verbs above. Doesn’t it sound more chatty?

a: Hi, where are you going?
b: I’m heading out, I was gonna pop out to the shop to buy milk, what are you up to*?
a: I’m on my way to work. Do you wanna pop in later tonight?
b: Yeah sure mate, I have to drop by my mum’s but I’ll come around after that.
a: Cool, on your way back could you buy some beers?
b:Yeah sure. I’ll text you when I start heading back so you know what time I’ll come over.
a: Okay, it was nice to bump into you, I’m off, I’m late for work.
b: Yeah I should make a move too. (to make a move= to leave a place and start going somewhere)

* Sorry I couldn’t help including another phrasal verb: ‘what are you up to?’ simple means ‘what are you doing?’


8 thoughts on “Natural English: More on Phrasal Verbs!

  1. Are there correct: “I am heading out there” or “I am heading there out”?
    Thank you so much for your reply

  2. Not really.
    You use ‘to head out’ to mean ‘to go OUT” while ‘to head’ simply means ‘to go’ somewhere
    (i.e. I’m heading to the pub or I’m heading to work).You could say ‘to head out there’ If you were still in your house and about to go OUT to reach a place that has already been mentioned in the conversation (=there).

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