15 English Phrasal Verbs in Use: Sports & Health

One of the best ways to learn English phrasal verbs is to see them in context. This lesson will teach you 15 common English phrasal verbs related to sports and health by showing each one in use in an example sentence.

Sports Phrasal Verbs

“I like to work out in the early morning, because that’s when I have the most energy.”

Work out means exercise. It can also be used as a noun (one word): “That was a great workout! I’m gonna be sore tomorrow!” (sore = your muscles are hurting)

“Time to go to the gym – I need to work off the cheesecake I had last night!”

Work off is a special phrasal verb used to describe doing exercise to lose the weight or extra calories you gained by eating food.

“Let’s warm up with a short run.”

To warm up is to do light or easy exercise in preparation for more intense exercise later. It’s important to warm up in order to avoid sports injuries.

“My daughter is going to try out for the school’s most competitive soccer team.”

When you want to join a sports team, but the team doesn’t accept everybody, then you need to try out for the team – this means demonstrate your abilities so that the team’s manager can evaluate you and decide if you are good enough to join the team.

“The football player passed out due to dehydration.”

To pass out is to lose consciousness (you can also say “black out”). When a person who has passed out begins to wake up, you can use another phrasal verb: “I think he’s coming around.”

“The boxer threw a single punch and immediately knocked out his opponent.”

Differently from “pass out,” which happens naturally, knock out means to hit somebody and make them lose consciousness.

“He didn’t finish the marathon – he gave up around the 20th mile.”

To “give up” is to stop doing something, to desist.

15 English Phrasal Verbs in Use: Sports & Health Espresso English

Health Phrasal Verbs

“I can’t breathe – my nose is all stuffed up thanks to my allergies.”

If your nose is stuffed up, it means it is blocked and air can’t pass through. The opposite of a stuffed up nose is a runny nose – when your nose is dripping liquid mucus.

“I feel a little queasy – I think I’m gonna throw up.”

Throw up means to vomit. The word “queasy” is another way to say nauseous, when your stomach is agitated.

“My ankle swelled up like a balloon when I sprained it.”

If a part of your body “swells up,” it means it gets bigger than normal because of fluid accumulating under the skin. Swelling indicates an injury or another health problem. The expression “like a balloon” emphasizes the extent of the swelling, and the verb “sprain” refers to an injury of the tendons or ligaments – the connections between your muscles and bones. Another way to say this is “my [body part] is swollen.”

“I’m overweight; the doctor says I need to cut down on fried foods.”

The phrasal verbs “cut down on” and “cut back on” mean “to reduce.”

“Don’t get too close to me – I think I’m coming down with a cold.”

If you are “coming down with” a disease, it means you’re starting to get sick. This phrasal verb is usually used with either a cold or the flu.

If you are recovering from a disease, you are “getting over” it: “I’ll be back at work tomorrow; I’ve finally gotten over the stomach virus I had.”

“You’ll need a prescription-strength ointment to get rid of that rash.”

To “get rid of” something is to eliminate it.

A rash is an unusual colored area on your skin, which can be caused by allergy, disease, or infection; an ointment is a medicated cream or lotion that helps your skin heal. If a medication is “prescription-strength,” that means it is so strong that you need a doctor’s written permission to buy it.

“She’s in critical condition, but the doctors say she’ll pull through.”

The phrasal verb “pull through,” when used in the context of an injury or illness, means the person will survive; the person will continue living and will not die. This is usually used in relation to recovering from very serious, life-threatening health problems.

“Peter’s father passed away last night. The funeral is on Wednesday.”

“Passed away” means “died.” This phrasal verb is an example of a euphemism – a word that is rather indirect, which is used to avoid talking too directly about sensitive topics.


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15 English Phrasal Verbs in Use: Sports & Health Espresso English

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