– Prepositional Phrasal-Verbs – Letter L –
(to) Lay Down The Law – This is an idiomatic verb phrase which is used to mean: To be very strict about the rules of some situation, or to create very strict rules for some situation where-in, previously, things have been too relaxed, informal, or not well respected… So if a former manager was not strict with his or her employees, and thus, employees were not following proper work procedures – and a new manager comes in and *lays down the law* – this means that he or she will ensure that all rules are followed precisely, and will probably create some new rules as well. Thus, the work environment for the employees will probably be very tense, as they will all most likely be “in trouble” for past behavior.
(to) Leave Out – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which is used to describe the act of choosing to not add something. If I decided to write thisnextlineofwordswithoutanyspaces, then I could say that I chose to *leave out* the spaces between the words. This is different than omitting because, (to) omit something means that something was added but then taken away later. To *leave out* means to never have added (whatever) in the first place.
- (to) Let (someone) Down – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Phrasal-Verb, which can also be used as a Phrasal Adjective which is used to mean the same thing as being disappointed. This probably comes from the fact that we consider feeling good to be a “high” feeling and when one is disappointed, they feel “low” so they are “down” from the previous good feelings and this is done because of the actions (or in-actions) of another or others…
“I was incredibly let down by my family who never even told me that they were selling my grandmothers house which had all of my belongings stored in it. It’s always a terrible disappointment to find out that people you love, clearly don’t care about you.”
(to) Let (someone) Off – This is a idiomatic phrasal verb which is used to means: To allow someone to escape punishment for something which he/she did wrong… “I was facing over a year in prison just for being in the back seat of a car that was carrying drugs. But once I got a lawyer to argue for me that I was only getting a ride from the owner, and that I had no idea they were in there, I was released from jail and *let off* off all charges against me.”
(to) Let Up – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which is used to say that some un-pleasant or un-wanted condition has stopped or the condition has changed. This phrase can be used to talk about any sort of condition, but is most often used to speak about weather conditions… “It’s been raining for almost 40 days and 40 nights now! I hope it *lets up* soon or we’re going to be drifting in this boat forever!” 😉
(to) Lie Through (one’s) Teeth – This if an idiomatic phrase which is used to mean that a person is COMPLETELY lying and it is unbelievable (to just about anyone else) that the person lying would even think that others would believe him, but somehow the lier thinks that he is really clever – (Notice also that the phrase is separated by the pronoun)… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFPOstgw3rk
(to) Look Forward To (something) – This is a very common phrase used to describe something (usually an action or event) that will happen in the future that one is either excited about or is anxious for (in a good way), because that person either knows, believes, or feels that it will be an enjoyable or beneficial experience… “I’m really *looking forward to* retirement. It will be great to just read books, go swimming and do art all day long.” / “I *look forward to* the day when I don’t have any obligations except those that I chose for myself.” – (Notice also that the phrase can be used in the infinitive or gerund form.)
(to) Look (someone) Up – This is an informal separable phrasal verb that is used to mean: To contact someone at a future date. It is also sometimes (but not always) used as a form of flirtation… “It was really nice to meet you. I wish we had more time to get to know each other. *Look me up* if you are ever in town again.” (flirtation) – “I’m going to be in the area for a conference next month. I’ll *look you up* when I get to town.” (can be just friendly, not flirtatious.)
(to) Look Up (something) / (to) Look (something) Up – This is a separable phrasal verb that is used to mean: To search for; to find; to look for. It is most commonly used to talk about words and information… “The best way to find the meaning of a word is to *look it up* in the dictionary.” – “You can *look up* just about anything on the internet these days.”
(to be) Looking Over (one’s) Shoulder – This is an idiomatic verb phrase which actually acts as an adjectival phrase to describe one’s state of being. It comes from the situation wherein a person thinks, feels, or actually is being followed and the uncomfortable feeling has them actually looking over his or her shoulder. So idiomatically, we use this phrase to describe when a person has the feeling that he or she is being followed, watched, observed, scrutinized, etc…. “After all of his criminals associates were arrested, and the police contacted him about his involvement with the Mafia, George was sure that he was being watched, and was constantly *looking over his shoulder* whenever he was in public.”
(to) Lose (one’s) Bearing – The word “bearing” has the meaning of: direction or location in relation to some fixed point. So this phrase is a way of saying that one does not know exactly where he or she is, or which direction is which. It is used figuratively to mean: to not really know what’s going on and/or what to do about the situation… “I got involved with a girl who was first my friend because she was very nice and I knew that she loved me, but she turned out to be a complete psychopath and after three years with her, I completely *lost my bearing* and didn’t know what to do with my life.”
(to) Lose Touch With (someone) – This phrasal verb is used to describe when a period of time passes from the last time that one communicates with another and now, it is not certain how to actually contact the other… “When I was in elementary school, I had a friend name Ben, who I was very close with, but after I moved away, we lost touch with each other, and now I don’t even know where he is or what he’s doing with his life.”