Phrasal-Verbs – Letter T (With Prepositions)

–  Prepositional Phrasal-Verbs – Letter T  –


  • (to) Take Off [business/venture/project/idea] – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which is probably taken from rocket flight.  As a rocket goes straight up VERY fast, this phrase is used to describe something (business, etc.) which becomes very successful, very quickly, and is usually used to imply that the success is much more pronounced than anticipated…  “Michael Jackson had already achieved a great deal of success in his life, but when the “Thriller” album was released, his career absolutely *took off*!”  –  (Note Also: this phrasal verb is almost always used in the past tense.)

  • (to) Take (one’s) Anger Out On (someone) / (to) Take Out (one’s) Anger On (someone) – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Verb Phrase which describes when a person acts with great anger or frustration, but doing-so towards a person who is not the source or the reason for the anger or frustration – and therefore, the anger or frustration is, as we say, “mis-directed”.

“Alright buddy, I know that you had a hard day, but don’t take out your frustration on me…  I’m the one who makes things better!  Remember?”

(Note Also: that the phrase is equally common with either of the nouns, “Anger” or “Frustration” – but can also be used with others, such as, “Resentment”, “Hostility”, etc.)

  • (to) Take Part In (something) – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which is used to mean: “to participate in” (something)…  “When I was younger, I *took part in* a performance of Charles Dickens’s, “A Christmas Carol”, directed by the late great director Paul Sills.”

  • (to) Take Someone To Court – This is a phrasal verb which means to sue someone.  For this reason that person or group is forced to attend court because of you.  So it is because of you that they are “taken” to court.

  • (to be) Taken Up With – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which is usually used with the nouns:  time, energy, money, etc.. and is another way of saying “is use”.  The preposition “up” implies that the thing that this phrase is referring to is COMPLETELY used, however, this phrase is also used with adverbs like completely, mostly, usually etc….  “When I am working, most of my time is *taken up with* writing reports and adjusting my schedule.”  –  “Most of my money, every month, is *taken up with* paying bills and buying food.”

  • (to) Talk The Hind Legs Off Of A Donkey – [This is a very colloquial phrase which is not very common throughout the English-speaking world, but it came up in a lesson, so… –me.]  A donkey is an animal which is known to be very stubborn and, if it does not want to move, is almost impossible to do so….  So, borrowing from another phrase “To Run (one’s) Legs Off”, this phrase is used to describe someone who talks so much and is so annoying in doing so, that even a donkey would run it’s legs off to get away from this person…  Thus, that person could *talk the hind* (rear) *legs off of a donkey*.

  • (to) Tap Into (something)  – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which comes from (probably) the worlds of beer and wine.  When the beer and wine were stored in barrels, it was necessary to drive something into the side which would be used to get the precious liquid out so that it can do it’s divine work.  That “thing” which is a kind of a “spout” is referred to as a “tap” and the process of putting the *tap into* the barrel was calling “tapping” the barrel.  So now, to *tap into* something (figuratively speaking) means to do… something in order to extract something else out of… something.  This is often used to refer to the process of researching and finding information about some “thing”…  “I used my intuition to *tap into* a new way to present the English Language…  It’s called “Truth”!”

  • (to) Tear It Up – Literally, this expression would probably be used to tear a piece of paper into many pieces.  However, as an prepositional idiomatic phrasal verb, it is used to mean:  To do something REALLY REALLY well.  This is a slang phrase which is popular in the world of music, and extreme sports…  “Though Daniel Radcliffe is known for his role as Harry Potter, he can actually *tear it up* as a rapper too!”  –  “Tony Hawk is such an incredible skateboarder, that he still *tears it up* even though he is well into his fourties.

  • (to) Tell On (someone) – This is an Idiomatic and Prepositional Phrasal Verb which is chiefly used by children to describe when one tells a parent of person of “authority” about some wrong-doing of another.  Since other children (and even many adults/authority figures) don’t really like or respect people that do this, children have come up with a slang term for these people:  (a) Tattle-Tale” and the act of telling on someone is also called “Tattling”.

  • (to) Think Outside The Box – This is a verb phrase which means to think in a way that is without the self-imposed limitations that a person may impose upon themselves based upon what they think is acceptable by society, his or her chosen field, the company he or she works for or the people he or she works with…  Essentially, to *to think outside the box* means: to be creative, and to not limit one’s self in that creativity.

  • (to) Throw A Monkey-Wrench In The System – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb (which is often used as an adjectival phrase that’s really gonna throw a monkey-wrench into the system]) to say that something which is not really a very “big” thing (the “monkey-wrench”) can totally screw up a whole operation and cause a freakin’ Sh#t-load of problems.  A “monkey-wrench” is the type of wrench that is adjustable (a.k.a. a “spanner”.)  This tool is carried by a great many mechanics and and “workers”…  So, if this wrench fell out of their hands or their tool-belts and fell into the gears of an engine, that could not only kill them, but may cause the entire “system” to be completely destroyed and basically F#ck-Up everything…  So to say, “Well, that really *throws a monkey-wrench in the system*!” is safe way to say (when there are children around), “That completely F^cks Everything!!!”

  • (to) Touch Base With (someone) – This is an idiomatic phrasal verb which is used to describe having a quick informal communication with someone for the purpose of staying informed about something or to remind someone about something…  “Hey George!  Do you have a moment?  I just want to *touch base with* you about our project to make GiveMeSomeEnglish!!! the Greatest English Website in The Universe.” 😉

  • (to) Touch Upon (something) – This is an Idiomatic Phrasal Verb which is used to mean:  “To briefly talk about some topic or subject – usually in the midst of a larger conversation – but to not go deeply into the subject.

“In today’s meeting we are going talk about how to effectively take over the world without any significant opposition, but first, I would like to touch upon the serious problem we’ve been having with people not closing the toilet seat lid after using the employee bathroom.” 😀

  • (to be) Trembling With Fear – This is a verb phrase which describes when a person is so filled with fear that they are literally trembling, shivering, or shaking…  “When the police asked to search the car, the suspect was *trembling with fear*.  Since it was summertime and not a cold evening, that was a clear sign to them that he was hiding something.”  –   Read Full Post

  • (to) Tuck In (something) / (to) Tuck (something) In – This is a separable phrasal verb which is usually used to talk about one’s shirt or about one’s children when putting them to bed, however can be used in any situation wherein the “ends” of something need to be secured inside or under something else…  For example, if the bottom of a person’s shirt is outside his or her pants and then he or she puts the bottom of the shirt inside his or her pants, we say they are *tucking* their *shirt* in.  For the example of the children in bed – when a parent put’s their children in bed and makes sure that they are all covered up and comfortable, we say they are *tucking* their children *into* bed.

  • (to) Turn Down (something) / (to) Turn (something) Down – This is a separable idiomatic phrasal verb which is used to mean:  To Decline or Reject something…  “Unfortunately, I am going to have to *turn down* your job offer to be the new bathroom cleaner.  I don’t think that I’m qualified for such an under-taking.”

  • (to) Turn Up – Besides being a phrase used to refer to increase something, like the volume of a stereo, or the temperature of the heater, it is also an idiomatic phrasal verb which is used to describe something that mysteriously and suddenly appears.  For example when someone looses something, but knows that it is definitely…  “Somewhere”…  we can say…  “Don’t worry, it’ll *turn up* somewhere.”  Like when you find your car keys in the refrigerator.


–  ( Phrasal-Verbs – Letter T )  –


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