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11 English Phrasal Verbs With ‘Live’

Do you live for the weekend or do you like living it up in a 5-star hotel? In this study guide, you will learn 11 phrasal verbs with ‘live’. Several of the phrasal verbs have more than one meaning, so look carefully at the different explanations! You will find a definition and a clear example for each one.

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11 phrasal verbs with ‘live’ (with example sentences)


  1. To follow a set of rules.
    She lives by the rules of her family.
    They are the principles that he lives by.


  1. To recover from a negative or embarrassing event in your life.
    He shouldn’t have worn that ugly wig to the wedding. He’ll never live it down!
    She’ll never live down the time she drank too much at the office party! 


  1. To really enjoy something or look forward to it.
    She lives for her summer holidays in Spain.
    John hates his day job and just lives for the weekend.


  1. To live in accommodation provided by, for example, a university.
    I think I’m going to live in next year. I’m not going to rent a flat privately.
    I think their nanny lives in. 
  2. To spend a lot of time somewhere.
    He practically lives in his office!
    He spends so much time growing vegetables, he almost lives in the garden.


  1. To survive by eating a particular type of food.
    When they were poor they just had to live off rice and pasta.
    My parents had their own farm. They lived off the land. 
  2. To survive by using someone else’s money or support.
    He has never had a job. He just lives off his parents.
    She isn’t looking for work yet. She’s living off the money she inherited from her grandparents.


  1. To eat a lot of one type of food.
    When he was at university he lived on potatoes.

They are living on a tight budget.

  1. To have enough money to survive.
    I don’t think he earns enough to live on.
    They are living on a tight budget.
  2. To not be forgotten, continue.
    The dog died ten years ago, but their memories of him live on. 


  1. To continue to live for the rest of your life.
    Derek lived out his final years by the sea in Cornwall.
  2. To fulfil a dream.
    John did finally buy that little house by the sea in Scotland. He lived out his dreams.
  3. To live outside of a campus or university.
    Are you living in halls next year? No, I’ve decided to live out. 


  1. To live at a time when things were very difficult.
    My grandparents lived through the recession. It was a difficult time.
    People who lived through that period of history suffered a lot. 
  2. When someone (often a parent) has more interest in another person’s life than their own.
    It’s not a good idea to live through your children.
    Tom doesn’t seem to have any ambition anymore. He just lives through his son.

Tom doesn’t seem to have any ambition anymore. He just lives through his son.

  1. To have a good standard of living or to do something extravagant.
    What is Sarah doing these days? Oh she’s living it up in London.


  1. To fulfil expectations.
    Tom is always trying to keep his parents happy, but he’ll never live up to their expectations.
    Yes, I feel sorry for Pete. His brother is so successful. He’s got a lot to live up to.


  1. To accept or tolerate something.
    I’m not going to change the pink wallpaper. We’ll just have to live with it.
    Jane can’t have another operation on her foot. The doctor says she’ll have to live with it.
  2. To live with someone that you are not married to.
    Pete is living with Lisa. Oh, I thought they were married.


Exercises: phrasal verbs with ‘live’

For questions 1-7, choose the correct option a, b, or c.
  1. When Sue lost her job she had to ____________________ her savings.
    a. live off  b. live out  c. live with
  2. I don’t think I could ever _______________________ my parents’ standards.
    a. live to  b. live up to  c. live on
  3. I don’t mind work, but I _________________ the holidays.
    a. live for  b. live by  c. live with
  4. My grandparents _________________ some difficult times.
    a. lived on  b. lived down  c. lived through
  5. Tom doesn’t have a well-paid job, but he earns enough to ___________________.
    a. live on  b. live by  c. live down
  6. Jo is so embarrassed by what happened at the party. She thinks she’ll never _______________.
    a. live it up  b. live down  c. live it down
  7. When Tony was a student he just _________________ noodles.
    a. lived by  b. lived on  c. lived from
Match the questions 8-14 with the appropriate answers a-g below.
  1. Is Paula married?
  2. Do you grow lots of vegetables in your garden?
  3. Does your Mum get a good pension?
  4. Are you going to rent a flat next semester?
  5. What did Pete do after university?
  6. Does Jonathan still do yoga?
  7. Have Sue and Pete changed that bright yellow door on their new house?


  1. Well, the last I heard he was living it up in the south of France.
  2. No, they say they’re going to live with it!
  3. Well, she gets enough to live on.
  4. No, she lives with her boyfriend.
  5. No, I think I’m going to live in. It’s a bit cheaper.
  6. Yes, he lives by it. He says it’s the best exercise he has ever tried!
  7. Yes, we’re living off potatoes at the moment!
For questions 15 to 20, choose the best word (a-f) to end each sentence.
  1. My grandad retired years ago and lived out his days by the _________________.
  2. Lucy has never really had a job, she just seems to live off her ______________.
  3. Yes, I’ve got a lot to live up to. Jessica did a fantastic __________________
  4. I’ll just have to live with it. I’ve asked my landlord to repair the heating, but it’s still _______________.
  5. They lived through the recession. I’m sure they’ll manage ____________________.
  6. Does the new flat live up to your ___________________?


  1. faulty
  2. expectations
  3. sea
  4. job
  5. parents
  6. now



  1. a
  2. b
  3. a
  4. c
  5. a
  6. c
  7. b
  1. d
  2. g
  3. c
  4. e
  5. a
  6. f
  7. b
  1. c
  2. e
  3. d
  4. a
  5. f
  6. b
Click here to download this post via our mobile website!
Download: This blog post is available as a convenient and portable PDF that you can take anywhere. Click here to get a copy. (Download)

Written by Judith P.
— ESL Tutor
Written by Judith P.
— ESL Tutor