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21 English Phrasal Verbs with PUT

In this study guide, we will teach you 21 common phrasal verbs with ‘put’. Learn their many meanings, explore real native examples in context, and try our final quiz to test your understanding. You can also save a copy of this great guide to use later. Ready? Let’s take a look!

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21 phrasal verbs with ‘put’ 


a) Give opinion clearly, explain an idea well, describe articulately
‘I thought Emily put her views on politics across really well during the discussion.’

b) Speak and express yourself clearly, make a positive impression
‘When David spoke in front of the class, he put himself across really well.’


a) Keep or save something for later
‘I always put aside my best suit for special occasions.’
‘You really should put some money aside for your retirement!’
‘Hardworking parents still need to put time aside for their children.’

b) Not allow yourself to be negatively affected by something, ignore temporarily
‘Mike and his girlfriend were able to put aside their differences because they loved each other.’
‘Jim has put his problems aside and is now getting on with his life.’ 



a) Return something to its usual place
‘Arthur put away his car keys and his wallet.’
‘Tell the kids to put their toys away before bedtime!’

b) Send to prison or a mental hospital
‘If you commit a serious crime and get caught, you could be put away for life!’
‘That woman’s crazy! They should put her away.’

c) Save (up) money
‘You should consider putting some money away for your grandchildren each month.’

d) Consume food or drink quickly or in large quantities (informal)
‘I went to the pub with Emily last night. That girl can really put her beer away!’

e) Score a goal (informal)
‘Ronaldo skinned the keeper and put it away in the 91st minute! What a goal!’


a) Postpone, delay, schedule for a later date
‘Tell John that the meeting has been put back until next week.’

b) Return something to its original location
‘When I finished reading, I put the book back (in the drawer).’

c) Change a clock/watch to an earlier time
‘When do we put the clocks back? I know it’s sometime in October.’

d) Delay or hold up progress
‘The economic crisis in Europe has put back production in several key industries.’


Save (up) money
‘I try to put a fiver (£5) by each week to give to charity.’

In English, there are often several ways of saying the same thing. For example, ‘put by’, ‘put away’ and ‘put aside’ can all be used to describe the process of saving money to spend later. Another example of this is ‘put down’, which can mean the same as ‘take down’ and ‘write down’ (record in writing).



a) Insult, humiliate, criticise
‘As a child, Jennifer never liked her aunt because she always put her down.’
‘I wish you’d stop putting yourself down. You can do this job standing on your head!’

b) Kill an animal or pet because it is old or ill
‘The poor dog had to be put down because it couldn’t walk anymore.’

c) Suppress, stop with force
‘Armed police have put down another riot in the city of Cairo.’

d) Write down, make a note of
‘Can you speak a bit slower, please? I’m struggling to put all this down!’ (Also: take down)
‘Let’s put some ideas down on paper before we start the meeting.’

e) Leave a deposit, make a down payment
‘Rob and Lucy have put down £30,000 on a house near their son’s school.’

f) Put a baby to bed
‘Little Alfie has kept me awake all this week! Can you put him down tonight?’

NOTE: When we say ‘put down’ about a baby, it does not mean we are going to kill an annoying child! Meanings b) and f) above are very different! Phrasal verbs often have multiple meanings so you must pay attention to the context in order to understand them correctly.


Book place as, sign up as, list as
‘Shall I put you down for swimming classes on a Monday, or would you prefer gymnastics?’
‘I’m happy to donate to your charity. Please, put me down for £10.’ (Record pledge)


Be due to, be the reason for, attribute to
‘John’s made a few mistakes, but I think we can put that down to inexperience.’



a) Suggest an idea, opinion or candidate
‘At the open day, Hannah put forward her opinions on veganism.’
‘I’d like to put Marie Walker forward as the new chairwoman for our committee.’

b) Change the time on a clock to a later time
‘The school children put the clock forward so the lesson would finish earlier.’

c) Schedule to an earlier time
‘Our annual conference has been brought forward by a week.’
‘If you bring the deadline forward, then we are not going to complete the project on time!’


a) Invest time or effort
‘The amount of money you make depends on the work you put in.’
‘I had to put in an extra 3 hours today to cover for an absent colleague.’

b) Install
‘Jim and Henrietta are having their new kitchen put in next week.’
‘What’s going on with all the roadwork? Are they putting in a new bus lane?’

c) Formally submit (request, claim, proposal, etc.)
‘Our charity has put in a grant application for additional laptops and printers.’

d) Interrupt
‘“Why don’t we just postpone the project?” she loudly put in.’

Phrasal verbs are not always logical! For example, you can ‘put on’ a shirt, but you cannot ‘put off’ a shirt. Instead, we say ‘take off’. You cannot say ‘take on’ to mean ‘get dressed’ because this means ‘to hire’! It is always best to learn phrasal verbs with several examples in context.

e) Invest, contribute money
‘When the business started, each of the investors each put in £20,000.’

f) Give position or place to someone
‘They had to put in a new Head Teacher because the school was failing to meet its targets.’
‘Local voters put the Democrats in because they were angry with the ruling party.’ (Elected)

g) Stop at a port (about a ship)
‘The tall ships put in at Cape Town on their 1000 mile voyage.’


Make formal request
‘After a failed office romance, Mary put in for a transfer to a different company branch.’
‘Have you put in for your provisional driving licence yet?’


a) Delay, postpone
‘When are you going to learn to drive? You can’t keep putting it off forever!’

b) Make someone feel dislike for, discourage someone from doing something
‘Steve had dirty shoes on the date. That really put me off (him)!’
‘I would’ve gone into medicine, but was put off by the long hours.’

c) Distract
‘I am trying to concentrate, but you’re putting me off! Can you please keep the noise down?’

d) Avoid through postponement
‘I keep putting my mum off, but she really wants you to come round for dinner!’



a) Present, host, organise something
‘The Globe Theatre in London puts on a lot of fantastic plays.’
‘Our local pub is putting on a gig for charity next month.’ (Concert)
‘There are lots of parents joining the school trip so we’ll have to put on extra minibuses.’

b) Gain weight
‘David’s put on a few pounds over Christmas, hasn’t he?’
‘I’ve put a bit on since I quit the gym. I really need to do more exercise!’

c) Get dressed, start wearing
‘He put on his coat and left the house.’

d) Pretend, fake, recreate something
‘Olivia put on an American accent because she thought it made her sound cool.’

e) Apply, spread on surface
‘Hotdogs are really tasty if you put some mustard on (them).’
‘My girlfriend always puts makeup on before we go out.’

f) Turn on, cause device to start working, play
‘Do you mind if I put the TV on?
Put the kettle on and we’ll have a nice cup of tea!’
‘I’ve just bought this new CD. Can I put it on?’
‘If I’m home late, can you put the dinner on?’ (Start cooking with a cooker/oven)

g) Place a bet
‘Geoff put £10 on Arsenal to win the cup final.’

h) Call to the phone
‘Jessica’s just upstairs. Hang on a minute and I’ll put her on!’

i) Add, apply to
‘Farmers are asking supermarkets to put 10p on a litre of milk to help cover production costs.’
‘These days, parents put too much pressure on their kids to perform well at school.’

j) Give responsibility for
‘Junior doctors are often put on night shifts because older members of staff have families.’

k) Prescribe treatment, medicine
‘The doctor has put me on some stronger painkillers.’


a) Defeat in a sporting competition
‘Everybody laughed when Iceland put England out of the Euro’s.’

b) Hurt or injure (usually about the back or joints)
‘John’s put his shoulder out playing tennis so he won’t be joining us for our match.’

c) Have sexual relations with someone (American slang)
‘I heard Jenny puts out on the first date!’

Bear in mind that phrasal verbs can have unexpected slang meanings! ‘Put out’ is one example of this, but there are many others used in everyday English. For instance, ‘make out’ (USA) and ‘get off’ (UK) both meaning ‘to kiss’.

d) Stop from burning, extinguish
‘The bouncer put his cigarette out and went back inside the night club.’
Put out that fire before anyone sees we’re camping here!’
‘I’m going to bed now. Please, put the lights out when you come up.’

e) Place outside, give away for collection
‘I put the bin out early every Thursday morning.’ (For rubbish collection)
‘In winter, we like to put some bread out for the birds in the garden.’
‘We have to put the cat out at night so it doesn’t scratch the furniture.’
‘Can you put the washing out when it stops raining?’ (Hang on the washing line to dry)

f) Inconvenience, create extra work for
‘I can easily stay at a hotel. Please don’t put yourself out just because I’m coming to visit!’

g) Broadcast, publish, produce and make public, introduce to market
‘When is your band putting out its first album?’
‘Hollywood puts out loads of films that never get shown at the cinema.’
‘Apple puts out a new iPhone once a year.’
‘The police have put out an official statement following the bank robbery.’

h) Move hand/arm/leg away from your body
‘If you want to stop a bus in the UK, you need to put your arm out.’ (Give arm signal)


Express, convey information
‘During the presentation, I thought June put her main point over very clearly.’



a) Connect someone by phone
‘Please hold while I put you through to our sales team.’

b) Make someone do something difficult
‘I’ve put myself through a tough week of training in preparation for the marathon.’

c) Test or trial something
‘The new drug was put through several trials before it was officially accepted.’
‘Our boss puts all new employees through a series of cognitive tests.’

d) Pay for someone’s education
‘Josh’s dad put him through

e) Ensure something is submitted, approved or implemented
‘With this substantial majority, the ruling party can put through its new measures on housing.’
‘The local council has put through plans to redevelop the city centre.’
‘Has your application been put through yet, or are you still waiting to hear back from them?’


a) Create a group of people or things
‘Our company has put together a football team, but it’s not very good!’
‘The think tank has put a group of experts together to tackle the research project.’

b) Assemble, build from separate parts
‘The IKEA wardrobe took 4 hours to put together!’
‘My son has taken the computer apart and now I don’t know how to put it back together!’

c) Compile, organise, create from separate items
‘We’ve put together a set of simple rules to help staff keep the office tidy.’
‘I’ve put this CD together for you. It has all my favourite 80s tracks!’
‘The art students put the exhibition together at short notice.’


Use an amount of money to cover part of the cost of something
‘If you give Rob some money for his birthday, he’ll put it towards a new mountain bike.’


a) Build or erect
‘We’re planning to put up a new shed at the bottom of our garden.’
‘They’re putting up a primary school on the site of the old cinema.’
‘Let’s put the tent up now because it’ll be dark soon.’

b) Raise the price or value of something
‘Supermarkets have put their prices up
‘The Bank of England has decided to put up interest rates.’

c) Allow someone to stay for a short time
‘I had nowhere to stay, so my friends agreed to put me up for a couple of nights.’

d) Fix or hang on a wall or vertical surface
‘Where do you think we should put this picture up?’
‘Do you mind if I put up some posters in the window of your cafe?’
‘Can you help me to put up some shelves in the garage?’

e) Provide a large sum of money for something
‘An anonymous businessman has put up £10,000 to help rebuild the church roof.’

f) Raise something so it is ready for use
‘It’s raining! Put your umbrella up!’
‘If it’s windy and you’re cold, why don’t you put your hood up?’

g) Suggest someone as a candidate
‘The Democrats have chosen not to put up a candidate in this constituency.’

h) Raise hand
‘If you know the answer, please put up your hand.’

i) Make an effort to achieve or prevent something
‘The rebels put up a spirited fight, but were eventually overcome by government forces.’ 


a) Encourage someone to do something bad
‘Mike stole some sweets because his girlfriend put him up to it.’


a) Tolerate someone or something unpleasant or annoying
‘Nathan puts up with his little sister even though she can be annoying at times.’
‘I know you don’t like your new school, but you’ll just have to put up with it for now.’


QUIZ: Test your knowledge of phrasal verbs with ‘put’!


Choose the appropriate phrasal verb to complete the sentences below:

  • I don’t know how you put up/put up with/put up to your boss. He’s such a bully!
  • Our sales are down 10% this year. What would you put this down/put this down to/put this down for?
  • The financial crisis put the UK economy off/put the UK economy back/put the UK economy down 5 years.
  • I really don’t want John to come to our wedding. Is there any way we can put him off coming/put him out coming/put him out coming?
  • I want to put up to/put up/put down some shelves this weekend. Can you give me a hand?

Match the phrasal verbs 1-5 with their correct meanings a-e:

  1. Put up
  2. Put aside
  3. Put down
  4. Put together
  5. Put forward
  1. Assemble, build from individual parts
  2. Suggest an idea, give your view
  3. Fix to a vertical surface
  4. Insult, criticise
  5. Ignore, not allow yourself to be affected by

Your answers: 1 = __, 2 = __, 3 = __, 4 = __, 5 = __.

Bonus task: To test your understanding of these phrasal verbs with ‘put’, try to write one sentence for each of them.      


Fill in the gaps with an appropriate ‘put’ phrasal verb:

  • I don’t smoke. Would you mind putting _______ your cigarette?
  • If you give me some money for Xmas, then I can put it _______ a new laptop.
  • I’d be happy to donate! Put me _______ £15 and I’ll give you the cash next week.
  • Laura would never steal anything! Perhaps a friend put her _______ it?
  • Even though my parents were poor, they still put me _______

TASK A: put up with, put down to, put back, put off, put up

TASK B: 1/c, 2/e, 3/d, 4/a, 5/b

TASK C: put out, put towards, put down for, put up to, put through

How did you score?

Remember to download your free copy of this guide to use anytime! Practice makes perfect.

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 James F.
— Staff Writer
Written by James F.
— Staff Writer