3 Business English Phrasal Verbs

Learn 3 business English phrasal verbs from The Guardian

Impress your colleagues and friends with these three serious phrasal verbs – you read them in The Guardian!

Understanding the Natives is a new idea for our blog. I’ll take something from ‘real’ English (an article, text from a book, a video and so on), and select two or three interesting words or expressions from it to teach you.  

That way, you see this new vocabulary in context and at the same time, you get to experience some native level English!

  • Language level: upper intermediate+ advanced /  B2+, C1, C2
  • Skills: advanced English vocabulary
  • Time: 5 mins
Kerin English Teacher
Lesson by Kerin

3 Phrasal Verbs from an English newspaper article

Want to read the transcript?

Well this week has been turmoil for the UK, so much so that some have even said it could be the death of British democracy. I do sincerely hope it won’t be!

 I wanted to stay on topic, but at the same time not get too depressed, so to lighten the mood slightly, I’ve gone for a tongue in cheek article (if you say something is tongue in cheek, you intend it to be understood as a joke, although you might appear to be serious). 

This article is full of rich vocabulary. Lots of phrasal verbs, play on words, great adjectives and I think our advanced learners will find this extremely challenging, to get the exact meaning. So I thought that this is an interesting piece to look at today. Because there are so many new words in here, I’ve just chosen to focus on 3 phrasal verbs to make this quick and relevant. And these verbs are

  • To pan out
  • To shut down
  • To lay out

And they are phrasal verbs that can commonly be used in business English and I’ll give some examples.

This article is talking about how the Queen’s holiday is not going so well for her, because of various scandals and now the situation with parliament in the UK. 

As I’ve said this is a tough article, we are just going to look at three sentences and if you are so inclined of course you can go ahead and read the whole article. I’ll put a link to it.

Back in Westminster, Boris Johnson was rather pleased with the way the day was panning out.

Panning out means the way things were turning out, or developing – how they were going. 

So you could say for example:

We’ll have to see how things pan out. (We’ll have to see how things go.)
Or
The deal we were going for didn’t pan out. (It didn’t come to anything, it didn’t go anywhere).

Next PV:
Having an extreme personality disorder had its uses. At times like these, what the country really needed was a delusional narcissist.
Here was the deal. It was a total coincidence that he was shutting down parliament for five weeks and MPs would have next to no time to block a no-deal Brexit. They’d get a few hours.

Shut down something or shut something down – means to stop it operating. Parliament is being shut down – it won’t be operating in this period.

We can speak about factories, or businesses or shops being shut down.

And the third PV: 
All he wanted was time to put together a Queen’s speech, in which he could lay out his plans for schools and the NHS in the hope of winning an election before anyone worked out that he didn’t have the money to fund them.

To lay out something, means to explain or describe something in a clear and detailed way. So if you lay out plans, you present the plans explaining them thoroughly.

Or you could say for example, She couldn’t understand the importance of the customer service processes, so I laid it out for her.

Okay, that’s three PV that have come out of this article. I hope they are clear.
So, now you are ready with these phrasal verbs to try out at work and with friends! 

The best way to make these verbs your own is to start using them right away. 

And if you want to practise, why not try making a phrase of your own and post it in the comments. 

That’s it for today – Have a good week.

Link to article

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  1. The phrasal verbs I have learned were great for me to study, although the article is difficult and being challenge for me. Thanks for guiding video lesson clip and clear taught. Happy to learn.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Angela, Thank you so much for your feedback. I’m glad you have learned some new phrasal verbs. (The article is extremely challenging. If you understood 50%, you are doing really well!) Keep up with English! K

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