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Vocabulary ▼ Phrasal Verbs ▼ Confusing words
FCE practice

Phrasal Verbs for Illnesses

We can use a lot of phrasal verbs to talk about illnesses. Look at these examples for 1-2 minutes and try to remember as many as possible. Then click to hide the information and try to answer the questions.

Note: sb means somebody and sth means something.

Phrasal VerbMeaning
You'll throw up if you keep eating.be sick, vomit
I think I'm coming down with a cold.become sick (not serious)
It took me weeks to get over my cold.recover from sth
I'll pass out if you don't open a window.faint, lose consciousness
When she came to, she was in hospital.recover consciousness
When she came round, she was in hospital.recover consciousness
Eat oranges to help fight off a cold.stop yourself getting ill
I've broken out in a rash.sth appears suddenly
He was run over by a lorry.hit by a vehicle
He passed away peacefully in the night.die

There are also some adjectives which look like phrasal verbs to talk about illness.

I feel really worn out. = tired

I feel really run down. = tired and ill

Some phrasal verbs can become nouns. For example to break out can also mean to start suddenly. The noun is an outbreak.

Bird 'flu has broken out in China. (verb)

There has been an outbreak of bird 'flu in China. (noun)

Click here to show/hide this information

Practice 1: Multiple Choice

Choose the best word to complete the following sentences.

  1. When I was pregnant, I ___ up every morning.
    came broke threw passed
  2. I _____ out in a rash the first time I ate prawns.
    broke ran passed got
  3. She spent 2 weeks in hospital, ____ over her illness.
    throwing breaking coming getting
  4. If you drink too much alcohol, you might _____ out.
    throw pass get come
  5. You shouldn't sit up quickly when you come _____ after fainting.
    up to out down


Practice 2: Missing Words

Be careful - the missing word could be any part of the verb (e.g. bring / brought / bringing), or the particle (in, on, round).

  1. I'm not going out tonight. I've been working too hard and I feel really down. I think I'm coming with a cold. So, I'm going to have an early night and eat lots of vegetables to try and fight it .
  2. He was run when he was walking home last night. They took him to hospital, but he passed in the night.
  3. The first time I saw blood, I out, and didn't round for over an hour!
  4. If I eat too much chocolate, I break in spots. Or I throw !

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