Phrasal Verbs for Illness

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: 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

You can sometimes make phrasal verbs into adjectives:

  • 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 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)

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 !