Common meanings with 'up' and 'down'

Phrasal verbs with up and down often include a literal meaning of vertical movement (↑↓) or increasing (↗) and decreasing  (↘). These usually have no object (example 1) or are separable (example 2) - learn more about no object and separable phrasal verbs here.

  1. I lay down on the floor. (↓ downwards movement)
  2. Please turn down the music. (↘ decrease volume)
    Please turn it down.

Practice 1: learn the meaning

The examples below are some of the most common phrasal verbs with up and down* - what do you think they mean? Click on the flashcard to check the meaning. If it was easy, you can remove it. If you need more practice, you can keep it and view the next question.

Note: sth = something, sb = somebody


Example / definition:




Practice 2: remember the phrasal verbs

How many phrasal verbs can you remember from the examples? Click on the question to see the answer. If it was easy, you can remove it from the set of cards, otherwise click needs more practice to save it and see the next one. Keep going until there are no questions left.





You'll probably remember these better if you have a break now or study something different. Come back tomorrow and try the next set of flashcard questions for these phrasal verbs.

Practice 3: test yourself - same verbs, new questions

Now test your understanding with these examples. What's the best phrasal verb to complete these sentences?





Here is a summary of the verbs studied in this lesson.

We put up lots of pictures ...
... but then we had to take them down.
put (sth) up = display sth (e.g. on a wall) so it can be seen
take (sth) down = remove sth (e.g. from the wall)
Prices of strawberries go up in winter ...
...but they go down in summer.
go up = increase in value or amount
go down = decrease in value or amount (temperature, price)
Slow down! You're driving too fast!
Please don't speed up every time there's another car nearby.
slow down = do something at a slower speed
speed up = do something at a faster speed
Sarah grew up in Scotland.
Her parents died when she was 4, so her grandmother brought her up.
grow up = become older, from child to adult
bring (sb) up = care for a child until it is an adult
She got up from her desk to answer the phone.
Please get down from the wall - it's dangerous to walk on that.
get up = rise after sitting or lying
get down = come down from something, descend
The music's too loud. Please turn it down.
I can't hear the music. Please turn it up.
turn (sth) down = decrease the volume of sth
turn (sth) up = increase the volume of sth
I went down to Australia to see my cousin. 
My dad took us down to Australia to see my cousin. 
go down (to)  = travel south (or to a lower place)
take (sb/sth) down (to)  = take sb/sth south (or to a lower place)
(note: you can also go up / take sb up if you are travelling north or to a higher place)



 *These phrasal verbs and questions are adapted from the PHaVE list, from research by Garnier, M. & Schmitt, N. (2014). The PHaVE List: A pedagogical list of phrasal verbs and their most frequent meaning senses. Language Teaching Research, 19(6), 645–666. DOI: 10.1177/1362168814559798