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Some verbs might have quite a few different meanings. Only the most important ones are listed here.

Remember to pay attention to the examples and the collocations.


Account for [Account for something].- (insep) explain (money, difference, actions) When you account for something, you explain or give a reason for it.

  • How will you account for the money you spent?
  • She couldn't account for her absence from work.
  • How will you account for such a big difference?

Act out [Act something out].- 1 perform (script, story) When you act something out, you perform it or make it into a play.

  • The script itself is well written and well acted out by the cast.
  • The new middle class liked to see its own dilemmas acted out on stage.
  • When you read a story or a poem to your child, act it out with him or her.

2 express (fantasy, frustration, instincts) Express your feelings or ideas:

  • He has become desperate and is acting out his frustration.
  • Children like to act out their fantasies.

Act up.- (child, car, computer, injury, arm, leg, wound) When somebody or something acts up, they behave badly, hurt or don't work properly.  Play up

  • This computer's acting up again.
  • The children were acting up because their mother wasn't there.

Add in [Add something in].- include (cost, flour, figures) When you add something in, you include it or mix it with something else.

  • Add in the cost of the accessories you might need.
  • Slowly add in flour, baking powder and salt. Mix until well blended.

Add on [Add something on].- include When you add something on, you include it or add it.

  • These are quite expensive though, by the time you've added on border taxes.
  • The airlines themselves are adding on fees and surcharges as they struggle to cope with a decline in passengers.

Add up.- (insep) make sense When something adds up, it makes sense.

  • This just doesn't add up.
  • Their economic proposals don't add up.

Add up [Add something up].- calculate (bill, expenses, figures, numbers) When you add something up, you calculate the total.

  • She added up the bill.
  • You made a mistake while you were adding these numbers up.

Allow for [Allow for something].- When you allow for something, you take it into consideration or make it possible.

  • There should be a comfortable working atmosphere, one that doesn't discriminate and allows for mistakes.

Answer back.- When you answer back, you reply rudely.

  • Don't answer back to your mum!
  • Don't answer me back!

Answer for.- (insep) (actions, behaviour) When you answer for something, you take the responsibility for something wrong you have done.

  • Some Iraqis had hoped to see Saddam's elder son answer for his actions before a war crimes tribunal.
  • Everyone must answer for his own actions.

Apply for [Answer for something].- (insep) (job, permit, permission, grant, scholarship, loan) When you apply for something, you fill in a form or write a formal letter asking for it.

  • Applying for financial aid has never been easier!
  • No credit? No problem! Apply for your new Visa Card and MasterCard Today!
  • You can apply for a library card online!

Ask after [Ask after somebody].- (insep) When you ask after somebody, you inquire how somebody is getting on.

  • I heard he is in Kalatura prison, and I wrote to the government asking after him.
  • The next day, her brother came to ask after her.

Ask about, ask around.- (insep) When you ask around, you make inquiries.

  • I'll ask around and see if there's a room vacant somewhere.
  • I am going to ask about to see if anyone has any suggestions of other products.

Ask for [Ask for something] .- (help, receipt, trouble) When you ask for something, you request it.

  • They have written to the actress asking for her help in raising money for Nicaraguan children.
  • If you're donating items to charitable organizations, don't forget to ask for a receipt for tax purposes.
  • Anyone who sends a credit card number via e-mail is asking for trouble!

Ask in [Ask somebody in].- When you ask somebody in, you invite someone into your house, office etc.

  • Don't leave them standing on the doorstep; ask them in!
  • Ask her in; I want to talk to her.

Ask out [Ask somebody out].- When you ask somebody out, you ask somebody to go to the theatre, a restaurant, etc, with you. Take out

  • Jerry's too scared to ask her out. tt Have you asked her out yet?
  • This is the third time he's asked me out.
  • Do men like it when women ask them out?

Ask over [Ask somebody over].- When you ask somebody over, you invite them to your house.

  • I'll ask her over to dinner next weekend.
  • If you can't face travelling, especially if you have very young children, why not ask them over to yours.

Ask round [Ask somebody round].- When you ask somebody round, you invite them to your house.

  • Let's ask them round for a meal next week.
  • I asked her round for dinner last week but she declined.

Auction off [Auction something off].- (furniture) When you auction something off, you get rid of it by selling it at an auction.

  • I sold two of the houses we never used and auctioned off the furniture.
  • She auctioned off all the jewelry that he gave her.



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