10 Business English Phrases with Phrasal Verbs

#1 – “You can count on me!”

This means “You can depend on me” – I can be trusted to be responsible and get the work done, or do what I say I will do.

Note that in English we say count on and depend on – don’t use the prepositions inof, or with in these expressions.

#2 – “The deal fell through.”

To fall through means that a plan will not go forward. Something happened to make it fail, or make it impossible to proceed. We often talk about planspartnerships, or deals falling through.

#3 – “Can you fill me in on what happened?”

To fill someone in on something means to tell that person the details about that topic.

This phrasal verb is different from fill in for someone, which means to substitute that person; take their place temporarily. For example, if your colleague is sick, you might fill in for her at a meeting.

#4 – “I’ll talk to the director and sound her out.”

To sound someone out means to find out the person’s opinion about something, or reaction to it. Sound out often implies that you try to discover their opinion carefully, perhaps by bringing up the topic in an indirect way and seeing what they say instead of asking directly.

#5 – “Please hold off on starting the project until it’s approved.”

To hold off on doing something means to delay, to wait. This phrasal verb is often used with “until” later in the sentence, to show that you need to wait to do the activity until something else happens.

#6 – “I’m not sure where that file is, but I’ll try and track it down for you.”

To track something down means to search for it and find out where that thing is. We can also use it for people – track someone down – when you look for the person to discover where he/she is.

#7 – “We’re going to team up with a non-profit organization.”

To team up means to join together, work together.

#8 – “The meeting was called off.”

This simply means the meeting was canceled.

#9 – “Let’s not rule out that option.”

To rule something out means to eliminate something from consideration. So this phrase is saying that we shouldn’t stop considering that option; we should keep that option inside the range of possibilities.

#10 – “Tim is heading up the new initiative.”

This is an informal way to say that Tim is the leader, the person in charge, of the new initiative (project).

Don’t get head up confused with heads up. To “give someone a heads up” means to give them an alert or warning in advance of a possible problem.