180.- Think and learn: phrasal verbs.

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Brush Up (On)

Meaning: to improve something that you previously knew, to try and make it a little better or just to refresh your memory

You need to brush up on the rules of the road before you take your driving test.

We can brush up on some way of dealing with Excel spreadsheets if we haven’t used them for a while.

If you want to brush up on your English, you can listen to some previous recordings of my podcasts.




Come Around To

Meaning: to finally agree and change your mind about something

When our wives ask us to do something and we are not really in agreement first but eventually we’ll come around to their way of thinking because it makes life a little easier.




Come Up With Something

Meaning: to find an answer, a solution etc

We want you all to come up with at least two novel ideas as to how we’re going to get this product launched.

  • come up with ideas
  • come up with suggestions
  • come up with a plan

He came up with a brilliant plan to save the company.

Together they identified the problems and came up with a plan to address the issues.


Figure Out

Meaning: to work out, to understand or solve something

Okay, let’s go through this together. We’ll figure it out.

I just can’t figure out that man at all, I don’t know what he wants.




Make Out

Meaning: to understand or to see something clearly

I am just not able to make out which bus it is, I have to wait till it comes a little bit closer to me.




Mull Over

Meaning: to take time to think about something to be sure that you make the right decision

Let me mull over the suggestion.

Look, let me mull it over for a few days and see can we get away for a few days.



Piece Together Something

Meaning: to assemble the pieces of something, such as a jigsaw puzzle

When we have a problem, or we have something that we can’t really understand, we try to piece together the information that we have to try and form a picture that will give us a better understanding.

The police will piece together the evidence that they have, some fingerprints, some other evidence, and they slowly, step by step recreate a crime scene.

Don’t worry, I’ll piece together a manual for the new system.


To Swot Up On

Meaning: to study something very hard

When we are preparing for an exam, we study really hard, we swot up on something prior to the exam so we can get as much information as possible into our heads.

I’ve got a big presentation to a new client in two weeks, so I’m going to swot up on the company. Who they are? What do they do? 



Think Over Something

Again, a bit like to mull over.

Meaning: to go away and think about something properly before making a decision

I’m going to take a couple of days off next week, give me time to think over that proposal.

I’m going to have a couple of days off next week and I’m going to think over my future, what do I want to do?



Think Through Something

Meaning: to look at all the issues from every side, from every angle before making a decision

Could I have a few days to think this through? I really need to look at it. Is that the right thing for me?

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