The word ‘act‘ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to take action and behave in a certain way.

For example:

  • We need to act now if we want to save the planet. (take action)
  • The children are acting silly. (behaving)


​Act is a regular verb. The past tense and past participle is acted.​

phrasal verbs with act

Phrasal verbs with ‘act’ include:

  • act as
    meaning – do the same function as a person or thing
    example – The heart acts as a pump to transport blood around the body.
  • act for
    meaning – represent someone
    example – The people chose Mr. Smith to act for them in parliament.
  • act on/upon
    meaning – follow advice/take action
    example – He acted upon friend’s advice and left before there was trouble.
  • act out
    meaning – express through actions or words
    I’ve acted out 10 films and no one has guessed any. I hate charades!
  • act up
    meaning – misbehave/malfunction
    example – The machine acted up yesterday and I couldn’t complete the order.

picture phrasal verbs with act

phrasal verbs with act

Let’s learn the meaning of the phrasal verbs that contain the verb ‘act’ in more detail and see some examples in use.

phrasal verbs list - act as
phrasal verbs esl - act for
phrasal verbs list - act on/upon
phrasal verbs esl - act out
phrasal verbs list - act up

You can download a table of phrasal verbs with act below.

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Click the links below to learn more phrasal verbs with pictures or go to the main phrasal verbs groups page to see the full list.