The word ‘keep‘ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to continue or retain possession.
- Keep walking down the road then turn left. (continue)
- He said I could keep the blue pen. (retain possession)
Keep is an irregular verb. The past tense is kept and the past participle is kept.
phrasal verbs with keep
Phrasal verbs with ‘keep’ include:
- keep around
meaning – have something close to you
example – We are keeping the new guy around. He’s useless but the customers love him.
- keep at
meaning – continue doing something difficult
example – Studying medicine was hard, but I kept at it and graduated this year.
- keep away
meaning – not be allowed near something
example – Put your medicine on the top shelf. It must be kept away from the kids.
- keep back
meaning – don’t go to close to something dangerous or stay after the lesson/work/game etc.
example – I’ll be keeping the 4 boys at the front back after class. You’ve been disruptive all lesson.
- keep from
meaning – stop someone doing something or don’t tell a secret
example – The stress of work is keeping me from sleeping.
- keep in
meaning – not allow someone or something out
example – I’ve been keeping a secret in for so long. I need to tell someone.
- keep in with
meaning – stay on good terms with people
example – Although we are divorced, I’ve kept on good terms with the in-laws.
- keep off
meaning – don’t stand on something
example – Children must be kept off the unsteady rocks.
- keep on
meaning – continue doing something or constantly ask/complain
example – My son is keeping on for a pet rabbit, I might just get one to shut him up.
- keep out
meaning – you are not allowed near something
example – I’ve done as she asked and kept my nose out. I hate seeing her treated like a doormat.
- keep to
meaning – stay within the boundaries or follow the rules
example – Hand luggage must be kept to a minimum.
- keep up
meaning – prevent from going to bed or maintain a good pace
example – If you keep up the good work, there will be a nice little bonus for you at Christmas.
- keep up with
meaning – be at the same pace or remain up to date
example – I’ve just read my newspaper; I like keeping up with current affairs.
picture phrasal verbs with keep
Let’s learn the meaning of the phrasal verbs that contain the verb ‘keep’ in more detail and see some examples in use.
Did you know that many idiomatic expressions (idioms) in English also contain a lot of verbs? Just like phrasal verbs, idioms are a major part of the English language (slang in particular). They are used constantly amongst native English speakers and are handy to know and understand.
Now you’ve learnt all the phrasal verbs with keep, how about learning the idioms with keep too?