The word ‘work‘ can mean many different things. As a verb, the meaning is to perform tasks (often for money) or to function.

For example:

  • I’m working on my essay today. (perform tasks)
  • My phone has stopped working. (function)


Work is a regular verb. The past tense and past participle is worked.

phrasal verbs with work

Phrasal verbs with ‘work’ include:

  • work around
    meaning – deal with a problem that prevents you from achieving your goal
    example – We worked around the problems and got the order out on time.
  • work in
    meaning – add/integrate something
    example – Once you have worked in the dried fruit, the mixture is ready for baking.
  • work off
    meaning – exercise to remove weight/stress/anger or work to pay off a debt
    example – It will take me 7 years to work off my university debts.
  • work on
    meaning – spend time developing/improving something
    example – I worked on my project all night, but it still isn’t finished.
  • work out
    meaning – the end result, find the solution or exercise
    example – I didn’t want to be partnered with Jane, but it worked out well in the end.
  • work through
    meaning – deal with/solve a problem or work during a specified period
    example – We are working through our marriage problems. I don’t want another divorce.
  • work up
    meaning – when a person gets angry/excited/upset
    example – The kids are worked up about Christmas, they won’t sleep for the next week.

picture examples

phrasal verbs with work

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

phrasal verbs with work - work around
phrasal verbs with work - work in
phrasal verbs with work - work off
phrasal verbs with work - work on
phrasal verbs with work - work out
phrasal verbs with work - work through
phrasal verbs with work - work up

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

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 work, how about learning the idioms with work too?