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The Most Important Phrasal Verbs with Take

One of the most common verbs that is used to create phrasal verbs is "take". However, you need to be careful with phrasal verbs because changing the preposition or adverb with "take" can change the meaning, so "take off" has a very different meaning than "take on" or "take back".

Before getting into the list of phrasal verbs with "take", it's important to separate them into intransitive and transitive phrasal verbs, because they are used differently. First, the intransitive verbs will be explained, and then the transitive ones.

Intransitive Verbs: this group of phrasal verbs do not need any object with them. This means you can just say the subject first and then the phrasal verb and it’s a complete idea, such as “her company took off” or “I’ll take over”.

Take off = three different meanings, given below:

  1. When an airplane leaves the ground and starts flying: “The plane took off 10 minutes ago.”

  2. When something becomes popular or successful quickly: “Tik Tok took off in the USA”

  3. To leave a place: “I’m taking off. I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Take over (for someone) = to accept another person’s responsibility as your own

  • You’ve been cooking for two hours. You must be tired. I’ll take over for you if you need a break.

Transitive Verbs: this group of phrasal verbs needs an object and in many cases the object is just “it” to refer to something that was already mentioned, such as: “I had a picture of my ex-girlfriend on my wall, but I took it down because I still miss her.” In this case, "it" means "picture". You can also say “took the picture down” or “took down the picture.”

You must put a pronoun like “it” or “them” in the middle of a phrasal verb when that phrasal verb is separable. You can see below that most of the phrasal verbs in this lesson are separable because the object is written in the middle (ex. “take a hobby up”). The only one that is not separable from this list is “take after”, so the object (and even a pronoun) must be at the end of "take after".

Take (a hobby) up = to start doing a new hobby

  • I was always curious about skiing, so I finally took it up last winter. It was a lot of fun.



Take after (someone) = to behave or look like a parent or ancestor

  • She takes after her mother. She’s always worried about making everyone happy, like her mother is.

Take (clothing) off = to remove an item of clothing

  • I took my shoes off at the entrance.

Take (an item) down = to remove something that was suspended in the air

  • I always take down the Christmas decorations on January 1st.

Take (a task) on = to accept a task or responsibility

  • Our company took on a major project for the city.

Take (a comment) back = to show regret about something you said that you didn’t mean

  • I shouldn’t have called her stupid. I take that back.

Take (a lesson) away = to remember something valuable that you learned from an experience

  • I took many lessons away from my experience living abroad. One thing that I took away was to be more aware of cultural differences.

Take (an object) away = to remove something so that it’s gone

  • A protestor was yelling during the President's speech, so security guards took the protestor away.

Take (an object) apart = to disassemble something into its separate parts

  • I need to take apart my bookshelf because I’m moving to a new apartment.

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Practice Part 1 – Choose the correct option based on the meaning that works in the sentence:

  1. The audience can (take away/take up/take down) many lessons from the presentation.

  2. Do you want to (take after/take on/take off) your jacket? It’s hot in here.

  3. I’m sorry for saying the meeting was a waste of time. I (take it in/take it back/take it over).

  4. Electric cars have (taken over/taken off/taken in) over the past 10 years.

  5. Can you help me (take off/take away/take apart) the table so that we can move it downstairs?

  6. I’ve decided to (take on/take up/take away) yoga to make myself more flexible.

  7. My flight was scheduled to depart at 9am but it didn’t (take over/take apart/take off) until 10.

  8. Are you getting tired? I can (take off/take away/take over) for you if you want.

  9. I’ve (taken on/taken back/taken off) too much work. I’m staying late at the office every day.

  10. He really (takes over/takes back/takes after) his father. You can easily see that they’re related

  11. I still had food on my plate but the waitress (took it off/took it away/took it over) without asking.

  12. David (took off/took over/took away) a few minutes ago because he said he had to go somewhere.

  13. We don’t need that sign hanging anymore. Can you (take it back/take it off/take it down)?

Part 2 – Fill in the blank with the correct preposition. Try to do it without the options first and if you are not sure, use the options provided for help:

down / over / off / after / apart / away

  1. You really take ____ your grandmother. You’re both very outspoken!

  2. I’m sorry but I have to take _____. I need to pick my kids up from school.

  3. My son was playing with some scissors. I’m glad that I took them _____ before he hurt himself.

  4. The sale ended yesterday so the store staff should take ______ all the promotional posters.

  5. I need to take ______ my vacuum in order to fix it.

  6. You’ve been doing all the driving so far. I’ll take ______ and drive the rest of the way.

away / off (x2) / on / back / up

  1. Dua Lipa’s career has really taken ______ lately. Everyone knows her name now.

  2. Should I take my hat ____ in the church?

  3. She told me that she thought I was lazy. I wish she would take it _____ and say she was wrong.

  4. What was one important lesson that you took _____ from the seminar that you attended?

  5. I’m going to take ____ golf this summer. It looks like fun.

  6. Someone needs to do a presentation for our clients. Do you want to take it _____?

Answers

Part 1

  1. The audience can take away many lessons from the presentation.

  2. Do you want to take off your jacket? It’s hot in here.

  3. I’m sorry for saying the meeting was a waste of time. I take it back.

  4. Electric cars have taken off over the past 10 years.

  5. Can you help me take apart the table so that we can move it downstairs?

  6. I’ve decided to take up yoga to make myself more flexible.

  7. My flight was scheduled to depart at 9am but it didn’t take off until 10.

  8. Are you getting tired? I can take over for you if you want.

  9. I’ve taken on too much work. I’m staying late at the office every day.

  10. He really takes after his father. You can easily see that they’re related.

  11. I still had food on my plate, but the waitress took it away without asking.

  12. David took off a few minutes ago because he said he had to go somewhere.

  13. We don’t need that sign hanging anymore. Can you take it down?

Part 2

  1. You really take after your grandmother. You’re both very outspoken!

  2. I’m sorry but I have to take off. I need to pick my kids up from school.

  3. My son was playing with some scissors. I’m glad that I took them away before he hurt himself.

  4. The sale ended yesterday so the store staff should take down all the promotional posters.

  5. I need to take apart my vacuum in order to fix it.

  6. You’ve been doing all the driving so far. I’ll take over and drive the rest of the way.


  1. Dua Lipa’s career has really taken off lately. Everyone knows her name now.

  2. Should I take my hat off in the church?

  3. She told me that she thought I was lazy. I wish she would take it back and say she was wrong.

  4. What was one important lesson that you took away from the seminar that you attended?

  5. I’m going to take up golf this summer. It looks like fun.

  6. Someone needs to do a presentation for our clients. Do you want to take it on?

2 Comments


Thanks, Lydia! It’s nice to hear from you and I’m delighted that you found the lesson useful.

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Thank you so much. This detailed explanation is so helpful since I always confuse about using take on, take up, take over, and take after. 😀

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