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Hi, welcome to a new episode of The Art of Business English. This week we will review some multi-word verbs, which will help you enrich your business vocabulary and your understanding of native speakers.

Multi-word verbs are quite common in English, especially in more informal contexts, and it is important to learn them since their meaning differs from the main verb depending on the particles it takes.

So, let’s see what we’ve got!

To call something off

Meaning:

To decide to stop an activity.

Example:

“Tomorrow's meeting has been called off because the director is ill.”

To call on someone to do something

Meaning:

To ask someone in a formal way to do something.

Example:

“The Commission had to call on other budget lines within the Community budget to cover the gap.”

To catch on

Meaning:

To become popular.

Example:

“Why did the electronic gadget catch on so fast?”

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To catch up (with something)

Meaning:

To reach the same level of quality as someone or something.

Example:

“Will Western industry ever catch up with Japanese innovations?”

To cater for someone/something

Meaning:

To provide what is wanted or needed by a particular group of people.

Example:

“The port has a depth of 15 metres, enabling it to cater for the newest generation of container vessels.”

To cater to someone/something

Meaning:

To give people exactly what they want, often something unusual or something that people think is wrong.

Example:

“These software packages can be customized to cater to the specific needs of an organization.”

To check up on something

Meaning:

To try to discover how something is progressing or whether someone is doing what they should be doing.

Example:

“Farmers themselves cannot check up on what feeding stuffs contain.”

To check something out

Meaning:

To examine something or get more information about it in order to be certain that it is true, safe, or suitable/to go to a place in order to see what it is like.

Example:

“I want to check out the quality of the product before buying it.”
“I'm going to check out the new locale.”

Business Idioms

This six module course helps English language learners build their knowledge of business idioms and their understanding of them in different business scenarios.

We cover idioms for marketing, finance, behaviour, operations and production, manegament and planning.

To clean someone/something off

Meaning:

To make a person or place clean and tidy.

Example:

“Clean off surfaces that are frequently touched such as telephones and computer keyboards.”

To clear something away

Meaning:

To make a place tidy by removing things from it, or putting them where they should be.

Example:

“He cleared papers away from a couple of chairs and we sat down.”

To close something off

Meaning:

To put something across the entrance of a place in order to stop people entering it.

Example:

“The roads into the docks were closed off by iron gates.”

To come across

Meaning:

To seem to be a particular type of person or thing.

Example:

“She doesn't come across well in interviews, but she's very good at her job.”

To come off

Meaning:

To happen successfully.

Example:

“The performance on the first night came off pretty well.”

To come on

Meaning:

To start to happen or work.

Example:

“Just at that moment, the news came on.”

To come round

Meaning:

To become conscious again after an accident or medical operation.

Example:

“The police are waiting for him to come round so they can question him about the attack.”

To come under something

Meaning:

To be in particular part of a book, list, etc.

Example:

“These matters come under the heading of classified information.”

To come up

Meaning:

If a job or opportunity comes up, it becomes available.

Example:

“Opportunities for individual advocacy come up in daily life all the time”

To come up against something

Meaning:

To have to deal with a problem or difficulty.

Example:

“We may find we come up against quite a lot of opposition from local people.”

To cover something up

Meaning:

To put something over something else in order to protect it or hide it.

Example:

“Kate has made some big mistakes, and she won't be able to cover them up for long.”

To cut something out

Meaning:

To remove something or form a shape by cutting, usually something made of paper or cloth/to stop eating or drinking something, usually to improve your health.

Example:

“Billy showed me the article he’d cut out of the magazine.”
“The current advice to pregnant women is to cut out alcohol.”

Final thoughts

Well, there you have it folks. I hope you found this episode interesting and useful. If you have any questions or would like to add your own multi-word verbs to the list, then why don’t you send me a message on speakpipe or drop me a comment on the blog.

If you're interested in expanding your knowledge of vocabulary, download your copy of my eBook, "500 business English collocations for everyday use" which also includes the pronunciation in mp3 format for free. 

See you next week. Take care.

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Andrew


Andrew is the CEO and founder of the Art of Business English. Besides teaching and coaching native Spanish speakers in Business English, he is also passionate about mountain biking, sailing and healthy living. When He is not working, Andrew loves to spend time with his family and friends.

Andrew Ambrosius

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