Phrasal Verbs with "Take"

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A phrasal verb is a verb followed by a preposition or an adverb. The combination creates a meaning different from the original verb.

In this article we will show you 16 phrasal verbs with ‘take’  with their meaning and example sentences.


  • To surprise or shock someone (old-fashioned, rare)

We were taken aback by the news.

His voice was so loud that it took us aback at first.


  • To be similar to someone in appearance or character, especially a family member

She’s very funny. She takes after her mother.

He takes after his father’s side of the family.


  • Take something apart or separate something into its different parts

He took my phone apart to fix it.

  • Showing the weakness of an argument or an idea

They will take our report apart and then give us feedback.

  • To criticise something (British English)

The reviewers took apart the new film.


  • To remove something

Take that table away as we don’t need it in here.

They took away my passport so I can’t travel.

  • To subtract a number or amount

Six take away four is two.

  • To buy food from a restaurant and eat it elsewhere

We ordered Chinese food to take away.

  • To get a piece of information or message from something

What I took away from that film is that neither side wins in a war.

Take away from something

  • To reduce the positive effect of something

The drunken fight after the party took away from the celebration.

Take someone away

  • Bring someone from their home to an institution

He became very aggressive so we called the police and they took him away.


Take something back

  • Return something to the place you bought it

The dress was too tight so I took it back to the shop.

  • Admitting something you said/thought was wrong

You’re not selfish. I take that (comment) back.

  • To regain possession of

I took back my jacket from Sarah.

Take someone back

  • Allow someone to come back/return

He cheated on her but she finally took him back.

Takes you back (British English)

  • Reminds you of a time in your past

Playing that game took me back to my childhood.


Take something down

  • Reach up and get something from a high place

He took down the book from the top of the bookcase.

  • To dismantle a structure

After the music festival, they took down the stage.

  • To write down a piece of information

She took down John’s number so she could call him back.

Take somebody down

  • To humble or humiliate someone, to lower/reduce in power

The journalist took the politician down with her difficult questions.

  • To hit or shoot someone so they fall down

My brother would easily take you down in a fight!

  • To remove a prisoner from where they stand in court (British)

Court is adjourned. Take him down.


  • To believe something about somebody, often wrongly

You took me for an idiot.

She looks very mature so I took her for much older than 14.


Take somebody in

  • Allow someone to stay in your house/country

He had nowhere to go so she took him in.

  • When the police remove someone from their home in order to question them

The police took him in for questioning about the robbery.

  • Deceived by something/someone

She lied! I can’t believe I was taken in by her.

Take something in

  • To pay attention to, understand something

It was a very good speech and I took it all in.

  • See everything at the same time with just one look

When she walked into the room she took it all in.

  • Allow something to enter your body, by breathing or swallowing

Some plants take in a lot of water and can’t grow in dry places.

  • To make clothing smaller/tighter

She took in her dress as it was too big.

  • The amount of money a business gets from people buying goods or services

It was a successful year as the company took in £1.5 million.

  • To include or constitute something

The book takes in the period between the First and Second World Wars.


  • Leave the ground (an airplane, bird or insect)

The plane took off at 2pm.

  • To become successful or popular very suddenly

Her career took off.

  • To suddenly leave somewhere (informal)

He took off before I had a chance to say bye.

  • Imitate/impersonate somebody

She takes off her mother so well.

  • When a service is withdrawn

The program was taken off TV because it wasn’t very popular.

Take something off

  • To remove a piece of clothing

It was hot in the room so he took off his jumper.

  • Not go to work, but with permission

She took a week off to go and visit her family.


Take something on

  • Accept a job or responsibility, especially a difficult one

I took on the project.

  • Develop an appearance or quality

The room took on a 1970s look.

Take somebody on

  • Employ someone to do a job

I went for the interview last week and now they’ve decided to take me on.

  • To fight or compete against someone

Germany will take on Mexico in the first round of the World Cup.

  • Allowing people to get on a vehicle

We can only take on five more passengers at the next stop.


Take something out

  • Remove something from its place

I got my wisdom tooth taken out.

I took out my wallet from my bag.

  • Obtain something official, such as a loan, licence or insurance policy

She took out a loan from the bank.

  • Buy food from a restaurant and eat it elsewhere

Do you want that to eat in or take out?

Take someone out

  • Go somewhere with someone, you usually invite them and pay

David took his girlfriend out for dinner.

  • Kill or destroy someone/something

His entire army unit got taken out in Afghanistan.

Take it out of you

  • Something that requires a lot of effort and makes you tired

The journey to work this morning was a nightmare! It really took it out of me.

Take something out on someone

  • To treat someone badly because you feel upset or angry

Sorry, I was very upset yesterday and I took it out on you.


Take something over

  • To get control of a company, business

Facebook took over WhatsApp in 2014.

  • To seize power/control (e.g. of a country), often by force

When the protests started the army took over.

Take over from something

  • To become bigger/more important than something else, take control

Her desire to win took over.

Take over from somebody

  • To start having control of something, in place of somebody else

Susan is taking over from Anna as manager.


13. TAKE someone THROUGH something

  • To explain something to someone

Let me take you through the instructions for the exam.

If you don’t understand what you’re meant to do, I can take you through it.



  • To like something/somebody

It was only the teacher’s first class but the students really took to him.

  • Start doing something often

She’s taken to drinking green tea every morning.




  • Spend time doing something regularly (e.g. a hobby)

She took up swimming and started going twice a week.

  • Act on a question, problem or cause

When she read about the libraries closing, she took up the issue with her MP (Member of Parliament, local politician).

  • Start working at a job

He will take up his position next week.

  • Accept an offer or challenge

He was offered a promotion at work and, although it was a lot more work, he took up the challenge.

  • Use space, time or effort

I know you’re busy so I won’t take up too much of your time.

  • Get into a particular position

She took up a position in the corner of the room.

  • To start something after an interruption or someone else has started it

When David left the police, Anna took up his unfinished case.

Take somebody up on something

  • Say yes to an invitation or offer

– I can show you round London if you like. – I’ll take you up on that (offer)!

Take something up with somebody

  • Discuss a subject with someone, usually a complaint

If you’re unhappy with the service, you’ll have to take it up with my manager.

16. TAKE it UPON oneself

  • Accept responsibility for something

He took it upon himself to show the guests around.

I took it upon myself to give him the bad news.

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