Advanced English Grammar



Phrasal verb KEEP

The phrasal verb keep is listed below along with an exercise for you to check your understanding. I recommend looking over the list then doing the exercise to check your knowledge.

KEEP AROUND = continue to possess or keep near you

I have know idea why they keep around this piece of junk. They'll never use it.

KEEP AT = continue with something (usually difficult)

Jill kept at the puzzle until she put all the pieces together.

KEEP AWAY = prevent from gaining access; not allow near

The warehouse has a guard dog to keep away would be thieves.

KEEP BACK = maintain a safe distance

The police kept back the crowd by blocking off the street.

KEEP DOWN = A. not vomit B. repress or muffle

A. Did she keep down the soup? No, she hasn't kept anything down for two days.
B. Keep down the noise, will you? I'm trying to sleep.

KEEP FROM = refrain from doing

I couldn't keep myself from eating the last piece of cake.

KEEP IN = not allow out

She kept him in because he had a high temperature.

KEEP OFF = A. not walk on something B. not talk about something

A. There was a sign posted at the courthouse that read; keep off the grass!
B. The reporter kept off any the topic of the recent scandal with the politician.

KEEP ON = continue

Let's keep on hiking... it's such a beautiful day.

KEEP OUT = not allow someone to enter

We were kept out of the club because we were too young.

KEEP TO = remain steady or faithful to something

Let's keep to the plan. I don't want to make any changes now.

KEEP UP = A. prevent from going to bed B. maintain a continuous action or state

A. John kept up Jill last night talking about the current crisis.
B. "Keep up the good work," John's teacher said to him as he handed back his essay.

KEEP UP WITH = A. move at same rate or pace B. stay informed, current, up to date

A. The pack kept up with the leader as they rounded the final bend of the race.
B. I keep up with things back home by reading the news on the internet.

Phrasal verb KEEP Exercise


Choose from the drop down menu the preposition(s) that best complete the phrasal verbs below.


1. You'll be fine as long as you keep ___ the path. Don't leave it.
2. The damned the river to keep ____ the water.
3. The runner couldn't keep _____ the pace and lost the lead.
4. He was kept ____ participating because of his age.
5. She kept ____ the sandwich which was the first solid food she ate in a week.
6. Why keep ____ that rusty old car? You ought to get rid of it.
7. Mother told us to keep ____ the kitchen floor as she had just mopped it.
8. He used an alarm system to help keep ____ unwanted guests.
9. She kept ____ it until she finally got the knot untied.
10. He kept ___ his wife with his loud snoring.
 Your score is  

For more information about the phrasal verb keep click on the preceding link.