Advanced English Grammar



Phrasal Verb ON

Phrasal verb on (i.e., learning the phrasal verb from the preposition) is more difficult than learning the phrasal verb from the verb. At least, that's what all of my students say.

If the above is true, (and I intend to believe that it is) then why would I include phrasal verbs grouped together by their prepositions as opposed to their verbs? Good question, right?

Well, as stated on the previous page, sometimes it helps to learn the phrasal verb in relation to the preposition.


The preposition often indicates what the meaning of the phrasal verb is. It does this by indicating whether the new, multi-word verb has a meaning of place, location, time, position, distance etc.

Some phrasal verbs with on are listed below... plus there is an exercise to do after you look over the list

CALL ON = A. visit B. choose student in class

A. Mom said we was going to call on grandmother today after work.
B. Some students hate to be called on in class.

CARRY ON = continue, not stop

We carried on talking until the early hours of the morning.

CATCH ON = A. become popular B. understand

A. Blue jeans have caught on worldwide.
B. My friends spoke in Greek so I wouldn't catch on to what they were saying.

CHEER ON = shout encouragement, support

The team was cheered on to victory by their loyal fans.

COUNT ON = rely, depend

My parents counted on me to look after my little sister when they weren't around.

DRAG ON = continue unnecessarily for a long time; become boring

The meeting dragged on and, consequently, I missed my train.

GET ON = enter a vehicle

She was pushed While getting on the bus.

GO ON = A. continue B. change or move from subject to another

A. Please, go on, she said as I told her about what happened
B. After some grammar exercises we went on to vocabulary practice.

HAVE ON = Wear

"She looked great last night." "Really, what did she have on?"

HOLD ON = A. wait B. grasp firmly

A. "Hold on a minute, I'm almost ready."
B. The woman held on to her handbag as if someone might steal it.

Phrasal Verb ON exercise 



1. She paused to have a drink and then ___ on speaking.
2. The crowd ___ her on as she overtook the race leader.
3. This new fashion is really ___ on everyone's wearing it nowadays.
4. The teacher ___ on me and I wasn't prepared. Never again!
5. I ___ on the train every morning to go to work.
6. He ___ on as tight as he could to the safety line.
7. "All she ___ on was a nightgown." "Really?"
8. The meeting seemed to ___ on for hours. What a waste of time.
9. I could always ___ on my brothers when I needed them.
10. I've decided to ___ on at school and take some more exams.


 Your score is  

For more information about phrasal verb on, click on the preceding link. You'll be taken to the second page of phrasal verbs with on plus another phrasal verb exercise.