4 phrasal verbs with “look”

Phrasal verbs are tough to learn. There are so many of them!

And phrasal verbs can also be confusing – from just one verb we often have several phrasal verbs, all with different meanings. Take put as an example – there’s put up, put off, put out . . . and many, many more.

I’ve chosen phrasal verbs with look for this post. But instead of giving you a long list, I’ll explain four of the most common.

Here they are:

look after
look for 
look out 
look up.

1. Look after

meaning: to take care of

We say look after someone or look after something:

  • He looks after his mother, who is now eighty-five years old.
  • If you want a beautiful garden, you have to look after it.

2. Look for

meaning: to search, to try to find

We say look for someone or look for something:

  • I’m looking for my phone. Have you seen it? looking my phone
  • Jana’s looking for a new boyfriend. looking a new boyfriend 

phrasal verbs with look speakspeak.com

3. Look out

meaning: to be careful, to pay attention

Often used as a warning: look out!
We also say look out for something:

  • There’s a car coming – look out!
  • Look out for pickpockets when you’re in Rome – they often target tourists.

4. Look up

meaning: to check the meaning of a word in a dictionary, to search for a specific piece of information online

We say look something up, look up something:

  • I know where Rembrandt was born because I looked it up online. I looked it online
  • If you’re not sure how a word is spelled, look it up in the dictionary.

Any questions? Feel free to ask in the comments below, or perhaps tell us which phrasal verbs you think are important to learn.

Photo credit: Toni Blay

Stuart is an English teacher and runs the Speakspeak website. He currently lives in Prague and has been teaching for over 20 years. Follow Stuart and contact him by subscribing to his monthly newsletter.


  1. lishou - January 11, 2014, 2:03 am Reply

    Thanks designed for sharing such a fastidious opinion, post is pleasant, thats
    why i have read it completely

  2. Om_HAMODA - February 10, 2016, 12:34 pm Reply

    Thanks a lot

  3. J - April 12, 2016, 2:56 am Reply

    One quick question about ‘look for’

    Some books say ‘ look for’ is a preposional verb.

    Any way my question is which is correct answer if look for is phrasal verb?

    1) Where is Emily’s photo which I’m looking for?
    2) Where is Emily’s photo for which I’m looking?

    Can you tell me which is right and why?
    I hope you can help me.

    • Stuart Cook - April 14, 2016, 5:27 pm Reply

      ‘The photo which/that I’m looking for’ is more common. ‘The photo for which I’m looking’ is also grammatical, but is more formal and is used less often.
      And, yes, looking for is technically a prepositional verb, but in ESL we often refer to all multi-word verbs as phrasal verbs.

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