4 phrasal verbs with “back”

There are a few more phrasal verbs used with back but I’m just going to focus on the most common ones. Some phrasal verbs can be separated and some cannot depending on how you use them. In this list, you will see that sometimes you can separate them and sometimes you can’t.

  1. To back away-this means that you are stepping backwards to get away from a person or uncomfortable situation.
    1. Kylie told Macey that she was a terrible friend and that she didn’t want to talk to her ever again. Macey backed away in shock and turned and walked away.
  2. To back off-This is used when referring to a confrontation or an argument and one of the people stop arguing or stop yelling.
    1. Ashtyn and Gaby were yelling at each other because Gaby thought Ashtyn stole her favorite sweater. Ashtyn swore that she did not have it and asked Gaby to calm down and that she would help her look for it. Gaby backed off (stopped arguing/yelling) and started to calm down.
    2. Your boyfriend comes home and starts yelling at you to make dinner. You are watching tv and want to finish the episode you are watching. Your boyfriend continues yelling. You say, “back off! I will make dinner in a minute.” It means you want him to stop yelling at you, that you know hear him and will cook dinner in a few minutes.”
  3. To back out-You back out of an agreement.
    1. You and your brother both agree to pay $100 each to buy your mom a necklace that you both designed and had a jeweler make for you. Two days before you are supposed to pick up the necklace your brother says, he won’t pay. You say, Kevin! You can’t back out now! We have to pick it up in two days! (It means that he agreed to pay $100 and now is no longer going to do what he agreed to do previously.)
    2. To back out-This can also mean to back out of a parking spot, to back out of a garage. (It means to move a vehicle in reverse)
      1. Kaitlyn backed out of the driveway and hit the mailbox.
      2. Dominic back out of the garage and ran over Kevin’s bike.
  4. To back up-to support your claims or comments.
    1. The police suspect that you murdered someone. You claim that you were at the movies during the time the murder occurred. They ask you for your movie ticket to back up your claims. (this means to prove that you were at the movie theater.)
    2. To back up-To support someone or what someone says as being true.
      1. You are still at the police station and you say, let me call my friend Ashtyn, she can back me up, she was at the movies with me.
      2. You are at home with your brother watching a movie and your mom comes into the room says that her vase is broken. She wants to know who broke it. Neither of you broke it because you have been together watching the movie. You back each other up saying that you don’t know who broke it because you’ve been together for the last two hours. Right at that moment, your cat walks into the room and the right side of his body is wet. haha The cat broke the vase.

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