25 Family Phrasal Verbs

We use phrasal verbs a lot when we speak English and in informal situations.

All these family phrasal verbs are used to talk about family relationships – such as the relationship between parents and children; family relationships; and behaviour and discipline.

bring up = how you educate your children
“They were brought up to be polite.”

grow up = go from being a child to an adult
“Your children are growing up fast!”

take after = be similar to a parent or older relative
“I think he takes after his father.”

look after = take care of someone
“Who looks after your children in the summer holidays?”

care for = take care of someone (especially when they’re old)
“We’re looking for someone to care for my mother.”

look up to = admire
“Is there anyone you look up to in your family?”

live up to = do what is expected of you
“Both his parents studied at Oxford University and have important careers. It’s hard for him to live up to his parents’ expectations.”

sleep over = when friends of a child sleep at the child’s house
“Her daughter is having friends to sleep over this weekend.” (Also “a sleep-over”)

pass away / pass on = die
“His father passed away suddenly from a heart attack.”

act up = when a child behaves badly
“When my kids are tired, they begin to act up.”

come down on = punish or criticise
“They came down on him hard when they found out he’d been missing school.”

tell off = reprimand, criticise
“Her parents are always telling her off for watching too much TV.”

run away = leave home when you are a child because you are angry or scared
“He’s run away from home three times already.”

get along = have a good relationship
“All the brothers and sisters get along.”

live with = live in the same house
“Her grandmother lives with them.”

run around after = spend your time doing everything for someone else
“I’m fed up with running around after you. You can do your own cleaning and ironing from now on.”

farm out = send your children to live with other relatives (temporarily)
“My parents used to farm us out so they could have a break.”

descend on / upon = come to visit in large numbers
“We all used to descend on our grandparents for Christmas.”

stand up for = protect someone (often a younger brother or sister)
“He’s always standing up for his brother at school.”

stick together = stay in a close group
“We learned to stick together as children.”

run to = go to someone when you need help (often because you aren’t strong or mature enough to solve a problem yourself)
“She’s always running to her parents when things go wrong.”

turn to = ask someone for help
“He turned to his brother when he lost his job.”

cut off = when your parents refuse to give you money / disinherit you
“They were so angry with her that they cut her off without a penny.”

split up = when a couple end their relationship
“His parents split up when he was a child.”

settle down = when two people make a home together
“She’s finally settled down with Jack.”

Phrasal verbs are really common in English.

We use them all the time in conversations – but also in newspaper articles and stories. When YOU understand and use them, you’ll sound more natural, you’ll be able to understand conversations, and it will be easier and quicker for you to understand when you read English.

Master more than 1000 of the most common phrasal verbs in the Phrasal Verbs Masterclass. I’ll show you exactly how you can understand them quickly and easily with my “Particles Guide” – the world’s first spreadsheet of phrasal verb meanings.