We don’t really get on. (Phrasal verbs for describing relationships)

by Kate Woodford​
relationships
Two people who have a good relationship are often said to get on (well): I get on really well with both of my brothers. Meanwhile, people who stop being friends after an argument are frequently said to fall out: The brothers fell out over money. Our relationships are very important to us so we talk about them a lot. Often, to describe the way we feel about a person, or something that has happened to a relationship, we use phrasal verbs such as these. This week, we are looking at the most important phrasal verbs in this area. Some are used for talking about romantic relationships and others relate to friends and family members. All are common.

Let’s start with the first time we meet another person. If we like them, we may say that we take to them and if, (as sometimes happens), we decide that we do not like them, we may say that we take against them: I hadn’t met Jamie’s girlfriend before but I really took to her – I thought she was lovely./Tom took against Rebecca because she said something mean about his friend. If we very much like someone that we have just met and become friendly immediately, we sometimes use the informal phrasal verb hit it off: I introduced Jake to Ollie and they really hit it off. (Notice that ‘it’ is always part of this phrase. This is true for a small group of phrasal verbs.) If one particular thing about a person you have just met makes you not like them, you may say that it puts you off them: Kate’s husband was very rude to our waiter and it put me off him a bit.

Looking now at phrasal verbs that relate to romance, if we suddenly have strong romantic feelings for someone, we may say that we fall for them: Dan was good-looking and charming and I just fell for him. A common way to say that two people are having a romantic relationship is to say that they are going out (together): Ava and Isaac have been going out for over a year now. Sadly, not all romantic relationships last. If a couple start arguing a lot, you might say they go through difficulties, (often in the phrase ‘go through a bad patch’): Charles and Sophie went through a bad patch a while back, but I think they’re over it now. If, over time, a couple gradually become less close until the point when the relationship ends, you may say that they drift apart: There was no big argument – we just gradually drifted apart. If a married couple or a couple who are going out split up or break up, they end their relationship.

To end this post on a positive note, let’s remember that people who fall out can sometimes make up (= forgive each other and become friends or lovers again).

2 thoughts on “We don’t really get on. (Phrasal verbs for describing relationships)

  1. Pingback: Phrasal verbs | ELT Infodump

  2. Pingback: Phrases and pragmatics | ELT Infodump

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