Falling out, lashing out and blurting out: phrasal verbs connected with arguing (1).

Peige Gahan / Corbis / VCG

by Liz Walter

We use phrasal verbs a lot, and it’s worth learning as many as you can. In this post, I will look at phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs connected with arguing – there is a surprisingly large number of them! It is often important to know what preposition to use after a phrasal verb, so pay particular attention to the prepositions highlighted in the example sentences.

If people have an argument and stop being friendly, they fall out: Rika and Sam fell out. Rika fell out with Sam. They fell out over money. If an argument has been developing for a period of time, we say it has been brewing up: A nasty row has been brewing up between the two men. It had been brewing up for years. If someone decides to challenge someone about something that annoys or upsets them, we say that they have it out: If Jane’s rudeness upset you, you need to have it out with her.

If two people or groups prepare to argue or fight, we say that they square up (UK)/ off (US): Rival gangs squared up for a fight. Juan squared up to the man.  If someone suddenly speaks very angrily, they blow up: Dad blew up at Lexie when he saw the mess. If you criticize someone very strongly and angrily, you rip into them: She ripped into us for ignoring safety regulations. Lay into has a similar meaning but can also refer to physical fights: They pushed him to the ground and laid into him with their boots. Lash out is also used for both verbal and physical attacks: She lashed out at the airline for failing to provide information. The man suddenly lashed out with a metal bar.

If an argument starts suddenly and strongly, it flares up: A huge argument flared up during the lunch break. If it continues for a long time in a less dramatic way, it rumbles on: The feud between the two families rumbled on for years. When people can no longer hide their angry feelings, we say that the feelings boil over: Her feelings of resentment finally boiled over.

During arguments, people sometimes blurt out things that they later regret saying: She was so angry, she blurted out the truth about his mother. People with more self control may be able to bite such comments back: I could tell he was biting back an angry response. Those people may be able to rise above an unpleasant situation and remain calm: Don’t let them upset you. Just rise above it.

That’s plenty of phrasal verbs for one day, but in my next post, I will write about phrasal verbs that describe what happens when other people become involved in an argument and what happens after the argument has finished.

29 thoughts on “Falling out, lashing out and blurting out: phrasal verbs connected with arguing (1).

    1. Hi Alex

      Thanks for your question. Both sentences are correct. “Italy has won.” is more common in American English. “Italy have won.” is more common in British English. The same rule applies when we use other words for groups of people, for example “band” or “family”.

      Best wishes

  1. Om Prakash Ojha

    It is quite helpful for a person like me who has the hunger to enrich his English communication. All phrasal verbs have been explained in easy to understand manner. Great job..

  2. Neeta Singh

    These phrasal verbs are really helpful in conversation . and personally speaking I learnt so much from them. Send more if it is possible.
    Thanks
    Neeta Singh

  3. Maryem Salama

    I am very a peaceful woman and all these expressions are not among my cups of tea, especially in the early morning or in the late evening. What really interests me is the amazing similarity between my own language and the English in adopting the contexts to express the same literal meaning of some of these phrasal verbs such as lash out, lay into, and blow up.

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