Handing down and passing on (Phrasal verbs that mean ‘give’)

Francesco Carta fotografo/Moment/Getty Images

by Kate Woodford

It’s sometimes said that it’s better to give than to receive. Whether or not you like the act of giving, we hope you’ll enjoy reading about all the different ways to talk about giving. As you might imagine, there are a great number of synonyms and near-synonyms for ‘give’, so this is the first of two posts. Here, we’ll look at the many ‘give’ phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs and their specific meanings.

If you give away something, you give it to someone because you don’t need it anymore: They gave away a lot of their furniture when they moved to a small apartment.

If a company gives away products, it gives them to customers without charging money for them: They’re giving away reusable coffee cups today.

To give out (also to hand out) things is to give them to many people:

She was giving out leaflets at the demonstration.

Could you hand out these worksheets? 

The verb ‘hand’ has a lot of phrasal verbs, as you might expect. To hand in something is to give it to a person in a position of authority:

Did you hand in your history essay?

When you’ve completed the form, please hand it in at the desk.

To hand around (also pass around) things is to give or offer them to all the people in a group: Could you hand these cookies around, please?

To hand down something is to give it to a younger person, often in the same family:

I have four sons so when one grows out of a piece of clothing, we just hand it down to one of the younger ones.

She has a beautiful necklace that was handed down by her grandmother.

If you pass on something, you give something to someone after someone else gave it to you: I don’t want the book back so pass it on to someone else when you’ve finished with it.

To help someone to food or drink is to get food or drink from a dish / bottle, etc. and give it to them: Can I help you to some soup, Anna?

If you shower someone with something nice, for example presents, you give them lots of them: I was showered with gifts before I left.

If you ply someone with food or drink, you keep giving them more: He kept plying us with cake.

If you press something on someone, especially food or drink, you give lots of it to them and do not allow them to refuse it: Snacks were pressed on us between meals even though we weren’t hungry.

Finally, to part with something is to give to someone else an object that is important to you:

Books are very important to John. He won’t part with any of them.

I couldn’t bring myself to part with my favourite doll. 

 

 

25 thoughts on “Handing down and passing on (Phrasal verbs that mean ‘give’)

      1. I find your posts superb. For the ones that we haven’t had yet the opportunity to be exposed to real English, let say inside a community of native speakers, the information you provide becomes priceless. Thank you!

  1. Maryem Salama

    “I have four sons so when one grows out of a piece of clothing, we just hand it down to one of the younger ones”. This sentence really resonates with me, and concludes my situation. But I would replace we with I because they hate that. Thank you Kate

  2. Anthony

    I really enjoyed learning and review what I have experienced already that I can go back and learn what I could do to improve myself.

  3. Anthony

    I really enjoyed learning and review what I have experienced already that I can go back and learn what I could do to improve myself.

    1. Dmitry the Russian

      Kate, thank you so much for such a useful article! I would save this one in my profile, but I see no option for that. Anyway, thanks one more time, great job!

  4. Hendri Sendjaja

    Hopefully, you are willing to keep writing here because your writings help me to add English vocabulary. Thank you very much, Kate.

  5. Adelaide Dupont

    As a student I was always handing out cupcakes [at least once a year] and pamphlets and sometimes vegetables for students and teachers.

    I like the idea of HELPING TO – as well as HELP YOURSELF which is probably not a direct giving idiom.

    To the person who wanted to put this article in their profile:

    You can click the WordPress icon or tap it.

    If you have Blogger or one of the major blogging services – this may be a little trickier.

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