#176: 10 Phrasal Verbs with LOOK — Advanced English Vocabulary

May 6, 2020 | Advanced Vocabulary

This lesson was originally published in January 2016.
It has been updated with new content and a video lesson.

If someone at work asks you to look over a document, what does that mean? What are they asking you to do? Or if I told you, “I’ve always looked up to my sister” does that mean she is taller than me? 

Adding phrasal verbs to your vocabulary is an important step toward a higher level of English. Today’s lesson will help you with 10 new phrasal verbs.

Phrasal verbs are certainly a challenge. 

  • One phrasal verb often has more than one meaning.
  • They are often idiomatic, so the meaning is not obvious.
  • Phrasal verbs can have different rules when you use them in a sentence.

But this lesson makes it easier with a focus on a small number of phrasal verbs so you can quickly learn and use them.

You’ll learn:

  • to look up to someone
  • to look back on
  • to look over
  • to look into
And several more.

I recommend that you combine this lesson with my top tips on how to learn advanced-level vocabulary.

With a little practice, you can immediately add these phrasal verbs to your vocabulary. 

10 English Phrasal Verbs with Look

Look over

When she heard the loud crash, she looked over her shoulder to see what happened.

I will look over the proposal this afternoon and respond to you with my edits. Is that okay?

He looked himself over to be certain his suit was appropriate and professional for the interview.


  1. to direct or move one’s gaze in a specific direction or at a specific thing
  2. to examine or inspect something
  3. to examine or inspect someone carefully

Look after

Our neighbors will look after the dog while we are on vacation. He (the dog) should be fine because he knows the neighbor children very well – they walk him during the summer months.

I will look after your house and water your garden while you are away.


  1. to take care or to be responsible for someone/something

Look around

After looking around the house for an hour, I still couldn’t find my phone! Where could it be?

She went into the store to look around quickly. She hopes to find a great deal on a new sweater.


  1. to investigate or to study a place with your eyes

“To become more advanced and fluent in the English language, phrasal verbs are essential. Phrasal verbs are common in everyday life for English speakers.

Look up

Hey – look up at the stars! It is so clear tonight!

I haven’t seen Susan for years! I will look her up on Facebook to see if I can find her.

If you don’t know the meaning of the word, look it up in the dictionary.

After two months of unemployment, I finally have several job interviews. Things are starting to look up for me!


  1. to turn or direct your gaze upwards
  2. to seek or to search for someone
  3. to search for information about something or someone in a book or list of information
  4. to begin improving or recovering from a negative situation

Look back on

As we age, we often look back on our life.


  1. to reflect on and review one’s life

Look into

Thank you for contacting us. We will look into the problem and respond with a solution before the end of the day.

We would like to go on vacation to the United States but we need to look into the price of plane tickets first to make sure it is within our budget.

She looked into (or looked in) the cupboard to see if there was any cereal left but it was all gone.


  1. to investigate something
  2. to turn one’s gaze toward the inner part of a room or space

Look up to

I really look up to my older sister. She always works hard and never gives up. I admire that about her.


  1. to admire and respect someone

Look for

I’m looking for my keys. Have you seen them?

Look for big news to come on Monday next week!!


  1. to search for something or someone
  2. to expect or anticipate something

Look out

Look out! The steps are really icy.

I love to look out the windows in my office to watch the sunset.


  1. to warn; to be watchful or careful
  2. to turn one’s gaze outward from inside a place or space

Look through

Have you ever looked through a telescope? Did you see anything interesting?

Could you look through this proposal? I want to make sure I’ve included all the details.


  1. to gaze or peer through something
  2. to review or to search through something quickly

Let’s add 2 new phrasal verbs to your English vocabulary today.

Choose 2 phrasal verbs from today’s lesson. Review the meaning and example sentences. Then try to use the phrasal verb in your own sentences. You can share those with me below.

To learn and remember new vocabulary, be sure to follow my top tips

Have a great week!


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