Success with Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs with AROUND



Maria: Rory, you should check different shops to find the best price and then buy the Gucci bag.

Rory: I should look around or I should shop around?

Maria: Yeah! Shop around. So, if you shop around for a new phone, for example, you check different shops in order to find the best price. To shop around.


Maria: Rory you always tell me what to do. Stop it.

Rory: Stop ordering you around? Bossing you around?

Maria: To boss somebody around - to boss around or round, also. "Just stop bossing me around" - Stop telling me what to do.


Maria: Rory, I wish I could stop spending my time doing lots of unimportant things and just start working.

Rory: Stop messing around?

Maria: Okay, give me another.

Rory: Faffing around?

Maria: Yes, faff about or faff around - beautiful. I love this phrasal verb faff around. Beautiful. I think it's British, right?

Rory: Yes.

Maria: So when you faff around, you spend your time doing a lot of things which are unimportant instead of doing the thing that you should be doing. So "sometimes, you know, we start faffing around or faffing about, instead of recording this podcourse."


Maria: Kids usually love behaving in a silly way in front of fire.

Rory: What??

Maria: Kids usually love behaving in a silly and dangerous way in front of fire.

Rory: Is that messing around?

Maria: Pretty much, yeah, a synonym. Like, mess around or when kids do something, or actually people, when they behave in a silly way, especially if it leads to dangerous results. There is a Beatles song ____ on the hill.

Rory: Fooling around?

Maria: Fool around. Yay! To fool around - to behave in a silly way, especially in a way that might have dangerous results. That's why you can say "kids usually love fooling around in a silly way in front of fire". Or "don't you fool around with this matches!"

Rory: I suppose we'd better stop fooling around and get on with exploring these things.

Mechanics of phrasal verbs with AROUND

Moving around

Maria: So the preposition around can first of all mean moving here and there, visiting, moving, or going to different places.

Rory: For example get around, you can get around by car.

Maria: Yeah, "the best way to get around Moscow is by car, but not in the afternoon. Not during the peak hours".

Rory: You might need to rent a car, but you don't know where to go. So you'd have to ask around.

Maria: Yeah, "let's ask people around and get the best deal". If I come round, come round. So would you like to come round on Saturday?

Rory: Yeah. Well, you move to the person's place.

Maria: Yeah. "Feel free to come round this weekend".

Rory: And when you're in that person's place, you might want to look around.

Maria: Yeah, when you look around you look everywhere.

Rory: But be careful not to run around because it's dangerous.

Maria: Yeah. When kids are running everywhere. So "they're running around the garden", for example. Sleep around. If a person sleeps around, Rory, give us a definition...

Rory: If someone sleeps around it means that they are seeing multiple people romantically or sexually, at the very least.

Maria: Yeah, "everybody knew that Bob was sleeping around". Bob, if you're listening to this podcast, we are sorry. It is just an example about you. For some reason, I picked your name.

Not having a clear purpose

Maria: Around also could mean not having a clear purpose. Hmm. So when you do nothing, when you're lazy, you're wasting your time... That's my favorite thing to do. And the first phrasal verb for you is arse around. Arse or ass. Yes.

Rory: So if you arse around, it just means that you're doing nothing important, or you are doing something, but it's not important.

Maria: Yeah. So "I'm just arsing around browsing the internet doing nothing". A synonym would be to fool around.

Rory: Yes. I used to be careful who you hang around with in order to avoid fooling around too much.

Maria: Fool around - again, as we've discussed previously, it implies that you are playing with some dangerous things. So, don't fool around the fire and hang around, well, "I enjoy hanging around the bar"

Rory: You might be tired, like me, and you want to laze around. But while you're lazing around, you might toy around with an idea.

Maria: Nice. I like this one, like toy, like think about something. "I'm just toying around with the idea of creating more online courses", or "I'm toying around with the idea of creating more episodes", for example.

Behaving badly

Rory: When you fool around too much, then you might be accused of behaving badly, which is something we could also talk about. So for example, you push someone around when you're forcing them to do things they don't want to do.

Maria: Yeah, or kick somebody around. So they kicked me around, meaning... Well, they kicked me with their feet. Rory, have you been kicked around at school?

Rory: No.

Maria: Good for you. Have you kicked around anyone?

Rory: I plead the fifth.


Maria: Around also could mean changes. So changing, making a situation change.

Rory: We can bring around change. For example, "we have to make the sacrifices necessary to bring around real change".

Maria: One more phrasal verb was around is come round.

Rory: "So in order to make the change, people have to come around to our way of thinking". Which means that we have to make them agree with us.

Maria: Come round also has some other meaning, which means to become conscious again after an accident or operation. So you are unconscious in hospital, for example. And then you come round after the anesthesia.

Rory: That surgery might turn your life around.

Maria: To change your life completely. My life turns round when I started doing this podcast.


So to sum up, we can use the around to talk about moving here, there, and everywhere. Yeah, like get around, ask around, sleep around. You might not have a clear purpose, like arse around, faff about, faff around, fool around, hang around. You might behave badly towards other people: push people around. And you might be encouraging people to change: it will bring around real changes. But that's enough faffing about with these phrasal verbs. In our next episode, we're going to talk about phrasal verbs with the particle about.


More useful phrasal verbs with AROUND

Nose around - to look around or search in order to discover something, especially something that other people do not want you to find:
  • There were some reporters nosing about/around.
  • We found this vase when we were just nosing around in an antique shop.

Walk around – to walk without a particular goal:
  • We were walking around the city for hours.

Be around – to be present:
  • If you want to talk to me, I’ll be around.

Look around – to visit a place and look at things at it:
  • We looked around the gallery.

Run around – to be very busy:
  • I’m so tired; I’ve been running around all morning.

Clown around - to joke, play, or otherwise behave in a silly way:
  • I can see you boys clowning around back there! Sit down and be quiet!

Laze around -to relax or spend time idly; to do nothing or very little:
  • It's a gorgeous day outside, so you kids get off your butts and quit lazing around!

Mess around – to do unimportant things, waste time:
  • You should stop messing around and do your homework.
  • If I were you, I would stop messing around with him and find myself a more stable guy.

Stick around - to stay somewhere for a period of time:
  • You go - I'll stick around here a bit longer.