Get Ready/ – to prepare
- We got ready to leave while my brother shoveled the snow off the driveway.
Note: This verb can be followed by the infinitive form of a verb, as in the example above, or by “for” and a noun, as in the example below, but in either case it is roughly equivalent to “prepare.”
- I have to get ready for my presentation. It’s in an hour and I haven’t memorized my opening speech yet!
Note: This verb can be both intransitive, as in the previous examples, or it can be separated and made transitive, as in the following example:
- I always get my bags ready the night before I go to the airport so I won’t forget anything.
Gear up for/ – to make preparations
- We’re gearing up for our annual staff appreciation celebration. It’s a huge event that brings employees from all of the different areas together.
Note: Taken more literally, this verb can be used to express that one is “gathering the equipment necessary to accomplish something,” like in the example below:
- Ok, everyone, let’s gear up for the morning hike. Make sure you have your canteen, walking stick, and raincoat.
Brush up on/ – to practice an old skill or refresh old knowledge
- I’ll have to brush up on my Spanish before we go to Chile for our vacation. I haven’t spoken a word of it since high school!
Note: A very similar – albeit more informal – expression with the same meaning substitutes “bone” for “brush,” like in this example:
- I’m boning up on my jazz scales before the show tomorrow night. I’ve been playing mostly blues for a while now.
Set … Up/ – To put things in their place
- I have to set up the salad bar because the guy who usually does it is sick and didn’t come to work today. It’s a lot of work bringing out all of those vegetables and plates!
Note: In another context, this verb can mean “betray someone to their enemies,” like in the following example:
- The undercover police officer setup the drug dealer with a DEA sting operation. He was arrested in possession of narcotics, cash, and weapons.
Still not feeling ready? Have no fear! Check out our phrasal verbs homepage and practice a little more!