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Put On - Phrasal Verb

Video Overview

This video explains the meaning and use of the phrasal verb 'put on' in English. We show you how to use it with some easy examples to help you learn this phrasal verb so you can use it in spoken and Business English.

Video Analysis

'Put on' is one of the most versatile phrasal verbs and it has many different uses in English. To 'put on something to wear' means to wear something or to dress somebody in something, such as 'putting on your coat' if it's cold outside; or to 'put on pyjamas' before going to bed. If you 'put on on a film', 'put on music', or some other form of entertainment, it means you make it play for your entertainment. You might like to 'put on the news' in the evening to hear what is happening in the world, or 'put on some music' while you're cooking.

You can put something mechanical or electrical on by switching it on and causing it to activate or begin to work. With people and animals, you can use 'put on' when you are speaking about gaining weight or muscle. If you apply something to the skin as a bandage or a cream, you can say you 'put it on'. Some people 'put on' a face mask every week; other people need to 'put on' cream any time they are in the sun.

If you 'put on' a particular voice or behaviour, it means you impersonate someone or act in a particular way. You can 'put on a voice' to play a trick on your friend over the phone, or 'put on a serious voice' when you are explaining something to your children, so they know that it is important. You always use 'put on' on to talk about activating the brakes or the handbrake in a vehicle. If you don't 'put the handbrake on' when you park your car, it might roll away.

You can 'put on events', meaning to host a gathering or a party. You can use 'put on' to say you are going to host a dinner or begin making food. You can 'put on a pizza' to feed your friends when they visit, 'put on a 4-course dinner' for someone's birthday, or 'put on breakfast' when you wake up.

If you 'put money on something', it means you make a bet. If you 'put someone on the phone', it means to hand them the phone so they can talk. A doctor or medical professional might 'put you on' a particular drug or they might even 'put you on a diet' to help your illness. If you 'put someone on' a particular task or duty, it means to make them responsible for it. You can also 'put something on' a tab or put something on a bill or an account in order to pay for it later.

As you can see there are many uses of 'put on'. Can you think of any more? If so, let us know!

Additional examples with 'put on':

You and a friend are about to leave the house to go to the cinema:

Do you think I should put on my coat it might get cold later on?

Your mother has an unusual habit:

My mother always puts on on a strange voice when she's talking on the phone:

You are visiting your friend but you want to know how the football match is going:

Do you mind if I put on the match to check the score?

While cooking your partner burns themselves:

Oh no, that looks painful you should put on some cream!

You are staying in a hotel and you have brought your friend for dinner. When it comes to paying for the bill you say...

Could you put that on my room, please? It's number 317.

How to Memorize:

put on clothes, sunglasses, hat, put cream or bandage or make-up on - make contact to cover a portion of the body or skin, like wear something or apply something to skin

put on tv, radio, brakes, put on a music or a movie - make (something) work or start or activate equipment

put on weight, or put it (money) on tab, bill, credit card - add to/accumulate or make more

put on a show, play - host or present

put on the dinner, lunch - (start to?) cook or prepare food

put money on a horse - bet or wager, gamble

put on a voice, face - pretend or imitate

put on to customer service - transfer a call

put on medication - prescribe or give instructions to use/take

put on watch or nightshift - assign or schedule to perform an action


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