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  • Writer's pictureGwen

'Pitch In,' 'Butter Up,' and 'Veg Out': Learn 3 cool English phrasal verbs

young man sprawled on bed, 'vegging out.'
An example of 'vegging out.'

As you learn English you might find phrasal verbs to be a challenging aspect of mastering the language. However, they can add color and spice to your conversations - and they sound oh, so fluent. Phrasal verbs are combinations of verbs and particles that have a meaning that’s different from the individual words. Let's explore three common phrasal verbs: 'pitch in,' 'butter up,' and 'veg out,' and understand how to use them effectively in everyday English conversations.

1. 'Pitch In'

When someone asks you to 'pitch in,' they're inviting you to contribute or help with a task or activity. It means lending a hand or joining efforts to achieve something.  This phrasal verb is commonly used in informal contexts, such as at home, work, or within a group setting.


  • "Everyone needs to pitch in and help with cleaning up after the party."

  • "Can you pitch in and help me with this project?"

  • "Let's all pitch in and make this event a success."

2. 'Butter Up'

The phrase 'butter up' means to flatter or praise someone excessively, often with the intention of gaining favor or persuading them to do something for you. It's a casual term used in both personal and professional contexts.


  • "He's been buttering up the boss all week in hopes of getting a promotion."

  • "He's always buttering up his teachers to get better grades."

  • "Don't try to butter me up; just tell me what you need."

3. 'Veg Out'

To 'veg out' means to relax or spend time doing nothing, often by lounging around or engaging in leisurely activities. It's derived from the slang term 'veg,' short for vegetable, suggesting that one is as inactive as a vegetable while 'vegging out.' It is similar to the phrasal verbs ‘chill out’ and ‘zone out.’


  • "After a long week of work, I just want to veg out on the couch and watch movies."

  • “I’m not doing anything important – just vegging out.  Sure, I can meet for coffee.”

  • “He spent the evening vegging out to Queen.”

Tips for Using Phrasal Verbs:

  1. Context is Key: Pay attention to the context in which phrasal verbs are used. This can help you understand their intended meaning.

  2. Practice in Conversations: Try using phrasal verbs in your conversations with native speakers or fellow learners. Practice makes perfect!

  3. Expand Your Vocabulary: Continuously expand your vocabulary by learning new phrasal verbs and their meanings. Reading books, watching movies, and listening to English speakers can help.

Phrasal verbs like these and others will help you to communicate effectively in both casual and formal settings. Keep practicing, and soon you'll be using these expressions with confidence! Meanwhile if you butter up your son, maybe he will pitch in and help clean out the garage. Then you can veg out to "Friends" re-runs.

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