Phrasal verbs for business: P

to pack (something) in

to stop doing something: Have you heard that John has packed it in? After six weeks working on the project he’s decided it’s not worth continuing with it.

to pack (something) out

to fill up a venue: The conference hall was packed out for the CEO’s speech. There was standing room only.

to pack up

to stop doing something and put things away: It’s midnight. Time to pack up and go home!

to stop working: My computer’s packed up again.

to pad (something) out

to make a text longer by adding irrelevant content, repeating information: I don’t know why they padded out the document with all that unnecessary information.

to pan out

to develop, result: Let’s wait and see how the situation pans out before we make a final decision.

to paper over

to try to conceal a problem without fixing it properly: Isn’t there some way we can paper over the problem so the client won’t notice?

to pass (something) on

to give a message to someone: OK – no problem, I’ll pass it on when he gets back to the office.

to pass (something) round

to distribute: Can you pass round the handouts while I set up the projector?

Cf. to hand out

to pass (something) up

to not take an opportunity: Let’s do it. We don’t want to pass up a chance like this.

to patch (something) up

to mend something, make something better: The program doesn’t work because there’s a bug in the software. IT is going to patch it up somehow.

to pay (something / somebody) back

to repay money: John and Robert have to pay the company back for their night out during the training weekend.

to take revenge: John plans to pay Dave back for reporting on him.

The compound noun “payback” means a return on an investment or revenge.

to pay (something) down

to pay a debt over time: You pay down both the principal and the interest on your mortgage each month.

to pay (something) into

to deposit money: Please pay the fee into the account listed below.

to pay (something) off

to completely repay a debt: I suggest you try to pay off that high-interest loan as quickly as possible.

to result in success: I’m very glad your investment paid off.

to pencil (something) in

to make a provisional appointment: OK, I’ll pencil in our meeting for 3 pm Thursday. No problem if you need to change it.

to phase (something) in

to gradually introduce something new: The board plans to phase in the new management system over a period of three months.

to phase (something) out

to gradually remove something: The board plans to phase out the old management system over a period of three months.

to pick (something) up

to improve: Sales have picked up in recent months.

to learn fast: He picked up the language in only a couple of months.

to collect: Can you pick up the children from school this afternoon?

to receive: My phone’s not picking up a signal.

to pile up

to accumulate: A lot of work piled up while I was off sick.

to pitch for

to make a bid for work: Today we pitched for our biggest contract to date.

Similarly “a pitch” is a bid.

to pitch in

to work together towards an objective: If we all pitch in we should be able to meet the deadline for this project.

to play out

to progress, develop until an end result is known: Let’s wait and see how the situation plays out before we decide what to do.

to pop in

to make a brief visit: I’ll pop in to your office on my way home.

to pop out

to leave somewhere briefly: I’m sorry, John’s not at his desk at the moment. I think he’s just popped out for a sandwich.

to press ahead / press on

to continue with something: Despite the new zoning plan we’re going to press ahead with the construction project.

“to push ahead” has a similar meaning

to press for

to make an effort to persuade someone to allow something: We’re going to press for a change to the zoning plan, which will allow residential building.

to price (something) in

to include possible future costs when calculating a value: Don’t forget to price in the legal fees when calculating the full project cost.

to prop up

to support something, physically or financially: Although it’s making big losses FashionCo is being propped up by its parent company.

to pull ahead

to move in front: We’ve got to significantly increase sales this month if we’re going to prevent the competition from pulling ahead.

to pull back

to decide not to do something or end involvement in something: Due to the fall in oil prices GasCo is pulling back on its Siberian operations.

to pull (something) off

to succeed: Big thanks to Anna for pulling off a really difficult deal.

to pull out of something

to withdraw: Due to the fall in oil prices GasCo is pulling out of Siberia.

to pull together

to work efficiently together as a team: It’s a tight deadline, but if we pull together we can pull off this project.

to pump (money) into

to invest lots of money in something: Despite pumping a lot of money into this company we’re not seeing any returns.

to push (somebody) out

to force somebody to leave: The new CEO plans to push out the HR director.

to push (something) through

to force something to be accepted: Even if the boss doesn’t like it we’re going have to push it through somehow.

to put across

to communicate a message: I’m not sure I fully understand what you’re trying to put across.

to put (something) back / to put (something) off

to postpone: Due to delays in the building’s construction we will have to put back the opening date.

to put (something) forward

to suggest, propose: Robert put forward a great idea. Tell us about it Robert.

to put (someone) through

to connect on the telephone: Please hold the line while I put you through.

to put (something) together

to assemble: He was up till three in the morning trying to put together some Ikea furniture.

to put towards

to contribute money: If our application for EU funding is successful we’ll put the money towards research.



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