Phrasal verbs for business: S

to saddle (somebody) with

to give some a difficult task or responsibility: It’s going to a nightmare sorting out all that documentation. Apparently Jack’s been saddled with it.

to sail through

to find something very easy: Don’t worry about the final exam. You’ll sail through it.

to save (something) up

to collect or store something (usually money) for future use: Henry’s not going skiing this year. He’s saving up to buy a motor boat.

to scale (something) down

to make smaller than originally planned: Due to the recession, we’re scaling down our operations in Indonesia.

to scale (something) up

to make larger than originally planned: Due to the favourable exchange rate we’re scaling up our operations in Singapore.

to sell (something) off

to sell something, often cheaply because you need the money: Due to falling profits the company is forced to sell off its holdings in Italy.

to sell out

to run out of something because it has all been bought: The snack bar has sold out of cookies.

to give up artistic/creative integrity in return for commercial success: Small companies are often accused of selling out when they’re bought by big firms.

to sell up

to sell a house and move somewhere else or sell a business and do something else: Dave has apparently decided it’s time to sell up and move on.

to shake up

to upset or shock: The news about Deutsche Bank has really shaken up the market.

Similarly the compound noun “shake-up” means a shock.

to shape up

to improve: The market has shaped up a lot in the past year, and we’ve seen corresponding growth in profits.

to shell out

to spend a lot of money on something: I don’t understand why the boss thinks it’s OK to shell out so much money on renovating the conference room.

to shop around

to look for a good deal: If you want to find value-for-money office space you’ll need to spend a lot of time shopping around.

to shut (something) down

to close a business: BigCo was shut down two years ago after a hostile takeover.

to sign up

to subscribe: Ten people have signed up for the weekend training.

to be snowed under

to have a lot of work: We’ve been snowed under all week working on the Geronimo project.

to sort (something) out

to resolve a problem: HR have finally sorted out the problem with Sharon’s work permit. She can start work on Monday.

to spark (something) off

to cause something (usually unpleasant) to happen: The case has sparked off nationwide industrial action.

to stand in for somebody

to act as a replacement: While Douglas is away on sabbatical Andrea will stand in for him.

Similarly, the compound noun “stand-in” means a replacement.

to step down

to resign: Douglas won’t be coming back from his sabbatical. He’s decided to step down.

to step (something) up

to increase: Next year we aim to step up activity in the Middle East.


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