6 phrasal verbs to speak about yourself

6 phrasal verbs to speak about yourself that will enhance your Speaking (Part 1) in the CAE exam.


The way you are seen by people, the impression you give.

You come across as a friendly/funny/serious/fussy … person, based on what you project to others.

“I would like to come across as a person who knows how to listen.”

Notes :

  • Followed by the –ing form, an adjective or an adjective + noun
    • She comes across as being very resourceful.
    • She comes across as very resourceful
    • She comes across as a very resourceful person
  • It can be used about something as well:
    • “The speech came across as inflammatory and lead to a string of heated comments on Twitter.”
  • Come across without “as” means to meet by chance.
    • While browsing for novels in a second-hand bookshop, I came across a battered copy of Bill Bryson’s Notes from a small island, a hilarious read. 


To talk about something that didn’t appeal to you in the first place but you have gradually learnt to like.

“The first time I was offered tea in Britain I reluctantly accepted out of politeness but I didn’t like it at all. However, as time went by, it began to grow on me and I know appreciate a good cuppa.”


  • Examples of other things that can grow on you are places, music, writers, people and more.
  • Notice the passive structure: Something grows on you, as opposed to you grow or you grow as a person, which means you become a better person, teacher, journalist, etc.
  • The opposite idea could be expressed with: grow out as in, “I used to like The Corrs but over time I kind of grew out of them.”
  • On a completely different note. something like “fungus” can grow on you, meaning, on your skin.


Resemble or be similar to an older relative. 

“I take after my father both in looks and tastes. He instilled in me the love for books, music and nature.”


  • Not to be confused with look after which means take care of. 


Relax, unwind, especially after a period of hard work.

“At  the end of a hectic day, going for a walk with my dog while I listen to some music helps me chill out.”


  • You may be familiar with the term Chill out music. Soothing and relaxing
  • Chill out can also convey the idea of taking it easy as opposed to worrying about something. “Chill out! Things will work out in the end.”


To choose from a range of possibilities.

I opted for English teaching as a career based on my passion for languages and the joy that sharing it brings to my life.”


  • Also, Opt to do something if a verb follows. “In my late twenties, I opted to have a career change. rather than stay in a dead-end job.”


Not to be cut out for something means that you are not the right kind of person for something.

“In spite of having great workmates, I realised I wasn’t cut out for an office job and quit.”


  • Cut out (without for) has multiple meanings, such as:
    • Remove something by cutting (cut out a picture of a magazine.)
    • Eliminate drink or food from your diet (cut out sugar.)


Let’s wrap up with a little task for you to ponder (think about carefully):

  1. How do you think you come across in different environments (e.g. at work/with friends, family)?
  2. Can you think of something that has grown on you or you have grown out of?
  3. Who do you take after?
  4. Why did you opt for your professional career?
  5. What helps you chill out?
  6. Is there something you are not cut out for?


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