separable phrasal verb: drown out


Today, I’d like to go over another phrasal verb which is commonly used in English: “drown out”. This means that something is louder than something else so that the noise of the first thing makes it impossible to hear the sound of the second thing. For example:

My friend said something to me at the bar, but the music was so loud that it drowned him out.

My friend’s voice was drowned out by the music at the bar. (passive voice)

The TV in the next apartment is so loud. If we turn up the volume on our stereo, maybe we can drown it out.

Please be careful to say “out” with this expression. If you forget and only say “drown” by itself, it will sound very strange. This is because the word “drown” in English means to die in water. For example:

A young boy fell into the lake and drowned last summer. His parents must be so upset.

So this is today’s expression. It can be used in all situations in conversation because it is not extremely formal or casual.


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