separable phrasal verb: put off


In today’s blog entry, we will go back to phrasal verbs. Today I’d like to write about “put off”. This phrasal verb has four meanings:

1. to postpone something. For example:

I can’t come to the meeting at 3:00. Can we put it off until 4:00?

The meeting has been put off until 4:00. (passive voice)

2. to delay doing something. For example:

You should go and tell Bob now that he’s being laid off. You can’t put it off forever.

You should go and tell Bob now that he’s being laid off. It can’t be put off forever. (passive voice)

3. to persuade someone to agree to a delay. For example:

I can put off the client until Friday, but that’s it. We’ll have to have  the presentation ready by then.

The client can’t be put off for much longer. We have to finish getting the presentation ready soon. (passive voice)

4. for someone’s manners or behavior to make other people uncomfortable. For example:

Jerry is a very direct person, so he can really put people off with some of his comments.

Some people are really put off by Jerry’s directness. (passive voice)

So these are the ways in which we use “put off”. Many phrasal verbs, including this one, have more than one meaning, so please be sure to pay attention to the context in which they are being used in order to fully understand how to use them.


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