Hi everyone, 

Since I just did a blog post on forming phrasal verbs with "up", I figured I would do a blog post on phrasal verbs with "down". (To 'figure' something, in this case, means 'to think something is appropriate and a good idea'.)

Most (but not all), phrasal verbs with "down" in them mean:

                       *to reduce something

For example, 

tone down = reduce the volume or frequency of something
"Please tone it down! Your noise is too loud!"
"You should tone down your drinking (alcohol)!"

cut down (on) = reduce your intake / participation of something
"I need to cut down on how much bread I eat."
"Cut down on your complaining! You sound like a baby!"

break down = reduce how complicated (difficult to understand) something is 
(to divide an idea or concept into parts to understand it better)
“I know the lesson is difficult. Let me break it down for you.”
“You can ask the accountant and she will break down the numbers for you.”

dumb downreduce the intelligence of something
“The people could not understand him, so the scientist had to dumb down his explanation.”
“Over the years, television has dumbed people down.”

play down = reduce the importance of something
Why are you playing down your achievements? You have accomplished a lot in this company!”
The politician tried to play down the seriousness of the disaster.”

drag down = reduce something to the same (low) level
You should not spend so much time with your friends. They are dragging you down at school.”
I want to stop dating (you). You are dragging me down. I want more from life.”

However, there are some phrasal verbs (but are not many) with "down" that do not mean 'to reduce __'.
For example: 
let (someone) down = to fail to help someone / to fail to keep a commitment 
"I am sorry I let you down. I will do better next time!"

Yet, almost of the other phrasal verbs with "down" mean to 'reduce ___'.

Check out my Youtube video where I talk more about phrasal verbs with "down":

If you have any questions, or have a phrasal verb with "down" and you want to know if it means to 'reduce something', post a reply below!

Happy English!

English Expressions