ESL Phrasal Verbs

Explanations of several "fall" phrasal verbs, with a printable worksheet.

click here to download this ESL phrasal verbs worksheet (FREE!)


“Fall” Phrasal Verbs - Definitions


fall back on: to have a “backup plan”; to have a plan that you can use in an emergency

  • You should get a college degree, so just in case you are not successful as a singer, you will have something to fall back on.


fall behind: to progress more slowly than others; to be at a lower level than others

  • If you don’t pay attention in class, you will fall behind and fail the test.
  • I was sick for a week, so I fell behind in class. Now I have to do extra work just to catch up.



fall for: 1) to be attracted to someone; to fall in love with someone
2) to believe a lie; to be tricked by someone; to be gullible

  • Jane fell for Bill the first time she laid eyes on him. It was love at first sight.
  • I told Mike that it was snowing in the desert and he believed me! That guy falls for everything!
  • She always falls for “bad boys” because she thinks they are attractive. The problem is, they always treat her badly.
  • We tried to convince Joel that there are 32 days in April, but he didn’t fall for it.


fall into: to “end up” doing something that you hadn’t planned to do or didn’t originally want to do

  • Jerad used to be a model student, but recently he fell into the wrong crowd and has been getting into trouble.
  • Many gangsters never plan to become criminals. They simply fall into the lifestyle from a young age.


fall off: to decrease (especially: sales, numbers, profits, etc.)

  • After the holiday peak season, sales usually fall off until the summer.
  • During the 2009 financial crisis, sales of new homes fell off dramatically.



fall through: if a plan is unsuccessful or an expectation is not met, you say it “fell through”

  • You should get a college degree, so just in case your singing career falls through, you’ll have something to fall back on.
  • We were going to go camping this weekend, but our plans fell through due to the rain.

“Fall” Phrasal Verbs - Worksheet


Fill in the blanks with the correct words to complete these “Fall” phrasal verbs.

1. Every time John points at my chest, I look down and then he hits my face with
his finger.  I can’t believe I _____________ that stupid trick every time!

2. When I broke my leg, I couldn’t go to school for a month, so I really
_______________ in class and had to get a tutor.

3. I planned to buy a new car, but my plans ____________ when I lost my job.

4. Patrick started hanging out with the wrong crowd, and he gradually
____________ a life of crime and drug addiction.

5. When I was in the hospital, the nurse and I _____________ each other. We
started dating and got married before my broken leg had even healed!

6. Sales of CDs ____________ sharply after mp3s were introduced on the market.

7. Working part-time as a mechanic is a great opportunity. That way, if I ever have
a hard time finding a job, I’ll have something useful to _____________.
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