Phrasal Verb: Figure Out – Learn how to use it!

September 4, 2017 - Priscila Pereira


Hey guys, how are you doing today?

This is another phrasal verb for you! If you want to stay tuned to my latest posts, subscribe to my newsletter and I’ll always let you know what’s going here on my blog 🙂

Also, don’t forget to leave me a comment after you read this post. You can give me your examples, ask me questions, give me feedback and I’ll be really excited to read your comment!

But here we go! Today’s phrasal verb is Figure Out. The good thing about this phrasal verb is that there aren’t many different meanings for it. Therefore, it is easier to memorize this phrasal verb.

Many students struggle to memorize phrasal verbs and they explain that the reason is the number of possible translations for it. My advice to is: learn the most important ones or at least one meaning for that phrasal verb. That way you are already working on your phrasal verb list and more importantly, using it.

Basically, figure out has two important meanings. I will show them to you as well as give you real life examples of how to use them. You can check the audio for each example I give you. That way you can already work on your pronunciation and intonation.


  1. Figure out means that you can understand or solve You are able to find the answer, the solution to a problem. If you use this verb in a negative sentence, you will be giving the opposite meaning, ok? How about some examples?

Example 01: The police could not figure out how the robbers had gotten into the bank with all their guns since the alarm didn’t go off.

In this case, I’m saying that the police could not understand, find an answer to how the robbers entered the bank with all their guns without activating the bank alarm.

Example 02: Only one student was able to figure out the riddle the teacher gave them.

In this case, I’m saying that one student could solve, understand or find the solution to a riddle the teacher gave the entire class.

Example 03: The new software will help us manage client data. However, it is tricky so the employees will need time to figure it out.

In this case, I’m talking about a new software and how it might be difficult for the employees to understand how to use it. In this case, pay attention that I separated the particle out and the verb figure and wrote it between them. The phrasal verb figure out is a separable phrasal verb and you can do that whenever you need to. Just remember, if you are going to use a pronoun (like I did in the example) it MUST be in the middle, ok?


  1. You can also figure someone out which means to understand someone’s personality or why the person behaves the way they do. In this sense, you think about the person (or the thing as the example above) until you understand them. Let’s look at some examples:

Example 01: I tried to figure her out, but she is such a difficult person. Alive never opens up to anyone!

In this case, I’m saying I tried to understand  Alice, but she is a difficult person and never talks to anyone about herself or about her feelings (open up), which is why I can’t understand her.

Example 02:  John is good at figuring out people. You can talk to him for 5 minutes and he will be able to describe who you are! It’s amazing and scary at the same time!

In this case, I’m talking about John’s ability of understanding who people are. All you need is to talk to John for some time and he will be able to understand a little bit about your personality. It is a great ability. Do you know anyone like that?


  1. Another possible meaning for figure out is to calculate the amount or the cost of something. Another phrasal verb that has this meaning and works as a synonym for figure out is working out. I will talk more about work out in a future post. Let’s see some examples:

Example 01:  Hey Jack, have you figured out how much the road trip is gonna cost us? I need to start saving money for it!

In this case, I’m asking Jack if he has already calculated how much money we will need for the road trip we are planning to do.

Example 02:  It will be very difficult to figure out the costs for this project if we don’t receive every department’s budget plan.

In this case, I’m saying that it will be difficult to calculate the costs of a project if all the departments don’t give me the budget report.


So guys, what do you think of this phrasal verb? Did you figure it out? Now, it is time to use it! Try making your examples and write them in the comments! That way I can check them out and let you know if you are doing a good job!


Have a great day!

Teacher Prix

Priscila Pereira

Starbucks and TV Series lover: juggling with teaching, blogging, and a YouTube life! I’m teacher Prix and I want to help you talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime in English! This blog is for English speakers who are looking for an effective blog. Get inspired by hundreds of different posts for all English levels, so that you can finally learn English easily and effectively on the internet.

2 thoughts on “Phrasal Verb: Figure Out – Learn how to use it!

  • JulioCesar

    September 4, 2017 at 15:38

    This post is very useful Thank you. Greetings from Peru.

  • Sandra

    July 30, 2018 at 20:00

    Thanks a lot! Greetings from Mexico


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