Phrasal Verb Put Off – Learn how to use it!

June 1, 2017 - Priscila Pereira

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Whats up guys!

How are you doing today?

I’d like to show a new phrasal verb today! To put off! The verb put has many phrasal verbs. As I always like to mention, it is important to analyze the phrasal verb as one single word, never translate a phrasal verb “particle by particle”.  The verb put alone means to move something into a specific place or position. Now, what do you think put + off means?

Shall we find out? I’m going to show you the most common meanings. As usual, I’m going to provide you real examples (both written and audio ones) so that you can better understand how to use this phrasal verb and also work on your pronunciation.

Firstly, let’s focus on the most common meanings of this phrasal verb ok? Then I will give you other different options. Remember, for every example I give you, you can check the audio for pronunciation and intonation! All the examples I give you here are real ones, from everyday conversations as well as articles from the internet.

1. To postpone (delay to another date) an appointment or arrangement you had made with someone. We all have busy lives, right? Sometimes we can’t make it! So if you need to call someone to postpone a plan, use the phrasal verb put off. Let’s see some examples:


Example 01: I’m afraid I will have to put off our 3.p.m meeting. I just got a call from my husband and he is not feeling well. I need to go see him. Can we talk tomorrow, same time?

Can we postpone/put off /schedule this meeting for tomorrow?

In this case, someone is telling another person they need to postpone the meeting for the following day at the same time (schedule for a later time or day). The person explains the problem (her husband is feeling sick), so this was an urgent matter and the person needed to go.

Example 02:  I think it is so rude of Jane to put off appointments at the last minute! Why does she do that?

In this case, someone is upset with Jane. Jane postpones her appointments at the last minute (at the last possible chance, in the last few minutes before the appointment). I don’t know about you, but unless the person has a good reason, I would feel very frustrated.

Example 03: Why don’t we put off the kitchen and start the demolition in the living room first?

In this case, someone is suggesting postpone/delay for another time the demolition in the kitchen and start with the living room first.

Example 04: Famous band to put off first show in Brazil until next year due to a shocking car accident involving the lead singer and drummer.

In this case, the lead singer and drummer of the band had a car accident and because of that, the show had to be put off/postponed/delayed until next year.


2. Put somebody/something off – to make someone dislike someone or something or not trust it/them. To make someone feel repulse, to repel someone.

Example 01:  Her bad temper tends to put people off. I’ve already told Jane to change that, but she won’t listen to me.


In this case, someone mentions Jane’s bad temper (bad personality/mood) makes people dislike her.  People “begin to dislike Jane” because of her bad temper (her bad mood)

Example 02:  Oh come on John, you have to try this cake! I know it looks hideous, but don’t be put off by its looks. It tastes delicious, I promise!


In this case, someone is telling John to try the cake even though the “visual look” of the cake is not appealing (not good, not beautiful), so this person tells him not to “dislike the cake” without trying it first!

Example 03:  I really tried to keep it together during dinner, but his perfume really put me off. I asked for the check before we finished the main course. It was a terrible date!

In this case, the person is “repelled” “feels repulsed”  by the guy’s perfume, so she couldn’t handle this situation and asked for the check before even finishing the main course.


3. To make someone not want to do something,- Sometimes, an attitude, a situation or an action can/will make someone “not want to do something”.

Example 01:  Inadequate political education tend to put young people off politics


In this case, inadequate (poor, not good, weak, incompetent) political education make young people not want to do/be involved in politics

Example 02:  After I realized what I would need to do in order to get the job, I was put off. I couldn’t handle it.

In this case, the person was probably not happy after understanding exactly what they would need to do to get the job, so this caused the person not to want it anymore.

This meaning is very close to meaning number 2  when you are feeling repulse, when something or someone, or an attitude repels you, or because you don’t like it.

Did you know this phrasal verb? No? So, now, you have to start using it! Make your own examples and post them here in the comments! I will read and comment =)

thanks, guys,

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.

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