Here are five phrasal verbs with SWITCH: switch off, switch on, switch out, switch over to, and switch up.


Switch off (something)

1. (separable) To stop or turn off a device powered by electricity.
  • “Can you switch off the light?”
  • “Don’t forget to switch the printer off after you’re done with it.”
2. (informal, intransitive) To stop giving your attention to someone or something.
  • “I usually switch off when the lecturer starts talking.”
  • “It can be difficult to switch off after an intense shift at work.”

Switch on (something)

1. (separable) To start or turn on a device powered by electricity.
  • “Can you switch on the light?”
  • “She switched the printer on but it had run out of ink.”
2. (separable) To activate a particular emotion or behaviour, although it is not usually sincere.

This is often used in a disapproving way.

  • “Whenever the boss comes in, he’ll switch on the charm.”
Similar phrasal verbs: “Switch on” or “Turn on”

Here we can also use “turn on,” which I think this is more common than “switch on.”

  • “When she doesn’t get her way, she’ll automatically turn on the waterworks.”

Switch out (something)

1. (separable) To exchange something for something else.
  • “I switch out the students’ artwork whenever they complete a project.”
  • “It’s important to switch out all the old components if you want it to work smoothly.”

Switch over to (something)

1. (inseparable) To stop using something and start using another. 

This can also be applied for watching a TV channel or listening to a radio station.

  • “The system should switch over to the generator any time now.”
  • “Can you switch over to Channel Nine?”

Switch up (something)

1. (separable) To change something, usually to improve it.
  • “You can switch up your workout routine by adding some more exercises.”
  • “I tried to switch up the recipe by trying other flavours but it didn’t work out.”

Related Expressions

Switched on
– (informal adjective) Being aware of what is going on, or interested and willing to try new things.”

  • “Let’s keep the new recruit, he seems pretty switched on.

Switch up a gear
– (informal) To start doing something more effectively or with more energy.

  • “You’ll get better result if you switch up a gear.”

Original post: 23 September 2020