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Your English: Phrasal verbs: set (3)

Type: Article

Tim Bowen sets out as he means to carry on in this article.

’The President is expected to set out the terms of the deal.’ Here, set out means to explain or describe something in a detailed way. To set out can also mean to start doing or working on something in order to achieve a goal, as in ‘Are you suggesting that he deliberately set out to sabotage your work?’. It can also be used in much the same way as set off to mean to start a journey, as in ‘After a three-day rest, the travellers set out again’, although it is generally used to refer to longer, more arduous journeys.

If you set up a business, organization or institution, you establish it, as in ‘Rebels have set up a separate state in the north of the country’. To set up can also mean to organize something such as an event or a system, as in ‘I’ll ask them to set up a meeting for next Thursday’. It can also mean to build a structure or locate it in a particular place, as in ‘The rebels have set up roadblocks in and around the city centre’.

If something sets you up, it makes you feel good, healthy or lively, as in ‘A couple of strong drinks would set me up nicely for the rest of the evening ‘. To set someone up for life means to provide them with enough money so that they do not have to work again, as in ‘A lottery win of a million pounds would set us up for life’.

If you set to something you start to do it, as in, ’The exams are in a week’s time.  You better set to it if you want to pass.’ It is usually used with the word it when the verb is known or implied by the context (in this case studying).

To be set for something means to be ready for it, for example, ’The clouds outside are grey.  It looks like we are all set for a storm.’ To have something set by means to have it saved, for instance, ’He may have lost his job, but he has enough money set by so he should be OK.’

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