Tim Bowen brings back memories with a look at these handy phrasal verbs.

‘She will not be remembered for her ideas or her policies but as someone who brought about change.’ To bring about means to make something happen, especially to cause changes in a situation and can be used with a variety of nouns to indicate change, such as improvements, developments and revolution and others with a more negative outcome, such as collapse, decline, downfall and demise.

To bring back can mean to cause ideas, feelings or memories to be in your mind again, as in ‘Do these photos bring back any memories?’ or ‘Seeing him again brought it all back’. It can also be used to mean to start using or doing things that were used or done in the past, as in ‘The indiscriminate nature of the bombings brought renewed calls in some quarters for harsher punishments to be brought back’.

Another use of bring back is for saying that you are going to talk about a subject that you have already talked about, as in ‘This brings us back to the obvious question; how is all of this new construction work going to be funded?’ Always used in the negative (for obvious reasons), bring back is also used to talk about someone who has died, as in ‘It’s no use getting angry. That won’t bring him back’.

Often used in the passive, bring before is to take someone to court because they have been accused of doing something wrong, as in ‘He had never been charged or brought before a judge’.