Confused by phrasal verbs? Then turn to Tim Bowen for help.

‘Obviously we are all very disappointed at the way things have turned out’. Here, turn out means to develop in a particular way or have a particular result. The phrasal verb pan out can be used with the same meaning but is slightly more informal. Turn out can also mean ‘transpire’, as in ‘It turned out that I was right all along’. Only used in the passive voice, the phrase to be turned out means to be dressed in a particular way, as in ‘He was always immaculately turned out in a dark grey suit with a white shirt’. If you turn over, you stop watching one television channel and start watching another, as in ‘Let’s turn over. I think there’s some football on the other channel’.

If you turn over information, you give it to someone in authority because you have been ordered to do so, as in ‘You will have to turn over your records to the tax authorities’. Normally only used in the passive voice, the phrase to be turned over means to be burgled, as in ‘We got home late and found that the flat had been turned over’.

If you turn to someone, you go to them for help when you are in a difficult situation, as in ‘I’m sorry, but I had no-one else to turn to’. If you start to do or use something in an attempt to help yourself to deal with a difficult situation, you turn to it (often, but not always, something with negative connotations), as in ‘Some young people in deprived areas like this turn to crime to support a drug habit’.