Phrasal Verbs with 'Pick'

Pick apart

Criticise, find fault

Example: The critics PICKED the film APART.

Pick at

Eat unwillingly

Example: I wasn't very hungry so I just PICKED AT my food.

Pick at


Example: There were a few problems that could be PICKED AT, but it was generally good.

Pick off

Target individuals to change a group

Example: There were many rebels against the policy, but the government PICKED OFF the leaders.

Pick on

Bother, annoy, criticize or make fun of someone

Example: My friends always PICK ON me because I don't sing well.

Pick out


Example: She PICKED OUT the ones she wanted to take and left the rest.

Pick out

Identify from a picture

Example: The victim couldn't PICK OUT her attacker from the photos the police showed her.

Pick through

Search something that is disordered for something

Example: The police have been PICKING THROUGH the wreckage for clues.

Pick up


Example: Sales PICKED UP a bit during the Christmas period.

Pick up

Learn quickly

Example: She PICKED UP Spanish in six months.

Pick up


Example: While you're in town, can you PICK UP my trousers from the Dry Cleaner?

Pick up

Receive (a broadcast)

Example: When we rent a holiday cottage in Cornwall, we can't PICK UP Channel 5.

Pick up

Collect (a person). This differs from the 'collect a thing' meaning - as that means 'collect and bring back' whereas this means either (i) 'collect and drop off on your way' or (ii) 'collect and bring to the same destination'.

Example: i) Can you PICK me UP and take me to The George when you go to the party? ii) Can you PICK UP some friends of mine on your way to the party? They're going too.

Pick up after

Tidy a mess someone else has made

Example: I always have to PICK UP AFTER him because he leaves things all over the office.

Pick up on

Correct someone when they say something wrong

Example: My teacher PICKS UP ON any mistake I make and corrects me.

Pick up on

Notice something that most people don't

Example: He's very quick to PICK UP ON new trends.

Pick up on

React to something

Example: The government has PICKED UP ON the reports in the media.

Pick up on

Comment on something said earlier in a conversation

Example: I'd like to PICK UP ON the point that Jill made.

Pick yourself up

Recover from a fall or problem

Example: It took him a long time to PICK HIMSELF UP after his wife left him.