Here is a list of commonly used phrasal verbs with the word back, plus examples of how to use the phrasal verbs in everyday conversation.
1. Answer back
Answering back is to reply to someone in an authority role in a rude argumentative style. For example a child answering back to his mother when told to clean his room.
Timmy was a rude boy. He would always answer back at his parents. /When your boss asks you to do something, do it. Don’t answer back at him/her.
2. Back somebody up
to back somebody up means to provide them with support publically. In this same way, you can also back up a story, meaning that you support the story or validate it being true.
I didn’t take your sandwich. Scott can back me up because he was with me all day. /Do you remember that time you had to back Tony up when he got in a fight?
3. Back something up
to back something up is a term often used in technology conversation. When you back something up, it means that you make a copy of it to protect yourself from loss.
Here are ABX Services, we back our work up daily on Google Drive and internal servers. /Back up your phone regularly to protect yourself from losing your photos and contacts.
4. Back up
to Back up can also mean to move backward. It’s both used figuratively, such as moving backward in time or a conversation. And literally, in the case of taking a step backward.
Wait, let’s back up for a minute. Did you say you were in Vegas last weekend? /We’re standing too close to the water. Let’s back up because I don’t want to get wet.
5. Back down
to back down means to give up or a fight/argument. Or, to let go of something you’re defending in a fight/argument.
If a hunter kills the Alpha male, the rest of the lions will back down from a fight. /Animal rights are important. I will never back down in my struggle to protect the rights of field mice.
6. Back into
the phrasal verb back into is most commonly used when talking about driving a car. It means to move backward into a space (such as a garage) or to move backward and hitting an object.
I’m so sorry for backing into your mailbox. I didn’t see it there. /Some people rather backing into parking spots because it’s easier to get out.
7. Back onto
when one thing backs onto another thing, it means that they connect to each other from their back side. We often use the phrase back onto when talking about property.
The farm backs onto a beautiful lake which is where the cows go to drink. /My childhood home backed onto a park where I played every day.
8. Back out
to back out means to leave or quit. It’s both used in real terms, like backing out of a room. Or as a way to explain an action taken. It’s also associated with literally moving backward.
Gustave has backed out of the 100-meter race after breaking his leg last week. /Nearly a quarter of all accidents in America happen when backing out of the driveway.