Understanding English Grammar – phrasal verbs ‘set’ part 1

The next verb we’re going to look at is ‘to set’ combined with particles. Here are the first of the most common:

‘to set about’ is to dealing with something in a particular way.

  • I need to find a new flat but I’m not sure how to set about looking for one.
  • I don’t think you are setting about it the right way.

‘to set against’ means balance one thing against another.

  • The advantages are not so big when set against the disadvantages.
  • We can set our expenses against the tax.

‘to be set against’ something means to be opposed to doing it.

  • He won’t change his mind. He is absolutely set against it.
  • His parents were set against him becoming a musician and made him study engineering.

‘to set aside’ means to use something, often time or money, for a specific purpose.

  • I have enough money for the deposit set aside.
  • I’ve set aside Monday and Tuesday to work on it.

‘to set back’ is to cause a delay.

  • Bad weather was the reason that the launch of the rocket was set back until Monday.
  • The whole project has been set back by the late delivery of some of the parts.

‘to set down’ something you are holding means to put it down.

  • She lifted up the teapot but set it down again without pouring any tea.
  • The waitress set down an enormous plate of steak and salad in front of me.

‘to set down’ your ideas or some facts means to record by writing them.

  • Here is the leaflet where we have set down guidelines for our employees.
  • We were all asked to set down our views on what had happened.

‘to set in’ is when something unpleasant starts and seems likely to continue.

  • It looks as if the rain has set in for the afternoon.
  • Panic didn’t really set in until just before I was due to give my presentation.

‘to set off’ means to start on a journey.

  • Sorry we’re late. We didn’t set off until half past eight.
  • The weather was perfect when we set off but it was raining when we got back.

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