TAKE ON – phrasal verb – meanings and examples

The English phrasal verb TAKE ON has the following meanings:

1. Take on = to accept additional responsibility

(transitive) to accept additional work or responsibility for a task or job. To undertake a new role or responsibilities. Synonyms are undertake and acquire.

  • I wanted to make a good impression, so I took on a lot of tasks at work.
  • I will take on the project if you don’t want to.
  • I have taken on too much work. Can you please help me finish this project?

2. Take on = to add; to acquire

(transitive) to acquire, bring in, add or introduce.

  • Stores often take on extra employees during the Christmas season.
  • The boat was taking on water, so we had to plug the hole.
  • The teacher has some spots in her classroom and can take on a few more students.
  • Many students take on a lot of debt while they are studying at university.

3. Take on = to fight or compete against someone

(transitive – informal) to attempt to fight or compete against someone. To challenge someone.

  • Even though we are a small company, I know we can take on the big ones.
  • The boxer challenged his opponent to take him on in the ring.
  • Do you want to take me on? Come on then!

4. Take on = to begin to have the appearance of

(transitive – informal) to begin to have a characteristic, appearance or quality of something or someone else.

  • Her voice took on a more serious tone with the children.
  • The doll took on a scary appearance in the dark.
  • It didn’t take long for the outdoor furniture to take on an old rustic look from being in the sun all of the time.

Take on – Summary Chart

TAKE ON - Meanings and examples of this English Phrasal Verb

Lesson tags: On, Phrasal Verbs, Take
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