fill out: meaning and explanation

If you fill out a document, a form, a questionnaire or something similar, you add the requested/required information. e.g. We would appreciate it if you could fill out this short questionnaire about your stay at the hotel.

We can also use the phrasal verb to fill something in with the same meaning, e.g. If you want to make an official complaint then you will have to fill in this form.

Have a go at these micro-dictation exercises to hear this expression being used in context – how much can you understand?

Listening exercises

Micro-listening #1

Accent: Ireland

I've the application – you to .

About the sentence

…I’ve already filled out the application form

The present perfect (I have already) is used here to communicate an action completed before now.

Micro-listening #2

Accent: North America

Tom's , .
Tom's new job, so he's of time application .

About the sentence

…he’s spending a lot of time filling out application forms…

Notice the important and very useful structure to spend time doing something. e.g. I spent hours looking for a birthday present for my partner but didn’t find anything.

Micro-listening #3

Accent: England (RP)

mind a 5 minute questionnaire habits?

About the sentence

…Would you mind…

Would you mind is a good way to introduce questions or requests in a polite way. It can be followed by a gerund (-ing form), e.g. Would you mind not tapping your foot like that? It’s quite annoying.

You can also use would you mind if + clause, e.g. Would you mind if I sat by the window? It’s my first time on a plane.

Extra practice

Here are some questions/links to help you learn the new vocabulary:

  • What’s the longest form that you have ever had to fill out?
  • In the UK, you usually have to fill out a separate application form for every job you apply for, which means that the process is very time consuming. Is it the same in your country?
  • Be honest – have you ever filled out a form inaccurately? For example, by giving a different name or lying about something?