turn down: meaning and explanation

The phrasal verb to turn somebody/something down means to reject somebody or something. For example, you might reject a job offer, help, advice, money and so on.

This phrasal verb can be used in the passive voice when you want to focus on the person or thing being rejected, rather than the person who rejects it. e.g. I applied for a business loan, but for some reason I got turned down.

Have a go at this dictation exercise to hear this phrasal verb being used in context – how much can you understand?

Dictation #1

Accent: England (RP)

I the job didn't move London.
I decided turn the job because didn't want move out London.

…I didn’t want to move out

The phrasal verb to move out (of something) means to leave the place you live and go and live somewhere else. e.g. You’re 40 years old and still living with your parents. Don’t you think it’s time to move out? 

Discussion questions

Write your answers to these questions in the comments section, and I’ll get back to you with some feedback:

  • When I was travelling 15 years ago, I was having lunch with a family and was offered something very strange to eat. To the family, it was very special, but I really, really didn’t want to eat it. I didn’t want to be rude, so I accepted it – it was the worst thing I’ve ever eaten in my life. Have you ever wanted to turn something down, but couldn’t because you didn’t want to be rude?
  • Do you regret turning down the opportunity to do something?
  • Have you ever been turned down for a job? Why?