Run out – English Phrasal Verb – Online English Lessons

July 20, 2011 By Angela Boothroyd

1. To run out of something is to use all of it so that there is nothing left.

Examples of use:

a) I’ve run out of bread.

b) We can’t have coffee this morning because we’ve run out of milk.

c) I ran out of petrol on my way to work this morning.

d) News headline: Fresh water supplies are going to run out.

e) Twitter update from Stephen Fry: Scenario. Soon we run out of fuel, water and food. In an hour we start eating each other.

f) Marcia: Can I borrow a stamp, please?

   Julia: I’ve run out. Sorry.

2. If a pen has run out, it has no more ink.


My pen has run out. Can I borrow yours?

3. If money runs out, there is none left.


Building work on the new shopping centre has been cancelled because the money has run out.

4. If an official agreement or document runs out, the period of time it lasts for ends and it stops being legal.

Examples of use:

a) They didn’t realize their television licence had run out, and they were fined £1000.

b) His work permit runs out in six weeks.

c) My car insurance has run out so I had to go to work on the bus.

5. To run out on somebody is to desert them.


a) His wife ran out on him and their four children in 2005.

6. To run someone out of town is to force someone (e.g. a criminal) to leave a place.


a) They ran him out of town.

b) The Google Street View van was run out of town by angry residents.

c) The police ran the vandals out of town.

run out
present simple
run out and runs out
-ing form
running out
past simple
ran out
past participle
run out

Write a sentence using run out.

What have you run out of?

Do you have an official document that will run out soon?

Image © Ronaldo Ferreira