A phrasal verb is a verb + preposition combination that has a specific meaning. The phrasal verb has a different meaning than the verb by itself. Phrasal verbs are very common in English.
Pronunciation tip: Always stress the preposition in a phrasal verb. You should say the preposition in louder and longer than the verb check.
Pronunciation tip: Link the two words together. The K sound at the end of check becomes the first sound of the next word. Instead of saying check /tʃɛk/ and in /ɪn/, say che kin /tʃɛˈkɪn/. You will sound like a native speaker!
Tell someone that you have arrived
at an airport
I’d like to check in for my flight, please!
Before you can get on the airplane, you must go to the check-in counter or check-in kiosk at the airport and tell the airline that you have arrived and you want to get on the plane.
You give the customer service agent at the counter your passport and your ticket. You also give her any suitcases that you want to check, or put underneath the plane.
In the photo above, you can see the check-in kiosks for Air Canada at the airport in Toronto. Instead of going to a check-in desk or check-in counter and speaking to a person, you can check in for your flight at this kiosk. It’s a computer that takes all your information and prints your boarding pass.
Passengers need to check in two hours before their flight leaves.
People traveling on a plane are passengers.
Learn more: Travel English Vocabulary: Planning a trip
at a hotel
I’d like to check in please. I have a reservation.
When you arrive at a hotel, you must go to the front desk or reception area. You give the hotel some personal information and your credit card. The receptionist gives you information about the hotel and your room key.
Important! There are three ways of using the verb check in at a hotel.
a. check in
Use check in when there is no noun object after it.
What time can we check in?
We can check in anytime after 3pm.
We haven’t checked in yet.
Guests cannot check in before 3pm.
Guests can now check in online.
People staying in a hotel are called guests.
b. check into
Use check into when it is followed by the nouns hotel or room.
Have you checked into the hotel yet?
We checked into the hotel at 4pm.
Someone just checked into the room next door.
c. check in at
I hope we can check in early at the hotel.
Opposite phrasal verb: Check out of a hotel
Tell the hotel you are leaving. Give the receptionist your room key and pay your bill.
When do we have to check out?
Note the preposition change! You check out of a hotel.
at a conference
A conference is a large meeting that lasts for several days. People interested in the same topic come together to listen to speakers and talk about their ideas.
When you arrive at a conference, you go to the registration desk and check in.
Where do I have to check in?
Check in at the registration desk to receive your information packet.
People at a convention are called attendees.
on social media
Social media sites and apps like Facebook and Foursquare allow you to share your location with your friends through the site or app with your phone.
I just want to check in on Facebook and tell everyone that I’m here.
There are also noun and adjectives forms of check-in and check-out. These forms are called compound words.
Do you notice a difference between the words check in and check-in? You need to use a hyphen – when you use check-in as a noun or adjective!
Our flight gets in at 5am. What are we going to do until check-in?
= the time
When we arrived at the airport, there was a long line at the check-in.
= the place: check-in desk, check-in counter, check-in kiosk
Let’s meet at the check-in desk.
The airline also offers online check-in.
= the process
Pronunciation tip: When a phrasal verb changes into a noun or adjective, stress the first word! Instead of stressing the word in, stress the word check. I know, it’s confusing.