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Old Tuesday, September 11, 2007
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Phrasal Verbs and other multi-word verbs





Phrasal verbs are part of a large group of verbs called "multi-word verbs". Phrasal verbs and other multi-word verbs are an important part of the English language. Multi-word verbs, including phrasal verbs, are very common, especially in spoken English. A multi-word verb is a verb like "pick up", "turn on" or "get on with". For convenience, many people refer to all multi-word verbs as phrasal verbs. These verbs consist of a basic verb + another word or words. The other word(s) can be prepositions and/or adverbs. The two or three words that make up multi-word verbs form a short "phrase"—which is why these verbs are often all called "phrasal verbs".

The important thing to remember is that a multi-word verb is still a verb. "Get" is a verb. "Get up", is also a verb, a different verb. "Get" and "get up" are two different verbs. They do not have the same meaning. So you should treat each multi-word verb as a separate verb, and learn it like any other verb. Look at these examples. You can see that there are three types of multi-word verb:




1. single-word verb:

look______ direct your eyes in a certain direction
"You must look before you leap"


2. multi-word verbs:

prepositional verbs
look after ____________ take care of
"Who is looking after the baby? "

phrasal verbs
look up ___________ search for and find information in a reference book
"You can look up my number in the telephone directory. "

phrasal-prepositional verbs:
look forward _________ to anticipate with pleasure
"I look forward to meeting you. "






Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are a group of multi-word verbs made from a verb plus another word or words. Many people refer to all multi-word verbs as phrasal verbs. On these pages we make a distinction between three types of multi-word verbs: prepositional verbs, phrasal verbs and phrasal-prepositional verbs. On this page we look at phrasal verbs proper.

Phrasal verbs are made of:


Quote:
verb + adverb
Phrasal verbs can be:
  • intransitive (no direct object)
  • transitive (direct object)



Here are some examples of phrasal verbs:


phrasal verbs ______ meaning _______ examples _______direct object


intransitive phrasal verbs:

get up _____________ rise from bed _______ I don't like to get up.
break down _______ cease to function ____ He was late because his car broke down.


transitive phrasal verbs :

put off _________ postpone _________ We will have to put off ______ the meeting

turn down ________ refuse ________ They turned down my offer.




Separable Phrasal Verbs

When phrasal verbs are transitive (that is, they have a direct object), we can usually separate the two parts. For example, "turn down" is a separable phrasal verb. We can say: "turn down my offer" or "turn my offer down". Look at this table:


transitive phrasal verbs are
separable


They turned down my offer.
They turned my offer down.


However, if the direct object is a pronoun, we have no choice. We must separate the phrasal verb and insert the pronoun between the two parts. Look at this example with the separable phrasal verb "switch on":


direct object pronouns must go between the two parts of transitive phrasal verbs

John switched on the radio
John switched the radio on.
John switched it on.


It would be wrong to say :

John switched on it.







Prepositional Verbs

Prepositional verbs are a group of multi-word verbs made from a verb plus another word or words. Many people refer to all multi-word verbs as phrasal verbs. On these pages we make a distinction between three types of multi-word verbs: prepositional verbs, phrasal verbs and phrasal-prepositional verbs. On this page we look at prepositional verbs.

Prepositional verbs are made of:


Quote:
verb + preposition
Because a preposition always has an object, all prepositional verbs have direct objects. Here are some examples of prepositional verbs:




prepositional verbs _____ meaning ___________ examples


believe in ________ have faith in ________ the existence of I believe in God.
look after ________ take care of _________ He is looking after the dog.
talk about _________ discuss _____________ Did you talk about me?
wait for ____________ await ______________ John is waiting for Mary.




Prepositional verbs cannot be separated. That means that we cannot put the direct object between the two parts. For example, we must say "look after the baby". We cannot say "look the baby after":


prepositional verbs are inseparable:

Incorrect: Who is looking the baby after?
Correct:Who is looking after the baby?








Phrasal-prepositional Verbs

Phrasal-prepositional verbs are a small group of multi-word verbs made from a verb plus another word or words. Many people refer to all multi-word verbs as phrasal verbs. On these pages we make a distinction between three types of multi-word verbs: prepositional verbs, phrasal verbs and phrasal-prepositional verbs. On this page we look at phrasal-prepositional verbs.

Phrasal-prepositional verbs are made of:


Quote:
verb + adverb + preposition
Look at these examples of phrasal-prepositional verbs:




phrasal-prepositional verbs ______ meaning ___________ examples


get on with __________ have a friendly relationship with _________He doesn't get on with his wife.
put up with ___________ tolerate ____________ I won't put up with your attitude.
look forward ________ to anticipate with pleasure _______ I look forward to seeing you.
run out of ________ use up, exhaust ____________ We have run out of eggs.


Because phrasal-prepositional verbs end with a preposition, there is always a direct object. And, like prepositional verbs, phrasal-prepositional verbs cannot be separated. Look at these examples:


phrasal-prepositional verbs are inseparable

We ran out of fuel.
We ran out of it.










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