Some verbs are two part verbs (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases). They consist of a verb and a particle:

  • grow + up
    >> The children are growing up.

Often this gives the verb a new meaning:

  • take + after
    >> She takes after her mother
    = She looks like her mother, or She behaves like her mother.
  • count + on
    >> I know I can count on you
    = I know I can trust you, or I know I can believe you.

Some transitive two part verbs (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases) have only one pattern:

N (subject) + V + p + N (object)

[Note: N = noun; V = verb; p = particle]

N (Subject)  Verb Particle  N (Object)
She
I
My father
takes
can count
comes
after
on
from
her mother
you
Madrid


Some transitive two part verbs (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases) are phrasal verbs. Phrasal verbs have two different patterns:

• The usual pattern is: N + V + N + p

 

N (Subject) Verb (N) Object Particle
She
He
We
gave
knocked
will be leaving
the money
the glass
our friends and neighbours
back
over
behind

 
• But sometimes these verbs have the pattern: N (subject) + V + p + N (object)

 

N (Subject) Verb Particle N (Object)
She
He
We
gave
knocked
will be leaving
back
over
behind
the money
the glass
our friends and neighbours

When the object is a personal pronoun,these verbs always have the pattern:

N + V +N + p:

  • She gave back it
    >> She gave it back
  • He knocked over it
     >> knocked it over
  • We will be leaving behind them
    >> We will be leaving them behind

• Phrasal verbs are nearly always made up of a transitive verb and a particle. Common verbs with their most frequent particles are:

bring: about, along, back, forward, in, off, out, round, up
buy: out, up
call: off, up
carry: off, out
cut: back, down, off, out, up
give: away, back, off
hand: back, down, in, on out, over, round
knock: down, out, over
leave: behind, out
let: down, in, off, out
pass: down, over, round
point: out
push: about, around, over
put: across, away, down, forward, off, on, out, through, together, up
read: out
set: apart, aside, back, down
shut: away, in, off, out
take: apart, away, back, down, in, on, up, over
think: over, through, up
   





 

 

 

Exercise

Comments

Hi, my name's Domenico. I have just seen your phrasal verbs explanation.. I would like to Know if there's the best way to pick up these kind of verbs..

Must a verb plus a preposition be a phrasal verb even if the meaning does not change?
 

Yep:P

 Hi Waguihamira

According to the definitions I've just read, a phrasal verb acts is a verb and participle that acts as a single semantic unit. In other words, it's only a phrasal verb if it does in fact change the meaning.

So, if you look through a window, it is not a phrasal verb. Here 'through the window' is an adverbial clause. For more information, look here: http://learnenglish.britishcouncil.org/en/english-grammar/adverbials-adverbials-place-direction

However, if you look through a newspaper, 'look through' is a phrasal verb which means: to search for something.

Does that make sense?

Thanks

Jack Radford

The LearnEnglish Team

Hello,I have always problem to how to use phrasal verbs.

Hi, could you please tell me how can I easily remember phrasal verbs?Thanks
 

Just as you mentioned above:
• Phrasal verbs are nearly always made up of a transitive verb and a particle
How about the intransitive verb and a particle, can you tell us more about this?

Hello Zhao Wei

I'm afraid I'm not a grammarian but I will have a go. Intransitive particle verbs (or phrasal verbs) are simply particle verbs that do not require an object. Two very common examples are:

  • to show off - to behave in a way intended to attract admiration that often annoys
  • to hold on - to wait

This is a less common example:

  • to switch off - to stop paying attention to something or someone

Compare the two sentences:

  • At the end of the class, the teacher switched off the lights and went home.
  • At the beginning of the class, when the teacher started talking, several students switched off.

In the first sentence, switch off is a transitive phrasal verb and takes the object the lights. In the second, switch off is intransitive and doesn't need an object.

I hope that helps. Feel free to ask if you need more information.

Jack Radford

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Jack for this clear explanation :)
Best wishes to you
Lenka

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