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)
My father
can count
her mother

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
will be leaving
the money
the glass
our friends and neighbours

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


N (Subject) Verb Particle N (Object)
will be leaving
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






Hello Ezekiel,

If you look up laugh at and meet with in the Cambridge Dictionaries Online (on the right), you'll see that both are indeed considered phrasal verbs, and yes, him and accident are their objects.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Also, in the sentence, I met with an accident, is the noun: accident, the direct object of
the transitive phrasal verb: met with?

With Gratitude: Ezekiel Joy

Hi, there. I would like to know if "I am waiting for you" is a phrasal verb or not. Thanks.

Hi bekicaci,

There is some disagreement about this topic, so if you're looking for a technical answer, I'm afraid I can't give a categorical answer.

If you want to understand how to use "wait for", then I'd recommend that you look in the dictionary (see the search box on the right side of this page), where you'll that it's listed as a phrasal verb. There's also a definition and example.

I hope this helps - please let me know if you have any further questions.

Best wishes,

The LearnEnglish Team

Thank you Kirk.


How can I know whether the preposition coming after the verb is a particle or just a normal preposition" not phrasal verb"?

thanks in advance

Hello zagrus,

Generally speaking, phrasal verbs form a single unit of meaning - a single semantic unit - whose meaning is not apparent from the individual parts.  In other words, the meaning does not come from just from adding the meaning of the verb and the meaning of the particle.  As a rule of thumb, phrasal verbs tend to have both literal and metaphorical meaning, which is another helpful way to identify them.  However, the topic is complex and is really more an area of linguistic classification than language learning.  If you are interested in investigating this in more detail then the relevant wikipedia page is helpful.

I hope that helps to clarify it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

hi Teacher thanks a lot for anwering to my question about superlative and comparative. I come back with an other question. I am sorry if i disturn your schudule because i take note for every course and after i read it to be sure that i anderstand. My question is about phrasal verb. i have a problem sometimes to look for their meaning. when you look on the dictionnary they give the meaning word by word. I don't know if you mean what i am saying. For example if i take "Look like" in the dictionnary i can't see "look like" but "look" and after "like" with their meaning, but when you put them together they modify the meaning of the sentence and sometime it is hard to understand the phrases. Thank you for your help

Hello soubeigad,

Phrasal verbs are defined in several ways but one aspect of them which is generally agreed upon is that a phrasal verb (or a multi-word verb, as they are often termed) has a meaning which is more than just the sum of its words.  In other words, you cannot work out the meaning of a phrasal verb just by adding the meaning of the particle to that of the verb.

If we take your example of 'look like' then we can see that the meaning of the parts is as follows:

'look' - to appear

'like' - similar to

In other words, this does not qualify as a phrasal verb.  Rather, it is an example of a verb followed by a preposition, with each part keeping its normal meaning.

I hope that clarifies it for you.

Best wishes,



The LearnEnglish Team

So 'bring along' shouldn't be in the list, should it? The two words haven't changed their meaning. This applies to several others in the list: carry up, give back ...