Saturday, March 14, 2020

Facts About Phrasal Verbs

Facts About Phrasal Verbs Facts About Phrasal Verbs Facts About Phrasal Verbs By Mark Nichol A phrasal verb consists of a verb and a preposition, a verb and an adverb, or a verb, an adverb, and a preposition the verb’s partners are collectively known as particles that combine to produce a figure of speech. (Phrasal verbs are common in idiomatic expressions, such as â€Å"add insult to injury† or â€Å"scared them out of their wits.†) Examples include â€Å"call back,† â€Å"check up,† and â€Å"give in.† Note that phrasal verbs can be converted to adverbs or nouns, and when they are, they are either hyphenated or closed up: â€Å"Call back in a few minutes,† but â€Å"Dial the callback number.† â€Å"She’s going to check up on it,† but â€Å"I’m going for a checkup.† Not every phrasal verb has a converted form: â€Å"Give in† never appears as give-in, though it’s plausible: â€Å"He has a give-in attitude† and â€Å"I’ve been guilty of a give-in now and then† make grammatical sense, but those idioms have not been adopted into English. (If the noun form were part of the language, although such forms are generally closed up, give-in would be an exception because the first element of the phrase ends with a vowel.) Phrasal verbs are easily split by pronouns, nouns, and noun phrases, as in â€Å"I’m making it up,† â€Å"Put your toys away,† and â€Å"I poured the soup mix in.† Note that a phrasal verb can be split or kept together when used with a noun (â€Å"Put down your pencils† or â€Å"Put your pencils down†) but no such choice is possible with a pronoun: You can write, â€Å"Put them down,† but â€Å"Put down them† isn’t considered grammatically correct. Often, though both options may be correct, a phrasal verb may read better with an intervening word or phrase than left intact, and may even more clearly indicate the correct meaning in the former format: The headline â€Å"Mom Scares Off Attacker† seems awkward somehow, but move the particle to the end, and it flows more smoothly: â€Å"Mom Scares Attacker Off.† Likewise, â€Å"He passed around a fruit-and-cheese hors d’oeuvre plate† suggests that the subject veered to avoid the plate, whereas â€Å"He passed a fruit-and-cheese hors d’oeuvre plate around† clearly conveys that he participated in the movement of the plate. Also, not every phrasal verb lends itself to splitting: â€Å"Gave off,† as in â€Å"It gave off a foul odor,† could conceivably be split (â€Å"It gave a foul odor off†), but such syntax looks awkward. In other cases, the elements never appear together, as in â€Å"I can’t tell them apart,† in which tell and apart must be separated by, not followed by, them. When an additional adverb is included with a phrasal verb, whether the adverb can be inserted within it depends on whether a pronoun or noun has already been inserted. All these variations are correct, including the third one, in which picked and at are separated by gingerly: â€Å"Gingerly, she picked at the food.† â€Å"She gingerly picked at the food.† â€Å"She picked gingerly at the food.† â€Å"She picked at the food gingerly.† (Only â€Å"She picked at gingerly the food† and â€Å"She picked at the gingerly food† are ungrammatical.) But in the variations of the following sentence, because a pronoun, not a noun, is involved, the third option is invalid: â€Å"Carefully, he looked it over.† â€Å"He carefully looked it over.† â€Å"He looked carefully it over.† â€Å"He looked it over carefully.† Because of the rich variety of forms possible for phrasal verbs, you are advised, when in doubt, to consult a dictionary’s usage note for the root verb of the phrasal verb, or another usage resource. Want to improve your English in five minutes a day? Get a subscription and start receiving our writing tips and exercises daily! Keep learning! Browse the Grammar category, check our popular posts, or choose a related post below:When to Capitalize Animal and Plant Names3 Cases of Complicated Hyphenation50 Musical Terms Used in Nonmusical Senses

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