Phrasal Verbs

Introduction

Phrasal verbs are verbs that always take a certain preposition or adverb. They often have a completely different meaning from the original verb.

Example

Norman is going through hard times at the moment. His girlfriend broke up with him last week. He always thought they got on well. But now he has to get by without her.

Well, somehow he has to put up with the situation. Life goes on.

Usage

Phrasal verbs have to be learned like any other vocabulary. Unfortunately, there are no rules that determine which particle gives a verb its particular meaning. You just have to rely on your dictionary and your memory.

Example:
go through – undergo/suffer/experience
Norman is going through hard times at the moment.
get by without someone – survive without/manage without someone
He has to get by without her.

Many phrasal verbs also have a regular verb with the same meaning. However, these regular verbs often sound quite formal and are usually used in formal written communication.

Example:
His girlfriend broke up with him last week.
His girlfriend ended their relationship last week.
He always thought they got on well.
He always thought they were on good terms.
Well, somehow he has to put up with the situation.
Well, somehow he has to accept the situation.
Life goes on.
Life continues.

Examples

Here are some commonly used phrasal verbs listed along with with their meanings.

break, bring, call, carry, come, do, fall, get, go, keep, look, make, put, run, set, take, turn

Word order in phrasal verbs

Some phrasal verbs can be separated by an object and some can’t. In phrasal verbs that can’t be separated the particle comes directly after the verb.

Example:
He fell for his girlfriend. (not: He fell his girlfriend for.)
He fell for her. (not: He fell her for.)

Many phrasal verbs are separable which means that the object can come between the verb and the particle or after the particle. (When the object is pronoun, it comes between the verb and the particle.)

Example:
She threw his love letters away./She threw away his love letters.
She threw them away. (not: She threw away them.)

There are no rules as to whether or not a phrasal verb can be separated. Each phrasal verb must be learnt individually or looked up.

Show comments »

Leave a message