ENGLISHMain English Grammar




PHRASAL VERBS are verbs which consist of a verb and one or two particles or prepositions (e.g. up, over, in, down). Phrasal verbs often have meanings which we cannot easily guess from their individual parts, their meanings are different; e.g.

a) The book first came out in 1997. (CAME OUT = was published)
b) The plane took off an hour late. (TOOK OFF = flew into the air)
c) The lecture went on till 6.30.(WENT ON = continued)
d) It’s difficult to make out what she’s saying. (MAKE OUT = hear/understand)

NOTE: Unfortunately, the only way to learn phrasal verbs is by encountering them in speech and writing, until you become familiar enough with them that you are able to use them yourself.



1. Adverb Phrasal Verbs

These verbs work as adverbs. Many adverb phrasal verbs take an object. In most cases, the particle may come before or after the object if the object is not a personal pronoun (me, you, him, us, etc.); e.g.

a) She brought up three kids all alone.
= She brought three kids up all alone.

b) Do you want me to take off my shoes?
= Do you want me to take my shoes off?

C) Do you always look up every new word in a dictionary?
= Do you always look every new word up in a dictionary?

NOTE: If the object is a personal pronoun (me, you, him, us, etc.), we always put the pronoun before the particle; e.g.

INCORRECT: I’ve made some copies. Would you like me to hand out them?
CORRECT: I’ve made some copies. Would you like me to hand them out?

INCORRECT: Oh, I can’t lift up you any more. You’re too big now.
CORRECT: Oh, I can’t lift you up any more. You’re too big now.

NOTE: We can use some phrasal verbs without an object, some of them are:

break down, carry on, drop off, eat out, get back, go off, hang on, join in, move in/out, run away, set off, wake up

a) The taxi broke down on the way to the airport and I thought I nearly missed my flight.
b) We’d better set off before the rush-hour traffic starts.
c) What time did you wake up this morning?

2. Prepositional Phrasal Verbs

These verbs work as prepositions. Prepositional verbs have two parts: a verb and a preposition which cannot be separated from each other. Prepositional verbs always have an object, which comes immediately after the preposition, means the verb and the preposition can’t be separated; e.g.

INCORRECT: Somebody broke his car into and stole his radio.
CORRECT: Somebody broke into his car and stole his radio.

INCORRECT: I don’t like this CD. I don’t want to listen it to any more.
CORRECT: I don’t like this CD. I don’t want to listen to it any more.

INCORRECT: Could you look my bag after while I go and buy the tickets?
CORRECT: Could you look after my bag while I go and buy the tickets?

NOTE: Some prepositional phrasal verbs take a direct object (an object referring to persons) after the verb followed by the prepositional phrase, some of them are:

Associate with Protect from Provide with Remind of
Rob of thank for

INCORRECT: Sujata reminds of me a girlfriend of mine.
CORRECT: Sujata reminds me of a girlfriend of mine.

INCORRECT: How can we protect from children dangerous material on the Internet?
CORRECT: How can we protect children from dangerous material on the Internet?

INCORRECT: I’d like to thank for everyone their kindness.
CORRECT: I’d like to thank everyone for their kindness.

3. Three-words Phrasal Verbs

Some phrasal verbs have three parts: a verb, a particle and a preposition. The particle and the preposition cannot be separated. These phrasal verbs work as both adverbs and prepositions; e.g.

a) Raman’s just chatting to a friend. He’ll catch up with us in a minute. (CATCH UP WITH = reach/join)
b) Do you get on with your neighbours? (GET ON WITH = have a good relationship with)
c) We look forward to meeting you on the 22nd. (LOOK FORWARD TO = anticipate with pleasure)

INCORRECT: She was a wonderful teacher. We all looked her up to her.
INCORRECT: She was a wonderful teacher. We all looked up her to.
CORRECT: She was a wonderful teacher. We all looked up to her. (LOOK UP TO = respect)

NOTE: Some of three word phrasal verbs also take a direct object after the verb as well as an object of the preposition; e.g.

a) She fixed us up with a violin teacher. We’re really grateful to her. (FIXED US UP WITH = arranged for us)
b) We just put the accident down to bad luck; there’s no other reason. (PUT DOWN TO = think the cause or reason is)







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Position of 'EACH' when it's used after the subject, and agreement of verb in such a case

Maha Gupta

Maha Gupta

Founder of www.examscomp.com and guiding aspirants on SSC exam affairs since 2010 when objective pattern of exams was introduced first in SSC. Also the author of the following books:

1. Maha English Grammar (for Competitive Exams)
2. Maha English Practice Sets (for Competitive Exams)

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