Phrasal verbs two

How [verb] + [adverb] phrasal verbs work

· Grammar

Understanding adverbial phrasal verbs

In an earlier post we discussed prepositional phrasal verbs. Phrasal verbs are verbs of more than one word, usually two words, but sometimes even three. Everyone knows a few phrasal verbs: come in, go up, pick up, etc. The ones that most people know are the commonest ones. Native English speakers often use a much wider range of them. In general, however, they're used to define a more specific action than the single verb itself: come vs. come in, or go vs go away. Phrasal verbs are quite common in spoken English but are less frequent in formal correspondance. You can also refer to phrasal verbs as multi-word verbs.

A TYPICAL PHRASAL VERB = [verb] + [particle] (the particle is either an adverb or a preposition, or both).

To pick [verb] + up [adverb]: "Remember to pick up the kids this afternoon."

"Up" is an adverb with qualifies the verb "pick". As we saw last week, if the particle is a preposition, the substantive (noun) has to go after it. It isn't the same with adverbial particles. Consider these two examples:

  1. We have to call the client back [or "We have to call back the client"].
  2. He needs to clean his room up [or "He needs to clean up his room"].

As long as the phrasal verb is transitive, we can place the noun before or after the adverbial particle. Here's another example of a "[verb] + [adverb] = adverbial [phrasal verb]" formula:

  • Pay [verb] + back [adverb]. "I'll pay the money back soon." Also "I'll pay back the money soon."

Because the particle, back, is an adverb, the noun can follow it or precede it. In other words, we can say "I asked you to put your bag down or I asked you to put down your bag. There is no difference.

NB: If you're using a pronoun and not a noun, the pronoun (e.g. he, it, us, etc.) must go between the verb and its adverbial particle, like this: "Give it back!" And never like this: "Give back it!"

Verb + Pronoun + Particle (OK)

Verb + Particle + Pronoun (People have been killed for speaking like this!)

Enjoy the week. Next week we will discuss intransitive phrasal verbs. Intransitive just means that a verb doesn't require or need an object to express its action. An example of an intransitive phrasal verb is "Watch out!" It is intransitive because there's no object.

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(Bidouillé par Ret)

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