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|Introduction :||Phrasal verbs||Prepos itional verbs||Phrasal-prepos
Students of English frequently have difficulty understanding how to use verb+preposition combinations in English. And this is not surprising. Though the general rules are actually quite simple (like most rules of language), it is sometimes difficult to see the relation between a verb and the preposition that follows it. Two principal but very different situations (or deep structures) exist, and unfortunately they (i.e. their surface structures) can appear to be identical.Compare the following pairs:
|With nouns as objects||With pronoun objects||(Passive )|
|The car ran over the hedgehog||The car ran it over||The hedgehog was run over by the car.|
|The soldiers ran over the field||The soldiers ran over it.||Impossible.|
|The editor quickly looked through the new book||He quickly looked looked it through||It was quickly looked through by the editor.|
|We looked through the window at the garden.||We looked through it into at the garden.||Impossible|
|I got off all the dirty marks.||I got them all off||All the dirty marks were got off by me. (Improbable, but possible)|
|I got off the bus at Bristol.||I got off it at Bristol||Impossible|
examples on the green
lines, the preposition is an integral part of the verb,
defining its meaning: these verbs are called phrasal verbs. They
are in effect two-word
►In the examples on the blue lines, the preposition affects the meaning of the verb, but is not part of the verb; it belongs to the adverb phrase following the verb; verbs that are used in this way are called prepositional verbs.
These differences are by no means always easy to understand, particularly in the examples above which show that some verbs can even be either phrasal or prepositional, depending on the circumstances! However, with the vast majority of verbs, there is no choice. The verb is either a phrasal verb or a prepositional verb. Here are some guidelines to help you understand the differences between the two groups, and their usage..
Many English root verbs can combine
with particles to create an idiomatic phrasal verb: but the most common
ones are: break,
make, take, set, put,
► Transitive phrasal verbs are usually separable, meaning that the direct object can - or with pronouns, must - come between the verb and the particle.
However adverbs do not usually come between the verb and the particle - though there are exceptions.
Transitive phrasal verbs: examples
|Using nouns||Using pronoun objects||(Passive )|
referee broke up
the fight immediately.
or: The referee broke the fight up immediately.
|He broke it up immediately.||The fight was immediately broken up by the referee.|
old lady made out (=wrote) the
cheque very slowly.
or: The old lady made the cheque out very slowly.
|She made it out very slowly||The cheque was made out by the old lady very slowly.|
when he retired.
or: He took golf up when he retired.
|He took it up when he retired||improbable|
the alarm as they entered the bank.
or: The robbers set the alarm off as they entered the bank.
|They set it off as they entered the bank||The alarm was set off as the robbers entered the bank.|
to put out (=extinguish) the
fire by themselves.
or: The men managed to put the fire out by themselves
|They managed to put it out by themselves.||The fire was put out by the men, by themselves.|
soldiers got up
their tents in two minutes.
or: The soldiers got their tents up in two minutes.
|They got them up in two minutes.||The tents were got up in two minutes.|
your success to
or: I put your success down to hard work.
|I put it down to hard work.||His success was put down to hard work.|
transitive: they require an object. This object is
generally stated, but sometimes just implied or inferred.
► Most prepositional verbs consist or an intransitive root verb + a particle.
► Some prepositional verbs are formed using a transitive verb and a particle.
► Often, the particle transforms an intransitive verb into a transitive verb:
Examples : look / look at / look for - wait / wait for - come / come through.
► The particle is not really part of the verb, but an essential link between the verb and its stated or implied object.
► These verbs are usually inseparable, meaning that the verb and particle generally stand together.
However short adverbs or adverb phrases can come between the verb and the particle in transitive statements, particularly when the object is a noun.
If in doubt, do not place the adverb between the verb and the particle.
|Using nouns||Using pronoun objects||Passive|
climbers went up
the mountain very
or The climbers went very slowly up (=ascended) the mountain.
|They went up it very slowly||Improbable|
|They came through (=passed) their exam very well.||They came through it very well||Improbable|
|We're depending on your support, totally.||We're depending on you totally.||You're being depended on.|
the notice board.
or The students were looking at the notice board intently.
at it , or
They were looking at it intently.
|Using nouns||Using pronoun objects||(Passive )|
|Everyone looked forward to the event.||Everyone looked forward to it.||It was looked forward to by everyone.|
|The prisoners broke out of their cells.||They broke out of them.||The cells were broken out of.|
|The airline did away with tickets||The airline did away with them||Tickets were done away with.|
|The builders got on with the work||They got on with it.||The work was got on with by the builders.|