A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and preposition, a verb and an adverb, or a verb with both an adverb and a preposition.
A phrasal verb has a meaning which is different from the original verb. That’s what makes them fun, but confusing. You may need to try to guess the meaning from the context, or, failing that, look it up in a dictionary.
The adverb or preposition that follows the verb are sometimes called a particle. The particle changes the meaning of the phrasal verb in idiomatic ways.
They are also known as ‘compound verbs’, ‘verb-adverb combinations’, ‘verb-particle constructions”, “two-part words/verbs’ and ‘three-part words/verbs’ (depending on the number of words).
Phrasal verbs are usually used informally in everyday speech as opposed to the more formal Latinate verbs, such as “to get together” rather than “to congregate”, “to put off” rather than “to postpone”, or “to get out” rather than “to exit”. They should be avoided in academic writing.
!Note – Some linguists differentiate between phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs, while others assume them to be part of one and the same construction, as both types are phrasal in nature. So, unless you want to become a linguist, don’t worry about it.
Many verbs in English can be combined with an adverb or a preposition, a phrasal verb used in a literal sense with a preposition is easy to understand.
- “He walked across the square.
Verb and adverb constructions are also easy to understand when used literally.
- “She opened the shutters and looked outside.”
- “When he heard the crash, he looked up.”
An adverb in a literal phrasal verb modifies the verb it is attached to, and a preposition links the subject to the verb.
– See more at: http://www.learnenglish.de/grammar/verbphrasaltext.html#sthash.yiqs0Pag.dpuf
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