Introduction to Phrasal Verbs

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Phrasal verbs are two-word verbs. They include a verb and a particle. The particle can be a preposition or an adverb. Common particles are: up, down, back, out, on, off, or in.

When a verb and a particle are put together the resulting verb phrase has a complete different meaning.

Examples:

I usually eat out on Sundays. (I usually eat in a restaurant on Sundays.)

My computer broke down suddenly. (My computer stopped working suddenly.)

Mike works out every day. (Mike does exercise every day.)

Phrasal verbs are divided into 2 big groups:

  • Intransitive phrasal verbs
  • Transitive phrasal verbs

Intransitive Phrasal Verbs

  1. Intransitive phrasal verbs DON’T need an object to complete their meaning.

Remember that the object is the person or the thing that receives the action of the verb. The object of the sentence is the answer to the question who or what the subject does something to.

Example of objects:

Susan opened the door.I will invite Tony to the cinema.
Subject: SusanSubject: I
Verb: invitedVerb: will invite
object: the door (what)object: Tony (who)
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Examples of intransitive phrasal verbs:

Sit down, please

Can you stand up for a moment?

They will come back tomorrow.

2. The particle always comes immediately after the verb.

Examples:

Can you stand for a moment up?

Can you stand up for a moment? ✅

We will go next weekend away.

We will go away next weekend. ✅

Transitive Phrasal Verbs

Transitive phrasal verbs need an object. Transitive phrasal verbs can be divided in 2 groups:

1 Separable phrasal verbs

Some phrasal verbs have an object and are separable. That means that you can put the particle before or after the object.

Example:

Take out your shoes before getting in the house.

Take your shoes out before getting in the house.

  • When the object is an object pronoun (me, you, him, her, us, them), the pronoun always goes between the verb and the particle

Take out them before getting in the house.

Take them out before getting in the house. ✅

2 Inseparable phrasal verbs

Some phrasal verbs have an object and are inseparable. That means that you cannot put the object between the verb and the particle.

Example:

Look your keys for.

Look for your keys.

My friend is friend is sick, so I offered to take her dog after.

My friend is sick, so I offered to take after her dog. ✅

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Practice time

Label the phrasal verbs T (transitive) or I (intransitive) according to their use in the sentence. Circle the object

  1. She walked into the room and then ran out.
  2. Her plane takes off at 12 o’ clock.
  3. She broke down in tears.
  4. Write down my phone number.
  5. My mom throws it away.
  6. Is the manager setting up a new project?
  7. Can you turn the radio down? I’m doing my homework.
  8. She decided to give up smoking.
  9. She’ll call back later.
  10. I don’t get along well with my neighbors.

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