Phrasal Verbs vs. Prepositional Verbs
1. Phrasal verbs vs. prepositional verbs
Phrasal verbs and prepositional verbs may look similar, but they do not act the same.
Phrasal verbs are verbs that contain multiple words.
They have their own special meaning.
Prepositional verbs are verbs that add a preposition to tell what direction the verb is done.
The meaning is the same as the original verb, but with an added direction.
2. What is a phrasal verb?
Phrasal verbs are verbs that contain two or more words.
The first word is a verb, and the second is an adverb. The adverb changes the verb.
This means phrasal verbs have their own special meaning.
|Original verb||Phrasal verb||Meaning||Example sentence|
|put||put away||to tidy out of sight||He put away the toys into the box.|
|bring||bring up||to raise an idea||Hillary brought up the price rise at the meeting.|
|blow||blow up||to explode||The car blew up a little after 2am.|
|pick||pick up||to collect a person from a place||I need to pick up the children from school at 3 o’clock.|
|beat||beat up||to physically assault||Phillip beat up Dave because Dave ate Phillip’s pudding.|
|take||take apart||to deconstruct, making into small pieces||Candy took apart the phone but now cannot put it together again.|
|call||call off||to cancel an event||The game was called off because of snow.|
|care||care for||to look after someone who is ill or infirm||It is very kind of you to care for your grandmother.|
3. What is a prepositional verb?
Prepositional verbs are also verbs that contain two or more words.
However, in a prepositional verb the second word does not change the verb meaning.
It is a preposition which says where the verb goes.
|Verb||Prepositional verb||Meaning||Example sentence|
|believe||believe in||to put belief into an object||Do you believe in God?|
|get||get on||to get into a vehicle, or stand on top of something||They got on the train at Crewe.|
|take care||take care of||to care for someone or something||She takes care of her sick husband.|
|look||look for||to look in a search for something missing||They are looking for their lost dog.|
|work||work for||to work in the employment of a company or person||I work for a terrible company.|
|apologise||apologise for||to apologise for a specific reason||I apologise for my husband’s behaviour.|
|sympathise||sympathise with||to have sympathy for someone or something||She sympathises with him, but still has to fire him.|
4. Splitting verbs
Phrasal verbs can be split.
This means the object can be put inside the phrasal verbs.
|Phrasal verb||Object||Example of object inside phrasal verb|
|put away||the toys||Daisy put the toys away in their box.|
|blow up||the car||The gang blew the car up at 2am.|
|beat up||Dave||Phillip beat Dave up again, this time because Dave ate Phillip’s cookies.|
|turn on||the television||Could you turn the television on?|
|turn down||the job offer||I think you were right to turn the job offer down.|
If using an object pronoun (me, you, him, her, it, us, them), a phrasal verb must be split.
|Phrasal verb sentence with object|
|Phrasal verb sentence with object|
|Phrasal verb sentence with object pronoun|
|Jess typed up her notes.||Jess typed her notes up.||Jess typed them up.|
|Archibald bought up the restaurant.||Archibald bought the restaurant up.||Archibald bought it up.|
|Sean will clean up the mess.||Sean will clean the mess up.||Sean will clean it up.|
|You have taken over the project.||You have taken the project over.||You have taken it over.|
Prepositional verbs cannot be split.
Which of these are phrasal verbs, and which are prepositional verbs?
(i) give up
(ii) push against
(iii) turn off
(iv) write down
(v) read along