What Are Phrasal Verbs?
Some English verbs can be followed by prepositions or adverb particles.
- Alice ran into the room crying.
- He walked down the street.
- Do sit down.
Some verbs and prepositions / particles are always used together. Examples are: stand up, sit down, look at, listen to, switch off etc. Note that these structures are often called phrasal verbs. In most cases, the meaning of a phrasal verb is very different from the meanings of the two words in it.
Consider the sentence given below:
- The meeting has been put off. (The meaning of put off is different from the meanings of put and off.)
Some verbs can be used with both an adverb particle and a preposition.
Examples are: get on with, put up with, look out for etc.
- He gets on with his mother in law quite well.
- How do you put up with her?
Note that a verb + preposition combination is usually inseparable.
- He fell off the ladder. (NOT He fell the ladder off.)
The particle in a verb + adverb particle combination can go before or after noun objects.
- He switched the light off. OR He switched off the light.
If the object is a pronoun, the particle goes after it.
- She switched it off. (NOT She switched off it.)