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Prepositional verb

Definition: An idiomatic expression that combines a verb and a preposition to make a new verb with a distinct meaning. The preposition in a prepositional verb must be followed by a noun or pronoun, and so all prepositional verbs are transitive. Because a preposition always has an object, all prepositional verbs have direct objects. Here are some examples of prepositional verbs: Prepositional verbs Meaning Examples Direct object believe in have faith in the existence of take care of Discuss Await I believe in God.

look after talk about wait for

He is looking after the dog. Did you talk about John is waiting for me? Mary.

In English, the preposition does not always come before its object; in certain kinds of sentences, it can come at the end of the clause. For example: What are you talking about? Prepositional verbs are those which accept the passive and/or the pronominal question, but not the adverbial question form. 1. Type 1 Prepositional verb consists of a lexical verb followed by a preposition with which it is semantically and/or syntactically associated. It means that the semantic unity in prepositional verbs can often be manifested by substitution with single-word verbs. For example: See for look at: Look at these pictures. Face for cope with: Can you cope with the work? Visit for call on: He called on his mother yesterday. The noun phrase following the preposition is prepositional object, a term that suggests an analogy with the term direct object. Compare the transitive relationship of look at

and these pictures in Look at these pictures with that of see and these pictures in See these pictures. Similarity, the passive is frequently possible for prepositional verbs, as in: The picture was look at by many people. On the other hand, it is grammatically acceptable to include an adverb between the verb and the particle (preposition). For example: Many people look disdainfully at the picture. Ill look carefully after the children. The particle can be placed before a relative pronoun. For example: On whom did he call? On his mother. These are the children after whom I looked. However, many prepositional verbs have composite meanings which are not normally found out in their parts. For example: take in (deceive) 2. Type 2

Type 2 prepositional verbs are ditransitive verbs. They are followed by two noun phrases, normally separated by the preposition: the second noun phrase is the prepositional object: -

He deprived the peasants of their land. They plied the young man with food. Please confine your remarks to the matter under discussion. This clothing will protect you from the worst weather. Jenny thanked us for the present. May I remind you of OUT agreement? They have provided the child with a good education.

The direct object becomes the subject in the corresponding passive clause: The gang robbed her of/her necklace. She was robbed of her necklace (by the gang). There are two minor subtypes in which the direct object is part of the idiomatic combination: The first is exemplified by make a mess of, make allowance for, take care of pay attention to, take advantage of. It allows a second less acceptable passive in which the prepositional object becomes subject: For example: A (terrible) mess has been made of the house. The house has been made a (terrible) mess of.

The second is exemplified by catch sight of, keep pace with, give way to, lose touch with, cross swords with, keep tabs on, give rise to. Only the prepositional object can become the passive subject, though it is considered somewhat clumsy: For example:

The lifeboat was suddenly caught sight of.

Phrasal verb 1. Definition


When a verb is used with an adverb particle, the combination is called a phrasal verb. Or it is easy to understand that phrasal verb is a verb plus an adverb. There are a very large number of these in English. Eg: - You should think it over. Think over is phrasal verb and over here is a particle, not a prepositional. The children broke down the flower vase.

Broke down here is the phrasal verb and down is a particle, not a prepositional. The meaning of a phrasal verb is often different from the meanings of the two words taken separately. In order to understand the meaning of a phrasal verb, you may have to look up the dictionary. There are hundreds of phrasal verbs in English, many of them (such as tear off, run out [of], and pull through) take multiple meanings. 2. Form: Verb + adverb particle Verb + object + adverb particle Verb + adverb particle + object 3. Transitive and intransitive phrasal verbs a. Transitive phrasal verb When a phrasal verb has a direct object, it is called transitive phrasal verb. Eg: We will set up a new company. Drinking up your milk, quickly! The two parts of the transitive phrasal verb can usually be separated: the adverb particle can be put before or after the object. Eg: Well have to put off the party/ put the party off. Why dont you throw away that stupid hat/ throw that stupid hat away?

However, when the object is a pronoun, the adverb particle can only go after the object: Eg: Well have to put it off NOT well have to put off it. Could you put her up? NOT could you put up her? The particle tends to precede the object if the object is long or if the intention is that the object should receive end-focus. Many transitive phrasal verbs have prepositional adverbs: Eg: They moved the furniture out (of the house) b. Intransitive phrasal verb Intransitive phrasal verbs are verbs that dont followed by a direct object. Eg: The children were sitting down. The prisoner finally broke down. Normally, the particle cannot be separated from its verb. III.

Phrasal-prepositional verbs

Phrasal-prepositional verbs have in addition to the lexical verb, both an adverb and a preposition as particles (verb + adverb + preposition). Look at these examples of phrasal-prepositional verbs: Phrasalprepositional verbs Examples Meaning Direct object have a friendly relationship with He doesn't get on with

get on with

his wife.

put up with


I won't put up with

your attitude. seeing you.

look forward to

anticipate with pleasure

I look forward to


run out of

use up, exhaust

We have run out of


Because phrasal-prepositional verbs end with a preposition, there is always a direct object. And, like prepositional verbs, phrasal-prepositional verbs cannot be separated. Look at these examples: We phrasal-prepositional verbs are inseparable We ran out of it. ran out of fuel.


The Difference Between Phrasal Verbs and Prepositional Verbs Prepositional verbs The accent is on the verb, not on the particle Eg: Ill LOOK after the children. If the object( substantive) is substituted by a pronoun, it must be placed after the particle. Eg: Ill look after THEM

Phrasal verb The accent is put on the particle, not on the verb. Eg: Ill put ON my trousers. If the complement is a pronoun, it cannot be placed after the particle but the pronoun( object) must be placed between the verb and the particle. Eg: Ill put THEM on. NOT: Ill put on THEM. An adverb cant be placed between the verb and the particle. Eg: Ill put CAREFULLY on my trousers.

It is grammatically acceptable to include an adverb between the verb and the particle. Eg: Ill look CAREFULLY after the children. The particle can be placed before a relative pronoun. Eg: These are the children AFTER WHOM I looked.

The particle cannot be placed before the relative pronoun. Eg: the trousers ON which I put. The object( substantive) can be placed between the verb and the particle. Eg: Ill put MY TROUSERS