is a phrasal verb?
A phrasal or multi-word verb is a combination of a verb plus
one or two "particles" or prepositions. The meaning
of the phrasal verb can be different from the meaning of the
two words taken separately.
probably know and use some phrasal verbs already such as,
look up, find out, come in, put on, take off.
Some may be less familiar, such as put off (delay) a meeting,
turn down (refuse) an offer or put
someone up (accommodate someone).
Phrasal verbs are used so frequently in English that if you
don't recognise them when you come across
them they can be very confusing. Of course once you are familiar
with them, they are easy to recognise and use but some people
find them difficult to learn.
are phrasal verbs important?
To answer this question we need to think about how the history
of the United Kingdom has affected its language. In the distant
past, the inhabitants of Britain spoken an Anglo-Saxon Germanic-based
language, but in 1066, all that changed. The Normans from
France invaded and conquered England, bringing their Latin-based
language with them. For the next four or five hundred years,
this Norman French was widely used as the language of the
King's court, the law courts, the church, the upper and the
middle classes. However the working people or "the man
in the street" still spoke the Anglo-Saxon language.
It is still true!
of these two languages in Britain explains, to some extent,
why English has such a wide vocabulary. There are two versions
of most words, for example we say sheep and cow (the beasts
of the field, that the farmers produced) or mutton and beef
(the meat on the table, that the rich men ate).
can put out a fire or you can extinguish
You can put up with a bad situation
or you can tolerate it,
You can kick someone out
or you can expel them
is Anglo-Saxon, the second a French or Latin-based word.
speakers hear a Latin-based word they are impressed. The speaker
is an intellectual, speaking from the head. When English speakers
hear Anglo-Saxon English, they believe what is said and warm
towards the speaker. It is the language of the people, of
the heart, of the belly, the gut.
want to sound sincere and connect with ordinary people, this
is the language to use.
phrasal verbs are a more informal way of expressing something;
they are more common in spoken English than in written English.
of English tend to favour the non-phrasal verb equivalent.
This is what they may have been taught at school and it may
seem easier to learn. They may also think that knowing long
words makes them sound very clever. Unfortunately it often
makes them sound formal:
I remove my shoes?" "Please enter" and
a minute, let me extinguish my cigarette", or "I
forgot to I submit my homework" which sounds particularly
formal for a child or a teenager, it would be more usual to
say, "I forgot to hand in my homework".
It can also make the speaker sound too formal, therefore cold,
unfriendly and unapproachable.
would appreciate participating in your game (of cricket)"
gives a very different message to "I'd love to join
in your game (of cricket)".
Look at the language in these two stories. Which sounds more
policeman visited me this morning, enquiring about how
I had acquired my bike. I told him I'd discovered
it just outside my gate. From the expression on his face,
I got the impression that he didn't believe me. In fact
I really had investigated, to ascertain
who it belonged to, but no-one round here could assist
me. I assumed that the owner had discarded it, so I repaired
it and decorated it with some new bits of chrome and plastic,
and started to use it. I'd certainly return it
to the rightful owner if he appeared, and that's what
I will inform the magistrate next Tuesday.
policeman called in this morning,
asking about how I had come by
my bike. I told him I'd come across
it just outside my gate. From the look on his face, I
got the idea that he didn't believe me. In fact I really
had asked around, to find
out who it belonged to, but no one round
here could help me out.
I assumed that the owner had thrown it
away so I fixed it up
and did it
up with some new bits of chrome and plastic,
and started to use it. I'd certainly give
to the rightful owner if he showed up,
and that's what I will put to
the magistrate next Tuesday.
Put single words into this paragraph to replace the phrasal
he came into the room there was a minute's
silence. Everyone looked at him curiously.
Obviously everyone had been talking about
him, and now he had turned up in person. "He should
be thrown out," said Peters. Some
of the others let out murmurs of agreement.
Hopkins got up "I can't carry on
enjoying myself any longer in that man's company"
he said. "Either he gets out or
I put him out."
the "Latinate" verbs (in italics) in this text with
their phrasal verb equivalents from the list below; you may
need to change the verb form.
take out do up fix up put up take up
throw out put in talk about look at think over
|I went to inspect a new apartment
yesterday but it was not very promising, although it is
in a beautiful area of town, the whole place needs refurbishing.
The old kitchen sink needs removing.
We would have to install air
conditioning. We would also need to erect,
some shelves for my books and there are no bedroom cupboards.
The previous owners have left lots rubbish that we would
have to dispose of. The cooker
doesn't work properly but it can be repaired.
Before we decide whether to move, we must discuss this
and consider it very carefully
although you did say that you were interested in starting
home decoration and plumbing!
do phrasal verbs mean?
When you come across a phrasal verb that you have never met
before, you need an "attack strategy", you need
to try to work out what it means, not give up and run away.
can try to guess it's meaning from the context, look at the
phrasal verbs in the previous sentence. The "particle"
may help you to guess its meaning, does the particle sound
positive or negative?
you have tried to guess, you can
use your dictionary to check. In a good monolingual
dictionary, after the entry for the main verb,
you will see an entry with Phr V;
this will give you a list of phrasal verbs made from the main
verb. It will also give you examples of how the phrasal verbs
are used in sentences.
note of new phrasal forms of verbs as you get to know them.
will not only build up your word
power, but also help you to express yourself more precisely
and convincingly in English! Depending, of course, on the
impression that you wish to give!
left hand box is more formal, the right hand box sounds "chatty".
When he entered the room there was
a minute's silence. Everyone studied/inspected
him curiously. Obviously everyone had been discussing
him, and now he had appeared in
person. "He should be expelled,
said Peters. Some of the others emitted
murmurs of agreement. Hopkins got up "I can't continue
enjoying myself any longer in that man's company" he
said. "Either he leaves or
I eject him."
I went to look at a new apartment
yesterday but it was not very promising, although it is in
a beautiful area of town, the whole place needs doing
up. The old kitchen sink needs taking
out. We would have to put in
air conditioning. We would also need to put up
some shelves for my books and there are no bedroom cupboards.
The previous owners have left lots rubbish that we would have
to throw away. The cooker doesn't
work properly but it can be fixed up.
we decide whether to move, we must talk this over and think
it over very carefully although you did say that you were
interested in taking up home decoration and plumbing!
(R) thedailystar.net 2004