The term phrasal verb is commonly applied to two or three distinct but related constructions in English: a verb and a particle and/or a preposition co-occur forming a single semantic unit. This semantic unit cannot be understood based upon the meanings of the individual parts in isolation, but rather it must be taken as a whole. In other words, the meaning is non-compositional and thus unpredictable. Phrasal verbs that include a preposition are known as prepositional verbs and phrasal verbs that include a particle are also known as particle verbs. Additional alternative terms for phrasal verb are compound verb, verb-adverb combination, verb-particle construction, two-part word/verb, and three-part word/verb (depending on the number of particles), and multi-word verb.
I’m not a huge fan of using the somewhat vulgar and attention seeking using of ‘WTF’ but this is good video with clear and concise explanations of practical commonly spoken phrasal verbs used by English speakers such as myself. Enjoy.
…and as ever the British Council website also makes for some impressive reading.
Some verbs are two part verbs (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases). They consist of a verb and a particle:
- grow + up
>> The children are growing up.
Often this gives the verb a new meaning:
- take + after
>> She takes after her mother
= She looks like her mother, or She behaves like her mother.
- count + on
>> I know I can count on you
= I know I can trust you, or I know I can believe you.
Some transitive two part verbs (see Clauses, Sentences and Phrases) have only one pattern:
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