English Grammar: Multi-word verbs. English learners hate PHRASAL VERBS but English speakers love them! So, there is no avoiding them. This post takes a look at how to use multi-word verbs, which include four types.
Multi-word verbs are verbs that are followed by particles and/or prepositions. Although they are commonly all referred to as phrasal verbs, it is important to know the difference so as to know how to use them.
TRANSITIVE PHRASAL VERBS
- Transitive Phrasal Verbs are the only type of multi-word verbs that can be separated as seen on the left.
- Throw away
- Throw is the verb
- away is the particle
- They need to be followed by an object.
- I pick up my son at 4 o’clock.
- I picked my son up at 4 o-clock.
- When the object of the transitive phrasal verb is a pronoun, the particle MUST come after the object.
- I picked him up already.
- I looked it up on the internet.
- The verb and particle are not usually separated when the object of the transitive verb is a long noun phrase.
- She needs to pick up his favorite chocolate cake from the store.
- I have to look up some important dates for history class.
- We do not usually separate the verb and participle when the transitive phrasal verb is part of a relative clause.
- We can wrap the present with the paper I picked up today.
- The money I paid back was for the school trip.
- When the verb is modified by an adverb, it can come either at the end of the clause or before the verb
- He paid his mortgage off immediately.
- He immediately paid off his mortgage.
INTRANSITIVE PHRASAL VERBS
- Intransitive Phrasal Verbs consist of a verb and a particle
- Broke down
- broke is the verb
- down is the particle
- They CANNOT be separated.
- The plane will take off on time.
- They are always eating out.
Some phrasal verbs have more than one meaning. Some may be transitive and others intransitive
- TAKE OFF is intransitive when it means to leave.
- The plane will take off on time.
- What time are you planning on taking off?
- TAKE OFF is transitive when it means to remove.
- You can take your jacket off once we are on the plane.
- Don’t take the sticker off.
- PASS OUT is intransitive when it means to lose consciousness
- Julie passed out at lunch this afternoon.
- It is kind of scary when someone passes out.
- PASS OUT is transitive when it means to give something to someone
- The teacher always passes the exams out as soon as we get there.
- Can you help me pass these pamphlets out after work today?
- Prepositional Verbs are always followed by a preposition
- go over
- go is the verb
- over is the preposition
- They are transitive so they need to be followed by an object
- Unlike transitive verbs, You CANNOT separate them.
- Someone broke into the bank!
- How are you dealing with this loss?
- Some examples of prepositions are:
- When a prepositional verb is modified by an adverb, it must go (1) at the end of the sentence or (2) before the preposition. It cannot go after the preposition.
- 1. He’s coping with the loss of his mother really well.
- 2. He’s coping really well with the loss of his mother.
He’s coping with really well the loss of his mother.
- Phrasal-Prepositional Verbs are followed by a particle and then a preposition.
- Came up with
- came is the verb
- up is the particle
- with is the preposition
- The particle and the preposition must always stay together
Other examples of Prepositional-Phrasal Verbs:
- do away with
- Emma did away with all the old toys she used to play with.
- get away with
- She’s always getting away with everything because she’s the youngest.
- look down on
- I think it is ridiculous to look down on someone for having an accent.
Now that you have learned all about English Grammar: Multi-word verbs, take a look at more of our Grammar related posts:
Grammar: Reflexive Pronouns
Grammar video: Adverbs of frequency in less than 5 minutes