A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and preposition, a verb and an adverb, or a verb with both an adverb and a preposition.
・verb + preposition
・verb + adverb
・verb + preposition + adverb
A phrasal verb has a meaning which is different from the original verb.
You may need to try to guess the meaning from the context, or, failing that, look it up in a dictionary.
Phrasal verbs can be both intransitive and transitive in meaning. The word that is joined with a verb in this construction (often a preposition) is called a particle.
Phrasal Verbs which Take Objects (transitive)
Phrasal verbs which take objects can be separable or inseparable:
Separable phrasal verbs can remain together when using an object that is a noun or noun phrase.
1. Separable phrasal verbs
・I picked Tom up. or I picked up Tom.
・They put their friends up. or They put up their friends.
Separable phrasal verbs must be separated when a pronoun is used:
・We picked him up at the station.
Not We picked up him at the station.)
・They put them up.
Not They put up them.)
2. Inseparable phrasal verbs
Inseparable phrasal verbs always remain together. It makes no difference if a noun orpronoun is used.
・We set off for the beach. or We set off for it.
・They are looking after the children. or They are looking after them.
Phrasal Verbs which Don't Take Objects (Intransitive)
Some phrasal verbs do not take objects. These phrasal verbs are Always inseparable.
・They thieves got away.
・The bus broke down on the way to work.
・She got up early.
If you are not sure whether a phrasal verb is separable or inseparable, Always use anoun or nouns phrase and DO NOT separate.
In this manner, you will always be correct!
Separable Phrasal Verbs:
・They brought up their children to respect others.
・She took off her jacket before she began the lesson.
Inseparable Phrasal Verbs:
・She was looking for her books when he arrived.
・They set off for a wonderful holiday in Hawaii.
Three-word Phrasal Verbs
Some verbs are followed by two prepositions (or adverbs).
These phrasal verbs are ALWAYS inseparable.
・I'm looking forward to meeting John.
・I'm looking forward to meeting him.
・They didn't get on with their mother.
・They didn't get on with her.
Phrasal verbs are usually used informally in everyday speech as opposed to the more formal Latinate verbs,
・ “to get together” rather than “to congregate”
・“to put off” rather than “to postpone”
・“to get out” rather than “to exit”
They should be avoided in academic writing.