Phrasal Verbs

Phrasal verbs are verbs that have a preposition that changes the meaning of the verb from its base form.

For example, run is to go faster than a walk, but run into means either to collide with something or see a person unexpectedly.
I like to run to get exercise. 
I ran into my high school teacher in the park yesterday. I hadn’t seen him in ten years.

Just like all verbs, phrasal verbs can either be intransitive (cannot take an object) or transitive (can take an object).

Intransitive: A student should not talk back to the teacher.
Transitive: She always looks up the answers to her homework  in the back of the book.

Some can be both transitive or intransitive, but the meaning changes depending on which it is.

Intransitive: The man was so angry that he blew up at his wife. (He yelled at her angrily.)
Transitive: The bomb blew up the building. (The bomb made the building explode.)

Phrasal Verbs are either separable or inseparable.


The verb and the preposition can either be together in the sentence or divided with the object in between.

He picked up the box of chocolates at the store.
He picked the box of chocolates up at the store.

*If you use a pronoun to replace the object of a separable phrasal verb, you must put it in between the verb and preposition.

He picked it up at the store.


The verb and preposition must stay together in the sentence.
*If you replace the object of an inseparable phrasal verb with a pronoun, it must go after the preposition.

He looked into the problem.
He looked into it.



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