Phrasal and prepositional verbs English Grammar in Use

Phrasal and prepositional verbs English Grammar in Use


A phrasal verb is a verb + adverb.

 ● Come in and sit down.

 ●I took off my shoes.

A prepositional verb is a verb + preposition.

● I was looking at the photo.

● We didn’t go into all the details.

The preposition has an object (the photo,

the details).


Some phrasal verbs have no object.

● Suddenly the lights went out.

● Others have an object.

●Someone turned out the lights.

When a phrasal verb has an object, both these orders are usually possible.

● We woke up the neighbours.

● We woke the neighbours up.

The adverb (up) can go before or after the

object (the neighbours).

When the object is a pronoun, the adverb goes after it.

● The neighbours were annoyed because we

woke them up.

When the object is a long phrase, the adverb usually goes before it.

● We woke up just about everybody in the

whole street.


The adverb can sometimes go in front position for extra emphasis.

● The door opened, and out ran the boys.

There is usually inversion of subject and

verb, unless the subject is a pronoun.

● The door opened, and out they ran.


A prepositional verb always has an object

after the preposition.

● Lisa paid for the meal.

● Lisa paid for it.

Compare these examples.

● She looked at it. (prepositional verb, stress on looked)

● She put it away. (phrasal verb, stress

on away)


An adverbial usually goes after the phrasal

verb but between a verb and preposition.

● The plane took off on time.

● I looked carefully at the photo.


Many phrasal and prepositional verbs can be passive.

● The alarm has been switched off.

● The matter will be dealt with.

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