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I have difficulties with word order:

  • I have picked up the pencil from the floor. [says my dictionary]
    ?I have picked the pencil up from the floor. [could be?]
  • ?I will pick up it. [sounds weird]
    I will pick it up. [sounds right to me]
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up vote 8 down vote accepted

This from the ‘Longman Student Grammar of Spoken and Written English’:

Where the direct object is a pronoun (1), it is usually placed between the verb and the particle (over 90 per cent of the time) . . . However, when the direct object is an indefinite pronoun (2), it is often placed after the adverbial particle . . . When the direct object is a full noun (3), there is more variation in its placement.

For Example:

  1. Pick it up.
  2. Pick up something.
  3. Pick the pencil up. Pick up the pencil.
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Your first, second, and fourth examples are all good and resemble sentences people say all the time.

Number three, "I will pick up it", definitely sounds strange to me, though I really can't say why. If you replaced "it" with something specific, like, "I will pick up the pencil", it would be considered perfectly normal.

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