A phrasal verb is a combination of a verb and a preposition, a verb and an adverb, or a verb with both an adverb and a preposition.

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79 views

Shred off heat? [closed]

I heard a phrase which I'm not sure it's this but I liked it. It was a classical radio station in Southern California. It was a hot day and radio was playing a song about ice and snow, and the ...
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1answer
138 views

Meaning of the phrasal verb “to dart at”

There was the poor bear, spluttering away in the water, and trying his hardest to swim whilst the goldfish darted at him in fury. What does to dart at mean in this context? Does it mean "attack"? ...
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2answers
2k views

made of vs made up of

I'd really value your thoughts on this one. I'm familiar with the following use of 'made of': The shirt is made of silk. But I'd like to know if anyone thinks using this phrasal verb as a ...
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1answer
143 views

'Take after' usage with abstract concepts

Can I use phrasal verb take after with things and abstract concepts when I want to emphasise similarity and inheritance? For example, is it correct to say either of these: Idea A takes after ...
3
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1answer
729 views

Term for verb+adverb with distinct meaning

There are verbs that, when paired with certain adverbs, can have a distinctly different meaning. For example, I looked up the word in the dictionary. The phrase looked up functions as a verb ...
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1answer
331 views

A formal phrasal verb for “continue to stick to their belief”

How do I rewrite the following sentence so it is more formal, using a phrasal verb in place of the part in bold? Despite mounting evidence, they continue to stick to their belief.
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10answers
519 views

“To dress less attractive/flashy” to not “make yourself stand out as being more important than someone else”

I'm looking for (phrasal) verbs that describe these two actions. Imagine in a music concert, if yor're a guest singer that is invited by the main singer, you're usually going to want to dress less ...
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2answers
102 views

Usage of “voted in”

Is it correct to write voted in in the following sentences? Members may vote in a new leader. Board members will be nominated and voted in by the team.
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2answers
315 views

Why are prepositions out of place with many phrasal verbs?

Please, restrict your answers to etymological info. I browsed some other questions and found some good info here: Is it correct to change the common structure in these phrasal verbs?, which is more ...
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1answer
952 views

“Sent” vs “sent off” vs “sent out”

When do we use one over another? I sent a letter. I sent off a letter. I sent out a letter. Here I found a similar topic but I am still confused. sent = sent to one or more people ...
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1answer
219 views

How should I use the phrasal verb “to d**k around”?

To waste time Stop dicking me around and get to the point. Would you please stop dicking around with her? To take advantage of You're dicking him around, you know? Don't ...
2
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3answers
246 views

word for the act of each person in a group put in some money combined to buy something

What's the verb/phrasal verb to describe the act of giving/putting in a share of money towards a total amount to buy something as a group where each of the other members in the group put in their ...
0
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1answer
88 views

“Bring down X” vs. “bring X down” [duplicate]

I am unable to understand the difference between these two sentences: I want him to bring down the opponents. I want him to bring the opponents down. Which is right and when should each ...
0
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2answers
102 views

Is “Cutting Across the Afternoon of Life” grammatical? [closed]

I'm using this for a title of short story. The title has to reflect the last line of the story, which is as follows: A long, dark shadow cuts across the countless cubicles. I've thought of ...
3
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2answers
269 views

Why is it “objections to moving”, not “objections to move”? [closed]

I got this sentence from the Economist: There are two primary objections to moving to the chained CPI. My question is, why have they used moving instead of move after objections to?
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4answers
257 views

break/burst into + '-ing' form

Is it possible to use a verb in the -ing form with these phrasal verbs? I mean, dictionaries I use contain only some exemplary sentences with a noun following the phrasal verb (break/burst into ...
3
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1answer
1k views

“is to” + verb, “was to” + verb

I've got a sentence that I can't quite well understand. My problem in the sentence is the "were to play" part. How does it change the meaning of the sentence? Does it mean that this was an action in ...
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1answer
444 views

Can one use “known from” as “known for”?

I wonder if we can use the form "known from" instead of "known for" (saving the same meaning, of course). For example: "NY is known from its beautiful Empire State Building" instead of "NY is known ...
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1answer
614 views

What does “switch off” mean? [closed]

I read a blog post which includes the following sentence: I hear many PhD students say they feel stressed because they can’t switch off. What does the term switch off mean in the sentence above? ...
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1answer
254 views

“impede” vs. “impede on”

I can’t figure out whether the following sentence needs the word on or not: It was getting crowded, impeding our ability to move around. It was getting crowded, impeding on our ability to ...
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1answer
2k views

“Take the role” vs. “take over the role” vs. “take on the role”

Is there a significant difference between the three expressions, or can they be used interchangeably? I'm trying to say that a colleague of mine succeeded to another after the latter had quit his ...
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2answers
698 views

Is there any difference between “stoop down” and “stoop”?

According to Longman, they are the same, but I wonder if this is correct or if so, which one is more common. For example: Dave stooped down to tie his shoes. Dave stooped to tie his shoes. ...
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5answers
686 views

Looking for the opposite of “drill down”

I am a programmer working on a chart component that allows to drill down on selection of a node. Drilling down will show the details of that node (like its children etc.). But I am struggling to find ...
2
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3answers
206 views

Topography of phrasal verbs

Is there an exhaustive list of the prepositions/adverbs/particles that can contribute to a phrasal verb? And is there any 'verb-part' that can be used with the entire list?
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1answer
202 views

Meaning of “broken off short”

What does "the handle broken off short" mean when referring to an axe? Does it mean the handle is broken off and it is a little far from the rest, or that it is broken close to the axe and there is ...
2
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2answers
156 views

“Wash hands of” — why not “off” instead of “of”?

The phrase "wash hands of" is supposed to mean giving up or having nothing to do with something. But why is it "of" and not "off"? Using "off" sounds more like giving it up and distancing oneself ...
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2answers
102 views

“Roll” vs. “roll up” [closed]

Are these two verbs the same? According to Longman, they are the same. Here are some made up sentences: I rolled this (up) into a ball. Let's roll (up) our sleeves. (I made up these ...
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2answers
3k views

Is “catch up” used in formal language as in “We will catch up sometime”?

I wrote "we will catch up sometime" to one of my new friends. When I searched the Internet I found that people used it in informal situations. Is it okay to use this in formal writing as I did since ...
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1answer
251 views

Is there any book about origins of phrasal verbs' meaning?

In Macmillan dictionary, 3rd meaning of roll up: [TRANSITIVE] if you roll a car window up, you turn a handle or push a button so that the window goes up I've learned 'roll up' below: ...
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3answers
223 views

Is “get someone up” the same as “wake someone up”?

Is using get up in this expression correct? I am sorry I woke you up. I am sorry I got you up. I use get up for wake up all the time, but in this expression it sounds a bit odd.
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3answers
454 views

What is the difference between “carry out a crime” and “commit a crime”

Do these both have the same meaning? John carried out a crime. John committed a crime.
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6answers
412 views

Expression similar to 'freak out'

For usage like this: I freaked out when I saw that file was not there. Every time I talk to him, he freaks me out by his strange stories. What similar expressions can I use instead of ...
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5answers
144 views

Sum up the users? Or sum up the number of users?

Let's say that there is a list of users and I want to know how many users are in the list. Would I 'sum up the users,' 'sum the users,' 'sum up the number of the users,' 'sum the number of users,' or ...
2
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2answers
289 views

Meaning of “hammer a socket on it and pop it off”

In a discussion on a pick-up truck car wheel theft, one person gave an advice to the victim that he "should have bought some locking lugs". This advice was disapproved by someone else in the ...
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5answers
321 views

Is there any phrasal verb to mean “teeth are falling out because one is getting older”?

The sentence would be: He is Xing now. Where X means "losing teeth" or "teeth are falling out" because he is getting older. I am assuming such phrasal verbs or words exist because it would be ...
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2answers
209 views

What does “to beat someone to something by some time period” mean?

Beat me to it by about 30 seconds (Source: The first comment under this answer.) I can't find "beat to" in my phrasal verb look up table, nor this usage makes any sense to me. But it looks like ...
2
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2answers
136 views

How do you define broke and broke into?

How do you define broke and broke into here? OP: "If you're not making six figures by the time you're 40, you fail at life." P1: "whew... I just made it... broke into 6 figures at 39." P2: "I broke ...
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3answers
318 views

Developing a crush or infatuation

For "crush" in meaning: 2 informal a brief but intense infatuation for someone, especially someone unattainable What word would replace the terribly technical developing a crush? Does one only ...
2
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0answers
76 views

Placing the preposition [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is it correct to change the common structure in these phrasal verbs? I'm really confused about where to put the preposition. She cut her hair off. Vs She cut ...
2
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2answers
269 views

“Add up to total” vs “add to total”

! There is a possible problem with this: The six numbers may add to more than the total population and the six percentages may add to more than 100 percent because individuals may report more ...
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2answers
703 views

Infinitive or Gerund for celebration of an event?

Which of the following sentences would be correct in a baby shower invitation. My grandparents are looking forward to celebrate my arrival in February. My grandparents are looking forward to ...
2
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2answers
607 views

What does “to look by” mean?

According to an article I read, the following sentences are roughly synonymous: He looked by the building. He looked past the building. I don't know what look by and look past mean. I found a ...
4
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1answer
383 views

What are the origins of “take you up on it”

A common English idiom "take you up on it" is apparently used to indicate a general willingness or predisposition to accept something that is offered or granted. For example, If you make an offer ...
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1answer
617 views

“Button up” vs. “button down” [closed]

As it pertains to a dress shirt, which is the correct usage or do these terms have different meanings?
3
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1answer
3k views

“Meet up” vs. “meet” vs. “hook up”

What's the difference between meet up, meet and hook up as a synonym of meet up? The Free Dictionary has the following definitions: to meet up: to see and talk to someone familiar or someone ...
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1answer
1k views

what is the difference between “hook up with” and “have sex with”? [closed]

I would like to know the subtle difference between hook up and have sex. I'm asking because hook up seems have a subtly different meaning than have sex: in the situations I've heard this word it seems ...
6
votes
5answers
385 views

Is to “tell off” a particularly British expression?

I'm translating a short story from Spanish into English. A small child says (literally): Why don’t we knock?” I asked. “They’re gonna tell us off.” (The Spanish is: Nos van a regañar.) I've ...
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2answers
592 views

What do “wonk” as against performer and “Wonking out” mean?

Time magazine’s October 22nd issue carries the article titled “Paul Ryan on the campaign trail: More performer than wonk.” The article begins with the following lines: “Mitt Romney's running mate ...
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3answers
1k views

What's the difference between “get up” and “stand up”?

I'm translating Bob Marley's song "Get up, stand up" and, consulting my dictionary, I can't understand the difference between these two verbs. I have understood the overall meaning of this song, of ...
0
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1answer
241 views

What does “back-slap” mean? [closed]

What does back-slap mean in this sentence? Back-slap someone in Korea and they will be offended.