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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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 ...
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3answers
237 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
220 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 ...
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2answers
458 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
113 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
6k 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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3answers
290 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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560 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
542 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
151 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 ...
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2answers
345 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
378 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
330 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 ...
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2answers
173 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
355 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 ...
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0answers
80 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
340 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
929 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
895 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 ...
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1answer
521 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
697 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
6k 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
2k 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 ...
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5answers
419 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
655 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
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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 ...
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1answer
329 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.
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What exactly does “sweep me off my feet” mean? (And why?)

Although the phrase "sweep me off my feet" probably means, "make me fall in love with you in a short time", what does it exactly mean, because "sweeping" can be difficult to be associated with "love". ...
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3answers
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The difference between “to think about” and “to think of” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Difference between “think of” and “think about” What is the difference between "to think about" and "to think of", when we can mix them and when ...
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5answers
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What does 'sucker for' mean?

I recently came across a couple usages of 'sucker for' which indicates that it means 'crazy about', 'enthusiastic for', or 'interested in'. For example, 'I am a sucker for sports.', seems to say, 'I ...
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4answers
474 views

Is it correct to change the common structure in these phrasal verbs?

I just read a book to learn English. And the topic I read is about the phrasal verbs, but a big doubt has come up to my mind. Is it correct to change the position of the preposition (putting it with ...
2
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1answer
87 views

What's the meaning of “throw out”

Ultimate fist pumping workout. My friend threw out her shoulder by fist pumping at a club once. The comment was made from a gif. In this gif, it shows a man doing a workout holding a barbell ...
2
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1answer
2k views

“To be in use” vs “to be at use” vs ”to be of use”

What’s the difference between “to be in use” and “to be at use”? I have impression that former states that something is being used, while the latter means something proves to be useful — the same as ...
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1answer
334 views

Does “end up” have a negative connotation? [closed]

Maybe not, as some of the example usages in here, but it still has a negative feel to me. Is there some positive way that can be used instead?
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4answers
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Another verb for “to skate by” or “to skirt by”

People sometimes use the phrases to skate by x and to skirt by x with the meaning: to do x with ease or to do x with minimal effort. Is there another verb that sounds like to skate or to skirt that is ...
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2answers
308 views

usage of the phrasal verb “ stand by”

How is the phrasal verb stand by used in a sentence? It should convey the meaning, "to be available and ready to act if needed or called upon".
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3answers
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Is there any rule about splitting phrasal verbs?

I thought of this question right after I posted a tweet about a service upgrading me to a free student account since I am in college. I said "That really helps a broke college student out." I actually ...
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3answers
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Distinguishing whether “up” is a preposition or a part of a phrasal verb in this case

In the sentences below, “bill” and “hill” are both nouns. He ran up a big hill. He ran up a big bill. Can someone explain how one distinguishes whether “up” is a preposition or a part of a ...
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4answers
491 views

Meaning of “take over”

What's the meaning of take over in this context? Does it mean Mexico's population is becoming bigger than the US? P1: World population doubled in just 36 years, that is f-king unreal. The worst ...
3
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2answers
111 views

Meaning and origin of “rally peters out”

Positive reactions from stock markets can be described as the markets "rallying peters out". See this guardian article for an example of this usage. I don't quite understand this proverb. Where does ...
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2answers
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“put X down to” vs. “put down X to”: subjects of verbs with two particles

I expect I would have to put down many coats to do the job. (SOURCE) One factor to distinguish phrasal verbs from prepositional verbs is particle movement. Phrasal verbs can place the particle ...
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4answers
2k views

What is the difference between “check something” and “check on something”

For example if in answer to the question, "what time does the shop close?" a tourist information officer might say, "I'll check on that for you." Why wouldn't they say, "I'll check that for you."?
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3answers
331 views

“Went” vs. “went along”

At work, he made up lies as he went along. At work, he made up lies as he went. Is one of the above wrong?
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3answers
2k views

Does 'throttle up' mean accelerate?

Can one say 'throttle up'? The OED only lists 'throttle down': (throttle back or down) reduce the power of an engine or vehicle by use of the throttle.
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1answer
240 views

Meaning of “pull up”

What's the meaning of pull up? Tried pulling up on my cell(video), wouldn't work. Will watch when I get home.
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837 views

“Listen to music” or “listen for music”

Which of the following sentences is grammatically correct? The music for which we heard last night at the concert was exceptionally good. The music to which we listened at the concert last night ...
6
votes
2answers
515 views

What's the meaning of “dummy up”?

What does "dummy up" mean here? The cops wouldn't tell me who the owner was, but we're a military town, so I took a chance. Called my insurance (USAA) and as luck would have it, that was the other ...
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1answer
430 views

Is “trained up” grammatically correct?

When I hear expressions like "you need to get trained up", I think the up is, at best, superfluous and probably grammatically incorrect. Is that the case, or does the up serve a purpose?
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Meaning of “go down” [closed]

What's the meaning of go down? Little did anyone know, the 47-year-old Silicon Valley executive was actually engaged in a giant scam...He was finally caught by Target security on May 8, and he was ...
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515 views

Meaning of “ball off ”? [closed]

How do you get a good job without a college degree?? Claim unemployment, ballin off the state bro.