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.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

2
votes
4answers
641 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
votes
2answers
116 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
485 views

“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 ...
3
votes
4answers
4k 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."?
6
votes
3answers
385 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 those two wrong?
3
votes
3answers
3k 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.
2
votes
1answer
281 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.
1
vote
3answers
990 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
695 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 ...
1
vote
1answer
608 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?
-2
votes
3answers
658 views

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
733 views

Meaning of “ball off ”? [closed]

How do you get a good job without a college degree?? Claim unemployment, ballin off the state bro.
2
votes
3answers
870 views

Meaning of “lay down”

What does lay down mean? One of my closest friends is 24 and clears $100k welding stainless. No degree, loves his job, but he worked his balls off to get there. Hardly unskilled labor. He ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Difference between “she cut her hair” and “she cut her hair off”?

Why are we using off here? What additional meaning does it add? The meaning of off from http://tfd.com/off that suits this sentence is: "away (from a place, time etc.)".
5
votes
3answers
3k views

“… is about to …” vs. “… is going to …”

I found that is about to is used in the following sentence of the news article titled “Tech belt sees hiring surge” in The Boston Globe. “The company is about to go on a hiring spree, from ...
5
votes
3answers
718 views

“Climbed up over …” vs. “climbed over …”

I found that climbed up over is used in the following sentence of the 'excerpt' “The Amber Spyglass” in The New York Times. “Ama and her daemon climbed up over the rock shelves and around ...
2
votes
2answers
448 views

“Talk with” vs “talk live with”

What is the difference between talk with people and talk live with people? I think all kinds of talk is live. If so, why we would say talk live with people?
2
votes
2answers
3k views

“Pick up something” or “pick something up”?

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 ...
1
vote
2answers
4k views

Phrasal verbs (formal and informal use) [closed]

I'm not always comfortable with phrasal verbs. I find that Americans use a lot of phrasal verbs than say people from UK -- I might be completely wrong though. What I find most difficult with phrasal ...
0
votes
3answers
12k views

difference between “engage with someone” and “engage someone”?

What is the difference between "engaging with someone" and "engaging someone"? For example, what is the difference between these two expressions: How do you engage with your employees? How do you ...
2
votes
2answers
321 views

Should “in” be used with “aiding and abetting”?

Aiding and abetting, also sometimes aiding or abetting, is often found in legal definitions of accessorial liability for crimes, for example "aiding or abetting a felony." Is it proper to use "in" ...
14
votes
5answers
4k views

“Writing things down” vs. “writing things up”

Is there any difference in the usage of "writing things down" vs. "writing things up"? Are they both correct?
5
votes
5answers
6k views

What is the origin and earliest recorded usage of 'cock-up'

In informal British English, the expression 'cock-up' (c.f. the US English 'fuck-up') is used to indicate an error or problem in a situation. What is the origin of this expression and its etymology? ...
12
votes
6answers
8k views

Difference between “run into”, “come upon” and “come across”

These phrasal verbs have a similar meaning (please correct me if not): run into come across come upon Are there any nuances to choose between them? For example, I might be wrong but I mostly see ...
0
votes
2answers
159 views

Fell out of the car

The following is taken from a website: Sir, do you realize your wife fell out of the car several miles back? The expression fell out here, as I checked in the dictionary, doesn't make any sense. ...
5
votes
4answers
11k views

Past tense of “backup”

Which is the past tense of backup? backuped backup-ed backed up backed-up The context is the following: Due to the advent of cloud-based storage solutions, the data is backed up in different ...
10
votes
3answers
3k views

What's the meaning of 'out' when it comes after a verb ?

What's the difference between a verb like read and read out or shout and shout out and so on? How does "out" change the meaning of verbs?
3
votes
2answers
3k views

“nibble” vs. “nibble on”

I've been told by a native speaker that the verb "to nibble" can be used both with and without a preposition. So, is there a difference between I would definitely like to nibble on one of those ...
3
votes
1answer
95 views

Stabbing and running, how are they related?

When you literally run through some where, e.g. I have run through the streets of London it is quite clear what is meant. At a slightly more figurative level one might say, I will run ...
2
votes
2answers
3k views

Difficult and rare words/expressions that never show up in vocabulary lists

I've come quite far in my studies of the English language; ask me what "eleemosynary," "perspicacious" or "rambunctious" means and I'll give you an instant definition. But I'm still not on a native ...
-2
votes
4answers
264 views

To retroactively create?

Is there a verb that means "retroactively create"? For example: John wanted to retroactively create a relationship with his estranged father. I'm not looking for a word that means ...
-2
votes
1answer
228 views

Contextual meaning of “run out of” [closed]

This is from CSI NY. Two investigators are examining a victim's body. Joe: Well, I almost ran out of here. Any idea who she is? Mic: No. Definitely doesn't work in the lab.
5
votes
2answers
446 views

Do you use “pore over”?

As in, I spent all night poring over those legal documents. Or, do you use pore through? Not to be confused with pour (some sugar).
3
votes
1answer
19k views

Is the term “errored out” a grammatically correct phrase, or just a colloquial one?

I was wondering whether it is OK to use "errored out" as part of a status message in my code — is it grammatically correct to use it, or is there a better choice of words that I can use in its ...
0
votes
2answers
2k views

What’s the meaning of ‘go on’ here?

‘Go on’ has a lot of meanings in dictionaries, which makes me confused. What’s the omitted words and meanings of ‘go on’ in the following scene? (They are gambling on a sport in the magical world.) ...
1
vote
2answers
348 views

What does “come away” mean here, in reference to a memorial?

Does come away here mean "you come away from home"? From a CNN article: Robert Henry, a former U.S. appeals judge whose office was across the street from the federal building, says the memorial ...
4
votes
8answers
419 views

How to express misusing a tool

I am not a native English speaker. I was wondering how to express the situation in which one uses a tool for something other than what it was meant to be, and in a bad way so that you are not doing ...
5
votes
5answers
1k views

What does “turn off” mean here?

Could it be a typo for "and one by one they will be turned off"? CNN: Many of the existing space telescopes, Hubble included, are nearing the end of their lifetimes, and one by one they will turn ...
2
votes
1answer
83 views

“Heat up” or “heat”

It seems they have same meaning but why are we using the phrasal verb? Or they have same meaning?
5
votes
4answers
54k views

Does the phrase “who's in?” or “I'm in!” exist in (informal) English?

I really think I've heard it in some American sitcom/sitcoms, meaning something like participating in. "I want to play football. Who's in?" — "Great idea, I'm in!" Does it really exist, or am I wrong? ...
2
votes
2answers
809 views

What's the meaning of “delivering up” here?

Context (Abraham Lincoln's Inaugural Address), There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly written in the Constitution ...
2
votes
1answer
744 views

Meaning of “press upon”

In Abraham Lincoln's Inaugural Address, I now reiterate these sentiments, and in doing so I only press upon the public attention the most conclusive evidence of which the case is susceptible that ...
6
votes
2answers
402 views

What does “We don’t do anything that’s not completely up and up” mean?

I found an amusing story titled “Lobster salad, but a key ingredient was missing” in today’s (August 11)New York Times NY/Region section. The article reports that Zabar’s, the famous grocery in ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

What is the phrasal verb or idiom that says about something that came is too late

I can't remember a phrasal verb or an idiom that describes something that came too late, i.e. i bought this book to solve this mathematical problem, however as it only came a week later it was xxxxxx. ...
1
vote
2answers
3k views

What is the past tense of this phrasal verb (double down)?

Blackjack players can "double down" after receiving their initial two cards. What is the past tense of 'Double Down'?
2
votes
1answer
444 views

What does “fly against” mean?

http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2008/11/stop-me-if-you-think-youve-seen-this-word-before.html: I'm not sure this kind of experiment would fly against today's Google, but it worked in 2004. ...
1
vote
4answers
829 views

Is this a correct usage of “wait on”? [closed]

I've written the following phrase in a technical document: ... the Task is exposed, so it can be waited on In this context (.NET development), Task is an object instance, and by "waiting on" it, ...
5
votes
3answers
8k views

“Cover off” meaning “cover”

I've noticed that some business people (generally management types) have started to use the expression "cover off" to mean "cover". E.g. Can you cover off agenda item 3 for me? or Not ...
1
vote
2answers
774 views

“Open” vs. “open up”

Which of the following two variants is correct with reference to some email attachments? I am unable to open them. I am unable to open up them.
2
votes
2answers
1k views

Phrasal verb/expression for “bring people together somewhere”

Is there a phrasal verb or expression to express the idea of bringing people together somewhere, other than explicitly using "people" in the sentence? I am looking for something that already implies ...