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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Did “breaking news” originate from the phrasal verb “break in?” [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is news said to be “breaking”? Studying phrasal verbs I found break in meaning as interruption. My teacher suggested that it can be also used in news as ...
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2k views

Lights go out or go off? [duplicate]

I don't understand why they say "One by one, the street lights went out leaving us in total darkness." Why there can't be "...the street lights went off..."? I have looked it up in dictionary; "go ...
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Meaning: to back into

The title of a section of a book by Robert Nozick is: *How to Back into a State without Really Trying". I've never come across the word back as a verb, except to back up. I can't find this phrasal ...
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118 views

What does “Back on for today” mean?

I received the following email from a colleague, who is a native speaker of American English: Back on for today. Starting at [10:00]. What does "back on for today" mean?
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366 views

Finish off your meal, or finish up your meal?

In the situation where you want to tell a kid about the expected order of activities, which phrasal verb is correct? You have to finish off your meal before you may watch the movie. or You have to ...
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450 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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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.) ...
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Phrasal Usage of called on

Consider the sentence: "America's respected Institute of Medicine called for/on nurses to play a greater role in primary care." Which is more appropriate on or for?
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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 ...
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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. ...
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What does “throw in the fact” and “the escrow” mean? [closed]

I came across the following dialogue in an American TV show, but I do not understand the parts in bold. (A is a 40-year-old divorced woman who is trying to hide her real age and pretends to be 26; ...
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53 views

Pays back or pays off? [closed]

Are these two phrasal verbs expressing the same concept or 'pays back ' has a certain negative connotation?
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101 views

What's the meaning of “drag” in this context?

This is a comment from a forum discussion: This is OT. You must cook every meal to perfect macros. You then must buy tupperware and drag it into work the next day. That is all you are allowed to ...
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“Made of” vs. “Made with”

What do they mean? How should I use them? Which one is more appropriate to what context? I was talking to a colleague of mine and we couldn't get to a consensus about what should we say when ...
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66 views

“come on as” versus “come across as”

Would you say that both sentences sound correct? On the whole, I think you came ON as sincere and credible, and your soft-spoken demeanor, laced with a dash of wry humor, was quite charming. On the ...
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143 views

Expressions or phrasal verbs for very boring

In AE, how could I say something is very boring? I know teenagers would say "it sucks" but is there anything else, phrasal verbs or expressions? If it's something local, I would also ask you to say ...
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Throw a ball up versus Throw up a ball

For the phrasal verb to throw something up, as it to toss an object in the air, is this sentence OK, or is it interpreted as John vomiting out a ball? (I) John threw up a ball My intuition is that ...
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The structure of “come on in”

Why do two adverbs follow come in the phrase, come on in? I know come in, come on, go away, but when I hear "Come on in" in American movies, I can't figure out its grammatical structure.
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Holding off on it or Holding it off or Holding off of it?

I would like to say that I'm pausing / postponing work on something. I wasn't sure which of the following is the right way to say it: I'm holding off on it for the time being I'm holding off of ...
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124 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 ...
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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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The phrase, “It's on tonight.”

Is the sentence, "It's on tonight," grammatically correct? What about "It's on for tonight?" Are they both correct? Is there any difference at all?
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Using of phrases - to catch up with [closed]

If I have got too many things to do and very little time for it. Can I say " I can not catch up with all of these".
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Which word order produces the more suitable sentence? [closed]

Which of the following is an appropriate sentence? Only he could see through the trick. Only he could see the trick through. According to me, the first one is right. Can you explain which one is ...
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What is the difference between the two phrases to meet you and meeting you? [closed]

Why the below one is correct? I look forward to meeting you. And why this one is wrong? I look forward to meet you. I generally do these mistakes in letter writing.
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69 views

Difference between 'get at' and 'get on at'

E.g. 'My boss is always getting on at me even if I haven't done anything wrong.' 'Her parents keep getting at her for skipping classes.' I'm wondering whether these phrasal verbs have ...
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150 views

Use of Phrasal Verb 'Yearn for'

I'd like to ask if the following sentence is grammatically correct: It is a rare luxury yearned for by even those who have it all. I am especially concerned with the usage of the phrasal verb ...
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52 views

precede versus take precedence of

I would like to describe the relationship between two start dates. I have been repeatedly using "start date of A precede the start date of B." I am wondering if an alternative expression "start date ...
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What terms should be used to mean the different states of attendance of volunteers in a clinical study?

In a clinical trail with several visits, it is common to see volunteers not attending their visits at some time point for different reasons. I have these different situations, and I would like to know ...
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468 views

“have to” a phrasal verb

Why is "have to" not listed as a phrasal verb in the dictionary? "have" means to be in possession of something while "have to" means "obliged to". So "have to" seem to be non-compositional in terms of ...
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what do you think of NP?

[i] She thinks of herself as a poet. (Collins #7) [ii] People are thinking of her for president. (Webster’s, think of #2.b) [iii] What do you think of the film? (Cambridge) It seems like verb ...
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320 views

What does get to mean in this sentence? [closed]

Gorilla babies and elephant babies and human babies are not so different, except that a gorilla gets to spend the day riding on his mother's back. What does get to mean in this sentence?
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104 views

Using the proper particle in: “Spirit, we are going to call you [x]!”

Suppose we want to talk to a spirit of a deceased person and so, using magic, we want to make the spirit appear. Surely, first of all, we should "call" for their presence in the place where we are, ...
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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 ...
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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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Keep up v. keep up with

Keep up generally means maintain a steady pace or maintain the height/production of something, but it seems sometimes keep up can appear without it's handy "with". Compare the following: 1. You need ...
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requirements about or requirements for [closed]

i try to build a phrase in the context of Master application : We said : let me know if there are further requirements for my application . or let me know if there are further ...
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280 views

What is a formal word meaning “paid off”?

I can not think of any way to say paid off in a formal way. Susan’s speech and struggle during those rough times has _______.
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What does “the take-up” mean?

I couldn't find the proper meaning in the dictionaries. Could anyone explain to me what does the author mean by "the take-up" here in this excerpt? There has been a trend towards setting the ...
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179 views

“Blinds us to” or “blinds us from”?

I see these phrases sometimes: "blinds us from" and "blinds us to". Which form is correct? The whole sentence would be something like "blinds us from the truth".
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Using 'stand for' in reference to acronyms

I read that 'stand for' means 'To represent; symbolize,' and now I'm wondering whether it can be used in reference to an acronym. For example, is it proper English the following question ... 'Can ...
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142 views

Is a phrase 'your happy being' correct?

My friend asked me to the beach with this sentence: The beach is waiting for your happy being. Is the sentence he used correct?
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323 views

“Take a quest” or “Take up a quest”?

If I take this quest, I shall be redeemed in her eyes. vs Take up the quest to receive a handsome reward! Which usage is semantically correct or (if both correct) better? Take or take up or ...
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362 views

“Bite off” and “bite of” [closed]

"I take a bite off my pizza." Or "I take a bite of my pizza." Or neither or both? I am not sure how to use bite off/of correctly.
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523 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 ...
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139 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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mix subject up / get subject mixed up

Do the sentences below have the same meaning and are they both common? Shut up, you're mixing me up. Shut up, you're getting me mixed up.
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Can the phrasal verbs “bring about” and “bring off” be used interchangeably?

please would any one of you show me the difference between these two phrasal verbs. It is kind of nuance difference as I understood at first blush. I think that I know the meaning of bring about, it ...
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How did the postverbal prepositions originate in 'to treat of' and 'to treat on'?

[OED:] [2.] a. {intransitive} To deal with some matter in speech or writing; to discourse. (In quot. 1517 transf. of pictorial representation.) Const. of, formerly also on, upon. How did of or ...
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How did 'of' originate in 'to conceive of'?

[OED:] [8.] d. intr. to conceive of : To form or have a conception of, think of, imagine. I'm trying to compare 'to conceive' with (the prepositional verb) 'to conceive of'. To me, both appear to ...