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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Phrasal Verbs. Rules and Tricks

Are there any rules or tricks that might explain how phrasal verbs are formed to understand their meanings?
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Can the element in a phrasal verb have a syntactic purpose?

I am trying to create a system for teaching ESL students phrasal verbs based on the concepts contributed by the element. (For example, "up" frequently contributes the idea of finality or completion). ...
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Pays back or pays off? [on hold]

Are these two phrasal verbs expressing the same concept or 'pays back ' has a certain negative connotation?
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she's been amazing helping me do with my breakup [closed]

she's been amazing helping me do with my breakup. so i didn't understand the function of (with) in this sentence
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From where I was sitting … talk out of school … getting pretty chummy with the money [closed]

From the film Bad Teacher 2011: Amy Squirrel: Umm...I happened to be pedalling past the 7th Grade car wash this Saturday. Wally: Kill it! Can we talk about this later? Amy Squirrel: Later ...
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What does run up on someone like a “J” mean?

I was listening to Ciara's "G Is for Girl" lyrics and I want to clarify the meaning of the phrase: "I" dont want you tryna run up on me like a "J" The most suitable explanations I found for (to) ...
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'Think in' expression - correct or not?

It might sound like a newbie question, but... Today on my English lessons I argued with the teacher whether you can say 'think in' or not. For me it's obvious that you can (there's even a book ...
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3answers
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If we can fall in love, why can't we fall in anger?

Although we can look back in anger, we can't fall into it. I might argue that the phrase, to fall in love, has something to do with being helpless, of letting go and losing control. But what ...
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1answer
53 views

Can verb 'grant' be used with preposition 'with?'

Could someone explain to me if the word 'grant' can be used with 'with' and what it means? (I checked with many dictionaries, but couldn't find an example used in that way.) example sentence in an ...
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Could “Give in” mean “Hand over”? [closed]

Give in = hand in but does give in = hand over? and which of them are equal? and what's the differences?
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Interest ( someone ) in ( something )

This phrasal verb means to persuade someone when we try offering something. Examples : Can I interest you in coffee? Can I interest you in having a special relationship between us? Do native ...
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Phrasal verb “be a thing”

I’m looking for the origin of the phrasal verb “to be a thing”. It means roughly “exist” or more specifically “be recognised” or “be a phenomenon”. I first noticed it around 2008–2009. Is ...
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4answers
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Word for a problem that goes away when a larger thing changes?

What is a word or expression for a problem has effectively gone away because of a larger change that makes the problem no longer a problem? I'm thinking "obviated" or "made unnecessary," but it ...
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3answers
762 views

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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11answers
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How to describe a person in a situation in which he does not completely know what he is doing?

How can we describe a person doing or communicating something without (really) knowing what he is doing or talking about? This could be either because of some indisposition like for example ...
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1answer
44 views

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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4answers
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What should be the opposite of “going out”

I know it seems to be a simple answer but that's why I'm asking what should be, not what is. Going out is composed of two words, obviously. Each of these has its opposite. So if I were to take the ...
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1answer
123 views

How does 'be' + 'of' combine to mean 'possess; give rise to'?

I already understand and so ask NOT about the definition, below which I want to burrow. I heed the Etymological Fallacy. 1. Which ODO definition corresponds? What does of mean here? to be of = ...
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1answer
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Should we split “call together” & “gather together”?

When an organization sends invitations to companies for a planned conference, the verbs "gather together" and "call together" seem to be interchangable in this context. Should the object stay between ...
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1answer
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A song came on tv

I'm not a native English speaker, so I wanted to ask something. How would you say that 'As i was zapping through the channels, and this song came on'. Is this a correct sentence? Basically what I ...
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3answers
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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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“Replace with” versus “replace by”

I often see "replace with" and "replace by" used interchangeably, but this doesn't sound right to me: I replaced that component by this one. I would use "with" in such a sentence. "By" only ...
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0answers
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phrasal verb: 'coffee up'

I want to know what phrasal verb(s) 'coffee up' (as in 'it's good to coffee up for the day') is modelled on. What does 'up' mean in such examples? I'd appreciate your help.
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Is saying “back to back” an AmE or BrE usage [duplicate]

I have been often intrigued by the phrase "back-to-back". Referring to "back" is reminiscent of the rear of the human body. I usually hear- back-to-back meetings
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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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4answers
372 views

Point someone to something

Is it correct to write something along the lines of "She pointed me to a book of X." in the sense of "making me aware of it", "bringing it to my attention"?
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115 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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3answers
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Word, expression for copying someone who inspires you

All of us have a person; our elder siblings or friends or any one who we are inspired by. For example my elder sister, I love the way she carries herself, her personality, her poise, that I try my ...
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Difference between “turns out” and “turns out to be”

I'm not a native English speaker, hence I'm a little confused here. I want to know the difference between the two and also correct me if I'm saying it wrong here "It's turns out to be a conspiracy ...
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Opposite of “to put off”

Is there any word, expression or phrasal verb I can use that has the opposite meaning of "put off"? The case I have in mind is this: The meeting would be on saturday, but a lot of things have ...
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2answers
71 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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How to construct acceptable phrasal verbs [closed]

Native speakers using Phrasal Verbs very frequently, because it can express a lot of meanings. but Is there any rule that I can follow to construct acceptable phrasal verbs?
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1answer
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Difference between What are you up for tonight vs What are you up to tonight?

I wonder if my understanding of the meanings implied in these sentences is right. Besides, I would like to know how common they are in every day English and whether they can be used interchangeably ...
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Are “Creep up” and “Climb up” phrasal verb?

In the phrases "Creeping up the backstairs" or "Climbing up the wall", is up only a preposition, or is it part of a phrasal verb?
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To get on someone [closed]

My English is not very good as it is my second language, so I need a little help here. A cousin of mine came to my place to attend my sister's wedding. In our culture, bride to be is not supposed to ...
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Question about phrasal verbs

When looking up a word in my Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary recently, I noticed that there's a section for phrasal verbs at the end of the entry. The particular word was bow. When you take a ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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What is the meaning of “gassed for”? [closed]

I was reading a comment on ELU and it is... ... when you've been gassed for your oral surgery. Is it an idiomatic thing to say "gassed for or gassed up"?
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allow for vs. note [closed]

Take account of in Collins American Dictionary: ​1. to take into consideration; allow for ​2. to take notice of; note Would you simply tell me what the difference is between 1 and 2?
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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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Why it is not possible to put a noun object after the particle when the object refers to a person with some phrasal verbs ? Is there a specific rule?

For example: X pulled off the sweater or X pulled the sweater off but let someone off the hook not let off the hook someone to knock over the car or to knock the car over and to knock the child ...
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When to use -ed or not as part of objective portion of sentence

Which one of the following usage is correct and why? I would like to have the content changed to the following: ... OR I would like to have the content change to the following: ... The ...
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1answer
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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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1answer
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Brush up on as a Tri-Part

Is "brush up on" technically a tri-part phrasal verb?
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2answers
56 views

Sit v. sit down

I seriously cannot find any good, thorough responses to this question, and I'm trying to help out a non-native friend. Sit down implies motion. I understand that because of the preposition "down". ...
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0answers
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Is *to see something through* a productive phrasal verb?

Some verbs in English make the use of additional particles, often called prepositions, due to the fact that they are always homophonous. I do not call them adverbs because I claim they are not always ...
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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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3answers
253 views

Difference between 'lie' and 'lie down'

What is difference between lie and lie down? Please explain with some examples.
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Is “to boil down” formal enough to be used in scientific writing? [closed]

The phrase to boil down to something can be found in most dictionaries. However, to me, it sounds colloquial to write Finding an exact solution to Eq. 1 boils down to ... A real-life ...
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What preposition should be used with “cache”?

Which is most grammatical? It's still cached to your phone. It's still cached in your phone. It's still cached on your phone. I find myself gravitating towards "to" but I'm not sure - ...