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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What's the difference between “on” and “of” after a verb? [on hold]

For example: "Some variations on the activity" vs "Some variations of the activity". and "practise vocabulary on pets" vs "practise vocabulary of pets". What is the difference in terms of meaning ...
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2answers
2k views

'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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1answer
24 views

Storm off vs storm out

Is there any difference between these two? Can I say: He had a row and stormed off/out?
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2answers
138 views

A verb that means “to die of a broken heart”

Is there any one-word verb, a phrasal verb, or an idiom that means "to die of a broken heart" or "to die of grief/sadness"? Example: She went through a lot of adversities and grief in the past ...
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1answer
73 views

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 on ...
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1answer
13k 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
50 views

“replace with” vs. “replace by” in the sense of substituting strings

Given that both prepositions are acceptable in general contexts with a slight deviation in usage, meaning, and voice ("Replace with" versus "replace by" has a too wide scope), let ...
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4answers
3k views

Meaning of to “will someone on”

In the following extract from David Cameron's last speech as PM, I don't understand the last part which includes "will someone on": And the PM won applause and a standing ovation from Tories - ...
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1answer
114 views

Seem small clause

It is said that the omission of "to be" is allowed only when the adjective (phrases), noun (phrases), or prepositional phrase comes after the to be like this: a He seemed (to be) angry about the ...
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3answers
349 views

'want' vs 'want for' vs 'want of'

[OED:] want {verb} = 1. a. intr. To be lacking or missing; not to exist; not to be forthcoming; to be deficient in quantity or degree. In early use const. with dative or to. rare since the 17th c., ...
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2answers
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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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3answers
111 views

Is “He was shot in the street” ambiguous? [closed]

I'd say both of these uses of "he was shot" make sense: "How did he die?" -- "He was shot in the street" [meaning shot dead] "He was shot in the street, but luckily the bullet only hit his foot." [...
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2answers
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What does “to stall around” mean? [closed]

Please, tell me the meaning of "to stall around" in the sentences, for instance: I stall around outside the cafe. He was stalling around her house two days ago. She heard a click and the fighting ...
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1answer
53 views

Does “fork out” only mean “pay unwillingly”?

I was wondering if I could use the word "fork out" in the following context, implying that a person doesn't wish to spend a lot of money. If you don't feel like forking out, we could go to a cheaper ...
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6answers
727 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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1answer
76 views

Does “intimate” = “imply + infer”? Or just “hint at”?

I'm not clear on how intimate (in verb form) is perceived. Until I looked it up, I never would have believed (never seen) it used with inanimate objects as subject...I thought to intimate something ...
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1answer
45 views

To use “Commit Suicide” [closed]

Does "commit suicide" necessarily mean that the person referred to actually died? Or, does it only mean that she tries to kill herself?
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2answers
147 views

What does Donald Trump's: …it was time to “turn them in”… mean?

The Washington Post (June 13) reports that Mr. Donald Trump told “It was time to turn them in” on Fox News in the article under the title, “Trump just faced his first big leadership test. He failed ...
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1answer
54 views

Use of “hand in” in this sentence [closed]

I've already learned that "hand in" is a phrasal verb that means "submit". But I've also seen this sentence somewhere: "The homework is not hand in on time". I've already checked grammar by several ...
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5answers
197 views

Phrasal verbs in the passive voice

I was trying to think of some test for whether a verb/preposition combination is a phrasal verb or not, and I though of one, then immediately realised it was useless. If you turn the combination into ...
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2answers
1k 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
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3answers
115 views

How to analyse “Shot dead” [closed]

What kind of a term is 'shot dead'? "He was shot dead." Is 'dead' an adverb here? "He shot Sam dead." This is like a phrasal verb, but 'dead' isn't a preposition or particle. Is 'shot dead' some ...
9
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1answer
321 views

Why can't you place pronouns after a phrasal verb?

Many phrasal verbs such as look up or knock out typically allow the object to be placed between the verb and proposition or to be placed afterward. For example, You can look my brother up on ...
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0answers
43 views

Phrasal verb, adverb, or intransitive?

Can someone analyse this sentence for me? "Rex bit into his toy cat." (Yes, it's from 'Rex Barks'.) Is 'bit into' a phrasal verb, and 'his toy cat' the Direct Object? Or is 'into' an adverb to 'bit'...
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2answers
102 views

Looking for a verb that means the same as this proverb.

After black clouds, clear weather. I'm looking for a verb for 'clear weather' here. I want to comfort someone but by using a verb that carries the meaning of this. That there will be relief and ...
2
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2answers
7k 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 ...
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2answers
321 views

What is the meaning of “mess somebody up”? [closed]

A nurse is telling: There was a girl who was driving inside a tunnel and something just fell on her car and she died. That messes me up more than thinking about patients who are sick. I have a ...
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2answers
69 views

Fire off (Phrasal verb)

I've looked up the phrasal verb fire off in the major dictionaries. Although no dictionary states that the phrasal verb suggests no intention of hitting a target. All the example sort of suggest so. ...
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1answer
110 views

What is a phrase or word for 'not logged in' state?

On a website, if you log in, you're in a logged in state, if you then log out, you are in a logged out state. What do you call the state before you have ever logged in to a site? Is it correct to ...
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1answer
54 views

Should I use 'able' or 'able to' in this question, even if it means that the sentence ends with 'to'? [duplicate]

My doubt is: Which of these two sentences is correct? We are always looking for ways to reach all the learners in our classroom as effectively as we are able. OR: We are always looking ...
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3answers
22k 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 ...
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0answers
151 views

what do we say when a fever or cold has subsided and it's almost over with?

We say pick up or catch a cold when we first get it. Then when it really intensifies we say smth like "it's settled /settling in", I don't know whatever else people would say.. Anyways, when it ...
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42 views

Ellipsis (Gapping) and Prepositions

A simple example of ellipsis is: Peter likes to eat apples, and Mary oranges. (Peter likes to eat apples, and Mary [likes to eat] oranges.) Recently, I've been engaged in a debate about a ...
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0answers
53 views

Subtle differences between verbs and their phrasal forms

I often read sentences that use a phrasal verb that could be replaced by the verb without the particle. As a non-native English speaker, this confuses me a lot. For example, what is the difference ...
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108 views

Phrasal verbs with synonymous opposites

There are some cases in English where one can substitute in a word that normally has an opposite meaning, but instead produces the same meaning. For examples, consider the following meanings and uses:...
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“ever in revolt” and its grammatical role in the sentence

"It freezes the water to prevent it running to the sea; it drives the sap out of the trees till they are frozen to their mighty hearts; and most ferociously and terribly of all does the Wild harry and ...
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4answers
315 views

Is “Never mind” a phrasal verb?

When we say "never mind that" to mean disregard or don't worry about, is it a verb altogether (a phrasal verb) or is "mind" the verb that's modified by the adverb never? Examples: Never mind what he ...
2
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3answers
654 views

Can “take fruit in” something mean you enjoy it?

Consider to take fruit in something For example: I take fruit in my life. I feel like I have heard this term used before, but because I couldn't find an example with Google, I wanted to ...
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1answer
38 views

“put up” meaning

This is something in the context of making appointments, taken from the book titled "W is for Wasted" by Sue Grafton. I've looked up the meaning in Merriam-Webster dictionary but it all looks ...
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1answer
50 views

How to spell “day hike” when it is used as a verb?

The compound noun "day hike" is used to describe "a hike that can be completed in a single day". It is most frequently written with a space in between the words, though you can find examples online ...
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1answer
164 views

'not fool enough to dance on the old strings', is it an idiom? This phrase is from 'The Invisible Man' by H.G Wells

In the book of 'The Invisible Man' by Wells, there is this sentence; "Kemp, you're not fool enough to dance on the old strings. Can't you see my position?" In this particular scene, Griffin(the ...
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5answers
12k views

What Does Strike a Chord Mean?

I am not a native speaker. From my reading and verbal communication, I came to believe that striking a chord means connecting to someone at an emotional level. However, I recently used it somewhere ...
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2answers
127 views

count on me / count me on [closed]

Is there any difference between these two? For example, in reply to a message asking whether I am attending an event, what would be the right one to use? Can we use count on me / count me on ...
0
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1answer
72 views

“Amount to” vs “Amount for” [closed]

What is the main difference between "amounts for" and "amounts to"? As much as I know they are phrasal verbs of amount. The meaning of "amounts to" can be easily found by googling it. But no results ...
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2answers
120 views

The flexibility of phrasal verbs

1) put the phone down = put down the phone 2) put a baby down = put down a baby. 3) put an amendment down = put down an amendment. Does the preposition 'down' in those phrasal verbs have a flexible ...
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1answer
39 views

“tracked up” verbal phrase meaning

I am getting difficulty in deducing the meaning of idiom tracked up in the given diction below, ( paragraph below is taken from the NYTimes editorials ) : ...the Boston Global to do more than ...
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2answers
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What's the “textbook” way to write a passive sentence with a phrasal verb?

So, I understand that the prohibition against ending a sentence with a preposition was only ever a myth, and isn't a rule we need to follow. Still, it was a rule I was taught in school, so presumably ...
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0answers
68 views

Opposite of 'buckle up'

If I wanted a kid in my car to fasten his/her seatbelt, I'd say 'Buckle up!'. It is an informal expression, and I'm wondering if there is a phrasal verb with the opposite meaning (to unfasten/...
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4answers
6k views

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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424 views

Difference between Keep on+V-ing and Keep+V-ing

Please help me to find out the answer. Am I right if I say I keep on walking in this dark way? or I keep walking in this dark way? What is the difference between the two sentences?