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 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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Why “go off”, as in “alarm went off”?

I was wondering why does something goes off, when it in fact does the opposite bomb goes off - it blows up alarm goes off - it turns on Why not goes on?
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“Fill out a form” or “fill in a form”

Does one fill out a form or does one fill in a form? I've gotten different answers from the people I've asked. Google search results: fill in a form — 14,200,000 fill out a form — ...
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Burn up or burn down?

What's the difference between "burn up" and "burn down"? Or is there a difference at all?
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Does “filling out” equal to “filling in”?

I quoted the following from a pamphlet: Please read the instructions carefully before filling out the application form. The application will be returned to you and the registration may be ...
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3k 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?
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“Speak to” vs. “Speak with”

What are the differences between these two phrasal verbs and what are the best situations to use each?
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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 ...
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What is the origin of the phrase “turns out”?

What is the origin of "turns out" as it appears in the phrases below: It turns out As it turns out Let me know how it turns out What is turning, what is coming out, and from where? I can't find ...
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How can I explain to people that the phrase “off of ” is grammatically incorrect?

How can I explain to people that the phrase off of is grammatically incorrect? I‘ve heard this phrase used a lot, especially by Americans (though they aren't the only ones). In my understanding, ...
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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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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'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?
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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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“Give up” versus “give in”

Do give up and give in imply different meanings?
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3answers
675 views

Usage of “stood up” to mean “set up”

I was reading this question on meta.ELU and was struck by what, to me, was a strange use of the phrasal verb to stand up: The site for English Language Learners was stood up in large part so that ...
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Why can’t you say “I fell the stairs”?

The verb to fall strongly implies the direction down, but in some circumstances it is obligatory (in StdAmEng) to include the word “down.” The example I have in mind right now is I fall down the ...
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What kind of word is “place” in “take place”?

I'm currently analyzing verbs with Stanford CoreNLP and WordNet. I'm interested in particular in verb meanings. I came across sentences like "The scene takes place on the grass." and I found the verb ...
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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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How can I learn to get collocations right?

I read an article about collocation which includes an example: We can say highly sophisticated, and we can say extremely happy. highly happy and extremely sophisticated would be wrong. How can I ...
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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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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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Why do we use 'up' as adverbs for verbs?

Why do we use up as adverbs for verbs? For example, 'wake up', 'throw up', etc.
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452 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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Which would be correct: “outputs” or “puts out”?

Which word should I use in the following context? Is the required before data? Any algorithm first reads data, processes (the) data and finally [outputs|puts out] the processed data.
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“Differ to”, “differ with” or “differ from”

In what ways are differ to, differ with and differ from different? Providing examples would be really appreciated.
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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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Come to (regain consciousness) and pull to (shut)

I don't know if it's part of my regional dialect, but around these parts we use the phrase "pull to" to mean 'close the door all the way.' It wasn't until last week that it struck me as odd. Pull the ...
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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.)".
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Why use 'step down' instead of 'resign'? Is there any difference?

Ozzie announced his plans to step down from his role at Microsoft on October 18, 2010
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“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 ...
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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 ...
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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? ...
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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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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? ...
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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).
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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 ...
5
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239 views

Can you “sound up a room” the same way you can light it up?

I'm trying to say that a certain individual adds noise to any place he goes. When someone, figuratively, enhances the mood of a room he enters we say "he lights up the room". Is there any way to use ...
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Is there any difference between “talk to someone” and “talk with someone”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: “Speak to” vs. “Speak with” Well, the question is in the title. I always had the impression that "talk to someone" refers to situations when some ...
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341 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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“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 ...
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“try” or “try out” (difference?)

What is the difference between "try" and "try out"?
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Etymology of “end up” and “wind up”

What is the etymology of the phrase "end up", and of the meaning of "wind up" that means essentially the same thing? To clarify, I mean the specific meaning of "wind up" that means the same as "end ...
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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 ...
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What does the phrase “I’m down with” mean?

I was wondering about the meaning of: I am down with something. Also, I was wondering whether people say: I am up with something. If so, what does it mean?
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“They slipped from my hands the moment I picked them [up]”

They were like puzzle pieces that slipped from my hands the moment I picked them [up]. Is the up necessary? Why or why not?
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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 ...
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“… 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 ...
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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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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 ...