Why do I have to phrasal verb 'take a shower' or' 'take a walk' when we can use 'shower' and 'walk' What is the difference between 'verb' and phrasal 'verb' in meaning?

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    The same difference as there is between take a drink and drink, have a look and look, give a shove and shove. I.e, no difference at all in meaning, but two extra syllables in form. Sometimes you want some extra syllables, to make what you say sound important, or to give you time to think what to say next. Jun 17, 2015 at 17:01
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    These are delexical verb constructions. 'Take a walk' and 'walk' are similar in meaning but not in the way they are used. These are both unnatural: << 'How did he get to Bristol?'_ 'He took a walk.' >> & << 'Where were you an hour ago?'_ 'I walked.' >> Often, the two are more readily interchangeable, but the non-delexical structures often tend to sound stilted and unidiomatic. // The MWV ('phrasal verb' to some) 'pass out' has a totally different meaning from those of the simplex verb 'pass': eg When offered the wasabi, he passed / passed out. Jun 17, 2015 at 17:14
  • @......the answers are comments. Fair enough for your followers? Jun 17, 2015 at 17:24

2 Answers 2


In many cases such as with "take a shower" and "shower" there is little difference in meaning. "I am going to shower" and "I am going to take a shower" are equally valid and with no difference in meaning, although for AmE speakers I tend to think "take a shower" is more frequent.

With "take a walk", although it isn't an absolute rule, there is a difference from the bare verb in that it tends to emphasize walking for its own sake: "I'm going to take a walk to the store" has a connotation that you are doing so for exercise or to enjoy the scenery, although you probably will buy something also. When walking for a purpose the plain verb is more common: "I'm walking to the store" implies that your main purpose is buying something, and perhaps you are emphasizing that you're not taking the car or bicycle.

"Take a walk" does also have the "go away" meaning that @Joe-Blow ascribes, but -- again speaking only for AmE -- it's not the first thing that comes to mind. If you want to have that meaning, AmE speakers will tend to say "Take a hike" instead.

  • Kick rocks! ("Take a hike")
    – user98990
    Jun 18, 2015 at 2:47

Note that

take a walk!

can be an idiom. It essantially means "go away" and is the same as "give me a break" or "get lost."

Confusingly, of course the words "take a walk" can simpy mean you are taking a walk, and have no connection to the slang phrase.

I think the origin of the idiom is something to do with the legal/prison system; you can easily look it up.

Note that Joseph has made the outstanding point that "take a hike" is another version of the idiom, and it's more popular in AmE.

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