Apologies if this is off topic or has been answered before, but I can't find the answer to my question.

We commonly encounter verbs that have a direction/location added to them to change the meaning, for instance "take" can have a similar meaning to "remove", but "take in" can mean "learn" or "remember", "take on" can mean "challenge", and "take off" can mean "run away". Likewise with "throw" and "throw out" etc. There are many many examples.

How can I describe verbs that are made up of another verb and a direction/location?

  • @ Phill I don't think there's a specific term for locational items; rather they fall under the general heading of 'verbal idioms', where the meaning of the combination of words (e.g. verb+prep) is not predictable from the meanings of the components, (e.g. back down meaning 'withdraw/admit defeat', or pass away with the sense "die"). I'd avoid using the usual term 'phrasal verb' to describe them though; it's not the whole expressions back down, pass away etc., that are verbs; it's just the lexemes "back", "pass", etc.) – BillJ Feb 4 '16 at 11:25

They are 'Phrasal Verb'.

  • Verb + preposition (prepositional phrasal verbs)
  • Verb + particle (particle phrasal verbs)
  • Verb + particle + preposition (particle-prepositional phrasal verbs)
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