In this post, I am asking for constituency tests to assist me in writing exercises about phrasal verbs for non-native speakers of English. I respectfully ask that only native speakers answer the questions in this post.
Some background --- I am from the U.S. I am currently working as a private English tutor in Brazil. A common request from my students is an explanation of phrasal verbs. I have looked at a variety of materials on the subject, and have been thoroughly dissatisfied with all of them. The materials are either extremely superficial (read: dodging the issue) or so verbose that my students would be terrified. None of them state how they decided what is a phrasal verb and what is not with any clarity. One book by a respected publisher actually listed verbs that take both a direct and an indirect object as phrasal verbs. I turned to the academic literature on phrasal verbs. There is plenty of discussion and controversy, but for the purposes of my exercises I chose to follow the strategy outlined in Clayton Darwin and Loretta Gray's article "Going after the Phrasal Verb: An Alternative Approach to Classification" (TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 33, No. 1).
Following Darwin and Gray's strategy has proved helpful for nearly all of the verbs that I want to cover. However, there are a few that I am uncertain about. Below I have written some sentences based on their strategy, with the name of the test after each item. Please indicate your judgment of the sentence. Thank you in advance for your help.
- 2 = Sounds OK
- 1 = Iffy
- 0 = Yuck!
A. I figured on $1000 for my vacation and on $500 for my cell phone. (particle repetition test)
B. On how much was he figuring? (fronting test)
C. What was the amount of money on which she was figuring? (relative clause test)
D. Mary figured and bet on a good turnout for the event. (verb insertion test)
E. A thief broke into my car and into my house. (particle repetition test)
F. Into what building did the thief break? (fronting test)
G. A thief broke silently into our building. (adverb insertion)