I wanted to clarify the question of prepositional phrasal verbs for myself. I have faced a tricky sentence, and I would like to discover if I can change the location of the preposition 'at'. If not, I would like to understand why. Here is the sentence:

He is handsome enough to be looked at by any passenger.

Can the sentence be changed to:

He is handsome enough to be looked by any passenger at.

The verb 'look at' is a prepositional phrasal verb. It is intransitive in the active voice: 'I look at you'. Can we turn this into the passive voice as: 'You are looked by me at'? Does the preposition 'at' turn into an adverb in that case?

Thank you.

  • No. Look at is not a phrasal verb. Transitive phrasal verbs like look up can undergo Particle Shift, like Look up the word ~ Look the word up. But the at in look at is just a preposition that makes intransitive look transitive. It's not a particle, and doesn't shift. Similar remarks apply to listen to and many other intranstive verbs that can be made transitive with some preposition (which one varies). – John Lawler May 30 '20 at 21:18
  • Thank you. This I understand, however, I wanted to clarify if the sentence 'He is handsome enough to be looked by any passenger at' is allowed with that location of the preposition, and if it is, why? – Takhir Nuriev May 31 '20 at 14:08

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