Questions tagged [phrasal-verbs]

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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In “He is easy to take care of,” is “He” the subject, the object, or both?

This is a passive construction, correct? I feel the missing piece of the puzzle is “He is easy to take care of (by or for babysitters/parents/etc.)” My brain is doing a bit of a loop because ...
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Is "looks up" a correct phrase when referring to a computer searching for information?

Is the following sentence grammatically correct? The computer looks up the email address provided. Guess it's just my brain, but "looks up" didn't have a familiar ring to it when I read ...
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What is the meaning of "He scowled ahead of him"?

Reading Virginia Woolf's To the Lighthouse, I just found the expression “He scowled ahead of him” and it struck me as something I'd never heard or read before. The context is that this guy is sitting ...
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What is the grammar of "I'm home"? [duplicate]

Why do we often say "I'm home" rather than "I'm at home"? How is the former even grammatically correct? Should this be thought of as a use of a "phrasal verb", "to ...
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Exact difference between "Take up sth" and "Take to sth" [closed]

I just came across two phrasal verbs "Take up sth" and "Take to sth" and both mean to start. Dug deeper, I found that "Take to" means start often, while "Take up&...
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Which one is correct - run off or run off from? [closed]

They ran off the burning car before it exploded. or They ran off from the burning car before it exploded.
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Phrasal verbs and the position of object [duplicate]

Is there any difference in the following sentences? They passed me over. They passed over me. If yes, how, and please can anyone tell some similar examples?
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A single-word synonym for the phrasal verb "to look in(to)" used literally?

I am seeking a single-word transitive verb that is a synonym of the phrasal verb "to look in" or "to look into", used literally (as in "to look in the mirror") rather ...
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1 answer
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Should I use a phrasal verb here or just a verb? [closed]

Is there any rule for when to use and when not to use phrasal verbs? E.g., A1) Humans tend to pass information to others. A2) Humans tend to pass on information to others. B1) He drank the glass of ...
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To come down this way

This is from the movie Clean (2022) The rush of violence is better than dope. Better than blow, better than base. Meth. Crack. If you're lucky it'll let you come down this way. I don't understand ...
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Unsplit phrasal verbs with two particles?

In English, the following phrase would sound unnatural: */? You can change the brightness settings, adjust the volume, and turn on or off subtitles. However, if we split the phrase at the end, it ...
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"Check with" or "check in with"

"check" in the meaning: to look at something or ask somebody to find out if something/somebody is present, correct or true or if something is how you think it is (source: Oxford Learner's ...
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"Check on" or "check in on"

"check on" in the meaning: to make sure that there is nothing wrong with somebody/something (source: Oxford Learner's Dictionaries) I'll just go and check on the children. "check in ...
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"Check" or "check in on"

This verb, "to check", really confused me. Here's what I have found so far: "check" in the meaning: to examine something to see if it is correct, safe or acceptable (source: ...
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Phrasal verb "sort out" used in a different way?

So, I was reading an article, and just saw this sentence here: I figured I'd sort out the train into the city instead of hopping in a cab. Is that a common usage of "sort out"? It seems like ...
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2 answers
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Can the word "cater" be followed by an object before a preposition?

Just as the question title says, can the word "cater" be followed by an object? I know what the word means and the prepositions that typically follow it. I just want to know if the ...
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In what sense is the “call" in “call for" intransitive

Oxford English Dictionary (www.oed.com) lists “call for" as an intransitive phrasal verb, while other dictionaries such as Macmillan and Longman list it as a transitive phrasal verb. I see that “...
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Is "to calm down someone" acceptable? [duplicate]

I just came across an ESL student writing "to calm down your followers". I much prefer "to calm your followers down". Does anyone agree? If so, why? "Calm down" is ...
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1 answer
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Any difference between "testing out" and "testing"? [closed]

Is there a difference (in the meaning) between I've been testing out cameras... and "I've been testing cameras..." How (if at all) does the word "out" change the meaning of the ...
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3 answers
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What is right: "get something back" or "get back something"?

For example: The service was very bad, so I want to get back a part of my money. The service was very bad, so I want to get a part of my money back. What case is right and why? Google Translator ...
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Put his hand to/on

I wonder what's the correct way to say- I put my hand to my head. Or: I put my hand on my head. If both are correct, what's the difference between them? Are they completely interchangeable? ...
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"Swap out with" or "Swap out for"? Also, can you specify a location after the word "out"?

I've read articles online that use "swap out with," but many dictionaries seem to prefer "swap out for." Do they differ in meaning? Also, can you specify a location after the word &...
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Intransitive use of "to wake" vs. "to wake up" [closed]

He woke in bed. He woke up in bed. Is there a difference between the two? How does the lack/addition of "up" affect the connotation, if at all? Is one preferred over the other depending on ...
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"Watch" vs. "Watch as"

He watched them run. He watched as they ran. What's the exact difference, in terms of the information/scene conveyed? He was watching the runners in both cases. Do they have different connotations? ...
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The meaning of "account for" in a specific context

A colleague of mine wrote something today that is still boggling my mind. Os delays video when a headset is present to account for the latency Is "account for" the synonym for "take ...
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She ended up (being??) a rich woman

Somehow they all ended up at my house. ("end up" + prepositional phrase) Well, grades ended up to be unimportant after all as my first job after graduating ended up in a private school with ...
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What's the meaning of "scrambled up"?

I read a letter in which one professor wrote that he was scrambled up a very steep learning curve to understand nature of his new work. If the professor was qualified for the new job why he scrambled ...
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2 votes
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The meaning of "you can give in, you can give out but you don't give up"

I have taken a look at the definitions of all the three phrasal verbs but still not sure what the following sentence means: You can give in, you can give out but you don't give up. A bit more ...
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The etymology of "done for"

I was wondering how "done for" came to existence. The google search ' "done for" etymology ' didn't give any meaningful results, or maybe I need to dig deeper. How did "for&...
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Is there an idiom or expression in English for the following situation? [closed]

You scold or tell off someone (or say anything to someone, doesn't have to be negative necessarily) but your true intention is for someone else to hear/see it, and you're just using the first person ...
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Meaning of "Gets you by"?

What's the meaning of the phrasal verb "gets you by" in the following context? My father was a painter so I was encouraged to take a sketchbook everywhere. Cameras are perishable but I ...
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Rustle up, cook up, google up—what’s up with phrasal verbs?

I was reading Why is “rustle up” different from “rustle”? which I came across as I was looking for a duplicate for a question about "google up" meaning on ELL, and it made me realize how ...
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what does "back up" mean in this context:

At some point, once you've established the habit and you're showing up each day, you can combine the two-minute rule with a technique we call habit shaping to scale your habit back up toward your ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Off-of Combination

Not sure how to name this correctly, but there seems to be a trend of adding an "of" to phrasal verbs that ends in "off" and I'm wondering if that is, in fact, correct English. ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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A multi-word verb which is the opposite of 'stress out'

I ran a bunch of errands today that involved dealing with people who don't know what they are talking about, and when I got home there were six letters from the US government sitting in my mailbox, ...
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"lift/raise all up to" or "lift/raise up all to"

I know the rule with phrasal verbs and pronouns is that If the object is a personal pronoun (me, you, him, us, etc.), we always put the pronoun before the particle: Oh, I can’t lift you up any more. ...
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Meaning of "snatch the words from"

What is the meaning of "snatch the words from" as in this sentence: I have seen a religious who used to snatch the words from his superior’s lips, but I despaired of his obedience when I ...
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Hold phrasal verb for "waiting until something happens" [closed]

I'm looking for the "hold" phrasal verb that means that I will stop doing something until something else is ready. "John's report is input to my task so I will wait for that Would that ...
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difference between put the fire out and put out the fire [duplicate]

what is the difference between these two? put out the fire and put the fire out what are the use cases? do they mean the same or not? another example is take off take it off or take off it => here ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Does "rent out" only refer to when the owner offers something for others to pay to use, or also to when the user pays the owner to use something?

I'm a gen-X native Australian English speaker and am listening to a YouTube video by a millennial native Australian English speaker in which he uses "to rent out" to refer to the person ...
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Casual way of asking someone how they found or calculated a number? [closed]

I am doing some calculations for a work project, and I guess that I have made a mistake in finding Flow Rate. I want to ask a coworker in a casual manner that where he/she get the flow rate from. This ...
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What does "come in" mean in the following context?

where does the Pro in iPad Pro come in? Microphones come in an assortment of configurations to meet a variety of uses. Does it means to function as some kind of contributor? Or does it mean to become ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Reference Request on Preposition Fronting

Currently reading "A Student's Introduction to English Grammar" by Geoffrey K. Pullum and Rodney Huddleston. Consider the following contrast between the phrasal verbs ask for and come across....
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“Try on some of them” or “Try some of them on”?

I’ve learnt that some phrasal verbs such as “pick up” or “try on” require us to put the object, especially when it is a pronoun, between the verb and preposition. Is it also possible to say “You ...
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1 vote
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"how to deal with the problem" vs "what to do with the problem" [closed]

He knows how to deal with the problem. He knows what to do with the problem. Can we switch between " how" and " what"? Why and why not?
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"Covered in" or "Covered with" trash [duplicate]

The mountain is covered in trash The mountain is covered with trash I find both of them correct but I can't say for sure. Is "covered in" or "covered with" more suitable in this ...
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How you say to take notes/information in this context?

The idea is that take notes means to store info about something, so is this context correct? I placed an order, but they didn't note well my info. When you are taking somebody's info, how do you say ...
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What does "not to look over the best scenes" mean in the following sentence?

... a detailed analysis will help them to notice the most important film elements and not to look over the best scenes. I think that means that a good review of a movie (the full text is about that) ...
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How do native speakers think about phrasal verbs?

I would like to ask a question about phrasal verbs. Do native english speakers think about the meaning of each individual word of the phrasal verb when they will say it or they just think about the ...
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3 votes
4 answers
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How would you describe a car kicking up clouds of dust as an adverb of a car heading somewhere?

I am trying to translate a sentence from Turkish to English. I'm almost satisfied and it is something along the lines of A black car kicking up clouds of dust was seen heading to the city from a ...
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