In English, phrasal verbs (verbs with a preposition that have a special meaning) are very important.
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Here is an example of how a phrasal verb is formed:
So "put up with" is a phrasal verb.
Sometimes, instead of just one preposition, we can have two!
For example (the prepositions are colored): cut downon
Victor really loves sweets! But his doctor told him that he needs to eat less. He eats too much ice cream, and it's bad for him.
His doctor told him to cut down on sweets.
These added prepositions do not change. Because there are two prepositions in each of these longer phrasal verbs, they are called phrasal-prepositional verbs.
This kind of phrasal verb with a second preposition is always transitive and is also always inseparable. The object must always come at the very end of the verb, after the last preposition.
Look at the common phrasal verbs with collocations below. The examples show the correct and incorrect way to use them.
Study the examples and write some of your own to help you remember them.
As we saw above, this phrasal verb means to reduce how much we use or eat of something that is bad for us.
1. Cut down on
- Correct: Priscilla has to cut down on hamburgers and other greasy food. It's bad for her cholesterol.
Incorrect: Priscilla has to cuthamburgers and other greasy fooddown on. It's bad for her cholesterol.
Incorrect: Priscilla has to cut down hamburgers and other greasy food on. It's bad for her cholesterol.
(Remember that we can't separate these phrasal verbs!)
- Correct: Cecil loves pizza! He could eat the whole thing himself, but he is trying to cut down on junk food because he's been gaining weight.
Incorrect: Cecil loves pizza! He could eat the whole thing himself, but he is trying to junk food cut down onbecause he's been gaining weight.
(Remember that the object must always come directly after the phrasal verb.)
This phrasal verb means to have an idea or find a solution after thinking for a long time.
2. Come up with
- Correct: Kelly came up with a wonderful idea for the school play, and her teacher picked it!
Incorrect: Kelly camea wonderful idea for the school playup with, and her teacher picked it!
- Correct: Einstein thought and studied a lot, and he came up with a brilliant equation to represent his theory of relativity.
Incorrect: Einstein thought and studied a lot, and he came upa brilliant equation to represent his theory of relativitywith.
This phrasal verb means to have a good relationship with someone, or to enjoy being with them.
3. Get along with
This is how we express this meaning in the United States. In Britain, we express the same meaning with the phrasal verb get on with.
- Correct: Do you get along with your new co-worker? She seems very nice.
Incorrect: Do you getyour new co-worker along with? She seems very nice.
- Correct: Lindsey gets along with the other members of the chorus very well. They have a great time practicing and performing together.
Incorrect: Lindsey gets along the other members of the chorus with very well. They have a great time practicing and performing together.
This phrasal verb means to admire someone or to have someone as a role model.
4. Look up to
- Correct: Lots of children look up to their favorite actors or singers, so it's important for these stars to be good role models.
Incorrect: Lots of children their favorite actors or singerslook up to, so it's important for these stars to be good role models.
- Correct: Geoff looks up to his father. He wants to be responsible and supportive like him when he grows up.
Incorrect: Geoff looks his fatherup to. He wants to be responsible and supportive like him when he grows up.
This phrasal verb means to deal with or endure a person or situation that we don't like.
5. Put up with
- Correct: Just do your best to put up with the new trainee. I know he can be annoying, but soon he'll be transferred to a different department.
Incorrect: Just do your best to putthe new traineeup with. I know he can be annoying, but soon he'll be transferred to a different department.
- Correct: Jodie and Rick just couldn't put up with the baby crying anymore! They decided to get a babysitter for the evening and enjoy a nice evening at the theater.
Incorrect: Jodie and Rick just couldn't the baby crying put up with anymore! They decided to get a babysitter for the evening and enjoy a nice evening at the theater.
Once you understand the meaning of these phrasal verbs, try writing some examples of your own to help you remember them. Then you can move on to learning a new set. Be sure to review the other pages in this section and keep on studying. Phrasal verbs can be tricky, but with lots of practice, you'll be a pro!
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