PHRASAL VERBS WITH A VERB + AN ADVERB
Many phrasal verbs consist of a verb followed by an adverb. Some of these phrasal verbs are intransitive and some are transitive.
I. Intransitive verbs followed by adverbs
Here are some intransitive phrasal verbs which consist of a verb followed by an adverb and each phrasal verb has its meaning.
Intransitive Phrasal Verb
disappear by boiling
overflow by boiling
be widely accepted
became an adult
contact a computer
break contact with a computer system
take possession of living quarters
give up possession of living
go to sleep
pretend to agree
arrive (of vehicles)
leave (of vehicles)
become used to
not go to bed
leave the ground
land (of places)
find a station on the radio
NOTE: The intransitive phrasal verb to show up is formed by the verb to show followed by the adverb up. In the following example, the phrasal verb does not have an object.
Example: At ten o’ clock, her brother showed up.
II. Transitive verbs followed by adverbs
Here are some transitive phrasal verbs which consist of a verb followed by an adverb and each phrasal verb has its meaning.
Transitive Phrasal Verb
make something new fit for use
ask to assist
find with difficult
give to someone younger
give to person in authority
give to another person
break a telephone connection
put out of work
leave, not bring
live so that past faults are forgotten
not take advantage
dismiss with a pension
get a commitment
draw attention to
put in proper place
return to original location
recite a long list
persuade to help
remove from consideration
dispose of by selling
stop from speaking by shouting
dismiss as unimportant
select from others
talk with to learn the opinion of
invite to a restaurant
destroy by tearing
search for and find
give as part payment
test clothes by putting them on
test by using
deactivate by using a switch
activate by using a switch
gradually destroy by wearing or using
make a note
cancel, regard as
compose in writing
NOTE: The transitive phrasal verb to sort out is formed from the verb to sort followed by the adverb out.
Example: We sorted out the papers.
1) The position of an object of the verb
In the case of transitive phrasal verbs consisting of a verb followed by an adverb, if the object of the verb is a nun, the object can usually either follow or precede the adverb. In the following examples, the verb objects are underlined.
- I called off the meeting.
- I called the meeting off.
NOTE: In the first example the object meeting follows the adverboff, while in the second example the object meeting precedes the adverb off.
ç However, in the case of a few phrasal verbs, a noun object must usually follow the adverb.
Example: We attempted to smooth over is the disagreement.
NOTE: In this example, the phrasal verb to smooth over is followed by the noun object disagreement. In this case, the objectdisagreement cannot be placed before the adverb over.
The following are examples of transitive phrasal verbs where a noun object must usually follow the adverb. Each phrasal verb is accompanied by its meaning and an example
The following are examples of transitive phrasal verbs where a noun object must usually follow the adverb. Each phrasal verb is accompanied by its meaning and an example of its use. The objects of the verbs are underlined.
Verbs followed by adverb followed by noun object
- She has drummed up support for the plan.
- They attempted to paper over their differences.
- We tried to smooth over the station.
ç In the case of transitive phrasal verbs consisting of a verb followed by an adverb, if the object of the verb is a pronoun, the object must usually precede the adverb. In the following examples, the pronoun objects are underlined.
- I called it off.
- We attempted to smooth it over.
NOTE: In these examples, the object pronoun it precedes the adverbs off and over.
ç Most transitive phrasal verbs may be used in the passive voice.
- The meeting was called off by me.
- The disagreement was smooth over.
NOTE: In these examples, the phrasal verbs to call off and to smooth over are used in the passive voice.
2) The position of an adverb of manner modifying the verb
In the case of a phrasal verb consisting of a verb followed by an adverb, the verb and the adverb usually may not be separated by an adverb of manner. In the following example, the adverb of manner isunderline.
Example: I hurriedly called off the meeting.
NOTE: In this example, the adverb of manner hurriedly precedes the phrasal verb called off. The adverb hurriedly may also be placed at the beginning or the end of the sentence, but may not be placed between the verb called and the adverb off.
3) Stress in spoken English
When a phrasal verb consisting of a verb followed by an adverb occurs at the end of a clause, it is usually the adverb which is stressed in spoken English. In the following examples, the words which are tressed are printed in bold type.
- How did that come about?
- Please drop in whenever you have time.
NOTE: In the first example, the verb come followed by the adverbabout occurs at the end of a clause, and the adverb about is stressed. In the second example, the verb drop followed by the adverb in occurs at the end of a clause, and the adverb in is stressed.
4) Ergative verbs
It should be noted that there are a few phrasal verbs consisting of a verb followed by an adverb, which have the same meaning whether they are used transitively or intransitively.
- The engineer slowed down the train.
- The train slowed down.
NOTE: In the first example, the phrasal verb to slow down is used transitively, with the object train. In the second example, the phrasal verb to slow down is used intransitively, without naming the originator of the action. In these two examples, it can be seen that the object of the transitive verb is the subject of the intransitive verb. However, the general meaning of the two sentences is the same. Verbs which can be used in this way may be referred to as ergative verbs.
Ergative phrasal verbs
The following are examples of expressions which can function as ergative phrasal verbs and each ergative phrasal has its meaning.
Make a loud sound
Destroy by an explosion
Break into pieces
Detroy by fire
Recover from, survive
Wrap into a cylinder
Close, stop working
Remove by washing
Gradually destroy by using