1

I found this sentence from the internet

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to keep up on the news while I was away on vacation.

I understand that it (keep up on) is inseparable.

However, I wonder about other three word phrasal verbs.

Can other three word phrasal verbs be separable? Could you give me some examples?

And three word phrasal verbs always must to have an object, right?

4

This website lists about two dozen three-word phrasal verbs. As I looked through the list, they all seemed "inseparable" to me.

However, have said that, I think there is some wiggle room for a few of these, due to the flexibility of prepositions.

For example, consider talk back to. That form may be the preferred version, but one might see talk back at used instead:

When you're in school, don't talk back at your teacher.

Also, there are times when one of the three words can be cut out altogether, resulting in the use a two-word phrasal verb instead. For example, the website lists check up on as a phrasal verb meaning "examine" or "investigate," with the example:

The boys promised to check up on the condition of the summer house from time to time.

I think one could remove the up and retain the same general meaning:

The boys promised to check on the condition of the summer house from time to time.

As for your example, the preposition could probably changed from on to with, and the result would be a more common way of writing it:

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to keep up with the news while I was away on vacation.

  • 1
    I agree keep up with [the news, current events, etc.] is definitely the more common version. Another alternative which I think is perfectly "valid" (if not so common) is stay up with the news – FumbleFingers Nov 3 '13 at 16:29

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