In one my novels, a separate section is given as Points to Ponder Over. However, no phrasal verb as such (ponder over) really exists. By Oxford dictionary, ponder is a transitive verb. So it cannot be used without as object, so just to have an object, an over(a preposition) has been added?

In oxford dictionary, an example is given as

She sat pondering over her problem.


But I wonder, why not use just ponder when no such phrasal verb ponder over really exists.

Also sometimes phrasal verbs and verbs have the same meaning, eg- follow and follow up, add and add up,etc. In that case, which should I prefer to speak/write?

  • 1
    "Ponder" can be transitive and intransitive. You yourself gave an example of its intransitive use in "She sat pondering over her problem".
    – BillJ
    Aug 16, 2017 at 7:15

1 Answer 1


"Ponder" is both intransitive and transitive. This verb means "to think carefully about something, especially for a noticeable length of time"

  1. She ponders the reaction she’ll receive. (Transitive)
  2. The back porch is a quiet place where I can ponder. (Intransitive)

In US the verb ponder as a transitive verb is followed by a direct object mostly without any preposition alongside:

  • They pondered their chances of success.
  • We pondered the events of the day.
  • He pondered the question before he answered.

In both US and UK it can be followed by such prepositions as "on", "over" (being the most common one), and "upon" (being the least common one, dated or formal)

  • Why should it require any preposition? Why it cannot stand alone as you have done in your second example? What difference would it make if I say "points to ponder" and "points to ponder over"?
    – Anubhav
    Aug 17, 2017 at 17:04
  • @AnubhavSingh Both are acceptable. It's your choice whether to include a preposition or not Aug 17, 2017 at 17:39

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